T-shirt Printing Methods
What is T-shirt Printing?
T- shirt printing is one of the best means of embellishing a shirt. There are many means in which t shirt can be printed. Following are some such ways.
This method is used to bulk print t-shirts. This is used widely when there is a single design, not too many colours and when a large number of shirts need to be printed.
The method involves passing ink using a mesh with a stenciled design on it.
- Used for bulk orders
- Vibrant colours
- Economies of scale
- Expensive to set up
- The process is complex
- Not ideal for complex designs with different colours
Sublimation is a chemical process. When solid changes to a gaseous matter without turning liquid it is called sublimation.
The Wikipedia definition of sublimation printing or Dye-sublimation printing is “a computer printing technique which uses heat to transfer dye onto materials such as a plastic, card, paper, or fabric.”
Sublimation printing is a popular method of printing on t-shirts. However, the sublimation print can be done only on polyester based clothes. But there are various techniques available which help print on other cloth type as well such as cotton.
- Can pull off any kind of design and colour
- More suitable for boutique designs, one off designs
- It is a popular choice for print on demand businesses
- Expensive to set up
- Not ideal for bulk orders
- Can not print on materials other than polyester; although workarounds are available
Diect-to-garment (DTG) printing is probably the most technologically advanced method to print on t-shirts. It literally means printing directly on a t-shirt using an inkjet DTG printer.
DTG printing can be used on both light and dark coloured garments. It is capable of printing full colour images on to a wide range of t-shirts, hoodies, embroidered polo shirts and other materials.
- Can print any design on any kind of cloth and any colour of cloth
- Print output is extremely good
- Hassle free and simpler process than sublimation or screen printing
- DTG printing is all about the quality of printer and they can be very expensive
- It can not handle bulk volume like screen printing does
What is the best t-shirt printing method?
As we can see all the methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. Which one will be the best depends on factors like
- Business size
- Type of design, material, colour etc.
A combination of DTG and either sublimation or screen printing can be quite comprehensive but it requires good amount of investment up front. If one is just starting a t-shirt printing business with a tight budget then sublimation printing can be a good option. As the business increases, further investment can be made to add screen printing and/or DTG printer added to the repertoire.