What are the best T-shirt printing methods?
- Screen printing
- Dye sublimation
- Direct to garment
- Heat press printing
- Heat transfer vinyl
- Plastisol transfer
From screen printing, dye sublimation, vinyl transfer, and many more — there are various ways to customize a T-shirt. By knowing the best T-shirt printing methods, you will have an idea of what will best fit your requirements. This is especially important if you’re planning to start a custom T-shirt business and want to create unique designs for your customers. Read on.
Screen printing, also known as silk screen printing, provides high-quality results if you need to print the same design on a high quantity of T-shirts. It involves pressing ink over a mesh that holds a stencil of the design. The mesh is often made of nylon or other synthetic materials. The screen is pressed on the cloth where you intend to put the design.
Screen printing is one of the most popular types of T-shirt printing methods. This is because it’s one of the most cost-effective options when you’re printing in bulk. But you need to consider your design because each color requires a separate screen.
Dye sublimation is often used for printing complex designs on T-shirts. You need a sublimation printer, ink, release paper, and heat press. This method works well on man-made fabric such as polyester or polyester blends.
A special liquid dye is used in this printing method. It is applied to the transfer paper, and then heat and pressure are used for the sublimation.
In this printing method, you’re dying the fabric itself, so it’s best used on white or light-colored fabrics. Dye sublimation is ideal for large designs, creating long-lasting prints.
Direct To Garment
Direct to garment printing is perfect for customizing small batches of T-shirts. All you need is a DTG printer and a heat press. This works well if you plan to customize cotton blend T-shirts.
In DTG printing, you can utilize an unlimited number of colors and print complex designs to your preference. Think of how an ordinary printer works. The printer will apply the ink onto the fabric itself rather than on paper. All you need is the digital file, and you can start printing your designs. The only equipment you will need is a high-quality DTG printer.
Heat Press Printing
Heat press printing involves the use of transfer paper, where the design will be prented. Then heat and pressure are applied to the paper to transfer the design to the T-shirt. After that, the paper is removed and the final result is shown. If there is an excess dye, you can easily remove it.
Heat press printing is great for beginners because of the low start-up cost. You can also create complex designs as long as you know how to use graphic design software. But keep in mind that this method might not work well on dark-colored shirts. You also must not use heat-sensitive fabrics, as this could ruin the print.
Heat Transfer Vinyl
In this printing method, you can print your design onto vinyl and use a heat press to seal the vinyl to the T-shirt. All you need is an inkjet printer that can create quality designs on the vinyl. Heat transfer vinyl has a heat-activated adhesive that allows the vinyl to transfer to your garment of choice.
One of the advantages of this method is that it can easily be done at home. You can experiment with multiple colors and intricate details. It’s possible to print photographs, too.
Also known as indirect screen printing, plastisol transfers make use of a heat press and transfer sheets. Your design is screen printed to a heat transfer paper and then transferred to a T-shirt using a hot iron. The result is like screen printing, but with less setup needed. The final print will often be smooth to the touch.
Plastisol transfers require good heat press machines, so you need to invest in this if you’re planning to use this method. If you want to save on costs, you can always start with a small batch to get a good investment.
By understanding the best T-shirt printing methods, you will have an idea of what kind of designs and garments you can use for your customized T-shirts. Make sure that you know how each one works, so you can make the right choice for your T-shirt business.
Aside from the print, don’t forget that the key to quality printed shirts is the garment. If you’re looking for plain T-shirts, you can check out our products here at Lifeline! Our T-shirts are made of a combination of polyester and cotton, for comfort, durability, longevity, and more. They’re available in 28 colors, so you can experiment with your designs! We also have polo shirts and oversized shirts too. If you’re interested in ordering in bulk, we also offer wholesale discounts.
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