Screen printing doesn’t require machines or expensive tools. You just need a frame, a woven mesh, stencil,a squeegee, and ink. All of these can be bought from your local crafts store. But skill is very necessary. A design is carved/cut or burned on a stencil and is placed on top of a woven mesh (called the screen). The colors are broken down into separate layers and separate stencils. The screen is then pressed down on top of a garment, and the ink is applied over the top of the screen using a squeegee or roller which transfers the design on the stencil to the garment.
If you don’t know how to do this and you have a deadline to beat, let the experts do it for you or just use other methods of printing tees. Recommended for printing large number of tees.
Advantages: Best quality, least investment cost (for small scale production t-shirt business), lasts the longest, there are more options as far as what you can do with your artwork(foil, embossed,etc).
Disadvantages: Labor intensive, Takes some time to set-up, limited colors, design limits, expensive if you’re printing only a couple of tees- just go digital if you want a couple’s tee.
The name says it all. Heat Transfer printing is the process of transferring design (printed on special sheet) to a garment using heat (heat press or clothes iron). It’s more complicated than screen printing but it allows you to make more intricate designs.
Advantages: clearer and crisper result than screen printing, for complex and/or multi-colored designs.
Disadvantages: This method is recommended when the volume of printing to be done is low to mid, as it is slower and not so economical, cracks after 25 or more washings, the colors are not as vibrant as screen printed tees.
DIGITAL OR DIRECT TO GARMENT PRINTING (DTG)
This is the newest and the most popular type of garment printing today. Imagine a huge printer but instead of paper, shirts are being inserted one at a time for printing.Because it’s done through a machine, there’s almost no limit to your design. If you’re in a rush or you need just a few tees, this is the way to go. If your artwork has plenty of colors, this is the best way to go.
Advantages: Probably the fastest process, cheaper, pattern has no heavy feel like screen printed tees.
Disadvantages: Produces much lower quality than screen printing, dark colored shirts costs more for special treatments, the colors are not as vibrant as screen printed tees.
In the sublimation process, the ink is heated in such a way that it turns to gas and is then transferred to the item of clothing. This process is recommended for polyester fabrics as it allow colors to be as vibrant as possible.
Advantages: The printed area does not have that stiff and heavy feel unlike the rest, looks great on light colors.
Disadvantages: Print does not tend to show up well on darker fabrics, expensive for large orders,cannot print on 100% cotton garments.
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