Types Of T-Shirt Printing Methods Explained:
1. Screen Printing with a Professional T Shirt Printing Machine:
This is one of the most preferred t-shirts printing methods using a professional t shirt printing machine. If you’ve got a t-shirt that features a printed graphic and has remained vibrant, soft, and smooth for long, there are high chances that it was screen printed. Meaning that you can count on screen printing for most of your t-shirt printing needs. However, it’s not the best option for everything. Smaller quantities can be cost prohibitive.
This method requires a screen/template for each color. The more colors the higher the cost.
Screen printing is a great option if you’re working on a large project. However, don’t count on it as a viable option if you are working on one-offs or smaller quantities.
2. Direct To Garment (DTG) Technique:
Next on the line, we have Direct to Garment t-shirt printing method. Abbreviated as DTG, this is a relatively new technique in t-shirt printing industry. This technique works best for very small runs.
It involves printing onto your garment directly- the T-shirt. If you don’t have a clue how that works, imagine a a large inkjet printer that can print on to a shirt instead of paper.
The quality of DTG end products is excellent (but not as good as that of screen printing). You’ll obtain a soft print, which you can do in multiple colors. It works best on white garments. It can also work on a darker t-shirt, but the process is more challenging and cost more.
3. Sublimation Printing:
Have you ever come across a polyester t-shirt with an all over print on it? This method is great for sports jerseys.
If yes, that is probably sublimation printing. Sublimation works best when used for all over and oversize printing. It’s capable of transforming the whole t-shirt into a great piece of art. There are 2 forms of sublimated shirts. There is the Cut and sew method and the finished shirt sublimation method. Cut and sew is sublimated before the shirt is sewn together and the later is sublimated after shirt is sewn together. Cut and sew is a more professional look. You’ll need special shirts- made from 100% polyester.
4. CAD Cut or printed Vinyl Printing:
Vinyl transfer method is where the design is printed on vinyl and then cut around the edges using a special cutter and other special software. Then you heat apply this material onto your t-shirt using a heat press.This method allows you to print one-off designs or a short run orders, making it a great option for small runs. Vinyl embellishments come in two types. printed vinyl and cut vinyl.
Printed vinyl is basically a special inkjet printer that prints any design on the vinyl and then cuts it out. Unlimited colors can be printed but a white or complimentary color line is needed around design is needed to cut it out properly.
Cut vinyl is when you cut a design or shape out of colored vinyl like white, black, red etc. This vinyl is used mostly for jersey numbers or words. Vinyl works well for the slogan, small graphics, and words. But it’s not suitable for large printed areas as your t-shirt may lose its flexibility.
5. Transfer Paper Method:
The idea behind this technique is transferring the image from one surface to the other, permanently. The design is printed on a transfer paper and using a heat press machine it gets transferred to clothes. The method was originally used to add decorative details to ceramics.
Today, it enjoys a wide usage in the t-shirt printing business as well as other garments. This technique employs heat and pressure to set the image on your t-shirt.
Transfers can have a shorter lifespan then some of the other methods of printing.