T-shirts printing can be both a hobby and a business model for people working in the merchandise design industry. It is the process of creating custom-designed t-shirts using various types of t-shirt printing machine and processes. It is certainly one of the most highly growing business ideas, especially for the online generation.
Here in this article today, we bring to you the best 5 methods of t-shirt printing that will make your business bloom smartly.
1. Dye Sublimation Method:
Dye-sublimation printing is the most popular printing method. This printing method uses heat to transfer the ink into your fabric or any other materials like a card, plastic, etc. This is one of the most reliable ways of printing your custom designs on your clothes, sublimation mugs, etc.
Using the Dye-sublimation printing method, you can create vivid pictures and designs on your t-shirts. This printing method is perfect to pint on light materials such as polyesters and polymers but is not good for printing on cotton. The colors will crack and fade away if you use dye sublimation on cotton fabric.
This is an easy process to carry out. The things you require are sublimation printer, sublimation ink, sublimation papers and a heat press.
You will have to print your design on sublimation paper using a sublimation printer with sublimation ink (you can also draw on the paper using the sublimation ink). After printing, let the ink dry completely. Once it is dried, place your sublimation material or fabric on the heat press and place the printer paper on top of it (the position where you want to get the print) and then let the heat press do the heating and printing.
This is the best process for t-shirt printing. However, you will have to use light fabric to get the best results. And among the t-shirt fabrics, it is highly compatible with 100% polyester material.
- You can create large designs depending on the sublimation paper size.
- The designs are permanent and are not layered.
- The fabric stays soft, breathable and comfortable after print.
- It will create vivid designs, colors and patterns.
- You can easily print bulk orders on demand.
- It works perfectly on light materials only.
- The printing cost might be more if you print for small quantities.
- You cannot print the whole t-shirt at once.
2. Screen Printing:
Screen printing is another example of an excellent t-shirt printing method. If you want a printed t-shirt to last long with the same vibrant print on it, you must use screen printing on it. It has been one of the most preferred t-shirt printing technology for ages.
This printing technology is also known as the silkscreen printing method. It gives you a fantastic replica of the design you want to print on the t-shirt. The inks used in this technology are thicker than any other printing method.
It creates vibrant designs and colors that are highly durable. It does not matter whether you wear the t-shirt new or after several hundred washes, the colors and designs on the t-shirt will always look fresh and new.
This printing process is a bit expensive but is very vivid and highly durable. The types of equipment required for the screen printing are press, dyes, screen, dryer and exposure unit.
To get the perfect print, you will have to create a design template first and then place it carefully onto your t-shirt and held it in place by a screen. The screen should be made up of finely woven fabric generally known as mesh. Now, after setting up the screen, carefully pour the ink onto the screen and spread it using a squeegee-type tool. And then let it dry, you will see your design printed on the t-shirt.
This is one of the most durable and high-quality t-shirt printing methods. It is perfect for printing on t-shirts, hats, hoodies, sleeves, vinyl and wood.
- The printing ink gets absorbed deeply that gives you bright and vibrant colors with great durability.
- It can create multiple prints of the same design with tremendous speed.
- It is compatible with maximum fabrics.
- Your working area will get messy with the ink.
- The working space should be big enough for comfortable printing and drying.
- The area should be clean and dust-free to ensure better ink and screen preservation.
- The design pattern is limited.
3. Direct To Garments (DTG):
Direct To Garments or DTG is a perfect t-shirt printing method for small quantity prints. It is an inkjet print technology that can print a high-quality photo onto your t-shirts, and other fabrics. It is best for printing artworks and custom designs with a variety of colors.
DTG will give you vivid and natural colors on every print, but it is difficult to print bulk orders in a limited time using this printing method. It is however perfect to print a few t-shirts say about 5 in quantity. It is much easier to execute than any other print method as you just need to load a t-shirt on the DTG printing machine and print your designs directly onto it.
As mentioned earlier, this process is easy to execute. It is like the same way you print on paper. The types of equipment you will need are a DTG printer, ink and a Heat Press.
To get the designs perfectly printed on your t-shirt, you just need to insert the printing paper or the t-shirt in the printer and then let the printer apply ink to it. After successful printing, carefully bring the t-shirt out and let it dry. This is generally an expensive process as you will have to get an expensive DTG printer to get high-resolution prints.
This method of printing is expensive and best for a small workload. If you want to design your clothes, this is the perfect choice for you. It is however compatible with silk, viscose, polyester and also with linen, cotton and wool.
- It does not require much space to start.
- It can easily execute any custom and complex design.
- It is very simple to use.
- It can print with the maximum color combination.
- It gives a soft finish and is easy to switch designs.
- It takes time to print a t-shirt and is not good for bulk orders.
- It requires a higher initial investment.
- The designs are vivid but less durable.
4. Heat Transfer Printing:
Heat Transfer printing is the process of printing designs using heat press on various materials. It works almost in the same manner as dye sublimation printing but this process of printing is more suitable for a small quantity printing as it will take you some time to perfect and give great results.
Using this printing process, you can print very complex designs with great quality and ease. You can use a wide variety of colors and designs for your print and with this process, you will get the exact results. And the final print result will be even more vibrant and durable.
As said earlier, this printing method is somewhat similar to that of sublimation printing. Hence, the types of equipment required are also similar, you just need a heat transfer paper with the design printed on it, a heat press and the t-shirt you want to print on. A sublimation printer is not required here like in sublimation printing.
Now coming to the print process, you need your designs printed on paper, place the t-shirt on a heat press and the paper on it at the place you want the print to be. After placing, close the heat press machine and allow it to transfer the dye onto the shirt. After successful transfer, carefully strip off the excess dye and let it give some seconds to be settle and thus you have your print done.
This printing method is best for small quantity production and is also very economical. It is suitable for all lighter fabrics especially those with low heat sensitivity.
- The printing cost using this method is very low.
- It takes some time to get used to it however it is simple after getting used to it.
- The print quality is superior.
- The prints are highly durable and mostly scratch-free.
- The printing process is long.
- Not good for cotton transfer.
- Prints fade and do not last long.
5. Vinyl Cutting:
Vinyl cutting or also called CAD-Cut vinyl printing is another t-shirt printing method involving heat press. This is a mixture of precise cutting and heat pressing vinyl onto the fabric.
This is a bit complicated process and requires precision but It works well with both small and large design vinyl sizes. The vinyl cutting method is generally used to design logos and brand images on the t-shirts.
To make designs using the Vinyl cutting method, you just need a vinyl cutting machine and a heat-press. The colors used in printing the design must be of high-quality to give a great final result.
The process followed for this process is by designing your custom design on the vinyl sheet and then cutting the vinyl sheet using a professional CAD cutter. After making the perfect cut, you will need to carefully put the vinyl piece onto the t-shirt and then heat-press it. You must use vibrant colors to bring an amazing final product.
This printing process is fast once the cut is made and can be made in large lots. It is compatible with polyester fabric the most and is ideal for printing on any type of material.
- You can use a variety of colors in the print.
- Works perfectly with a variety of fabrics.
- The design shows no cracking.
- The design shows no cracking.
- The final print is very durable.
- The CAD cutting needs precision.
- It is more suitable for small designs.
- It makes the shirt a bit heavy.
- It reduces the shirt’s flexibility.
How To Choose The Best T-Shirt Printing Method?
It is great to have a variety of choices to get the perfect design for your t-shirt. But at times it may become difficult to choose the printing method that best suits your fabric, quality and print quantity. Hence, here we bring to you some factors to keep in mind before starting to print.
● Fabric Compatibility:
Different printing methods have different printing compatibility and not every process is good for your t-shirt. You must find the printing process that is best compatible with your fabric.
You can use dye sublimation and heat press printing if the fabric you want to print is polyester and such a similar fabric. And for printing on cotton fabric, it is best to use the screen printing method as they will give better results on cotton than others.
● Production Speed:
If you are into the commercial t-shirt printing business, then the last thing you will want is your order getting delayed and canceled. Hence, it is important to look at the printing speed of the printing method and then choose one.
If you want to choose a printing method that is fast and can handle your large hoarders, you must go with sublimation printing and heat transfer printing. And for general use, you can go with any of the above-mentioned methods.
● Cost Per Print:
This is perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind before setting up your printing hub. The cost per print may vary with the print methods depending on the quality of the final product, the time required and the wastage. Also, some printing method requires a high initial investment and maintenance.
So, you should analyze the cost and then set up your printing facility.
Having a variety of choices is always a good thing irrespective of the product you are searching for.There are different t-shirt printing methods but you must choose the one that suits your fabric the most. Modern technology brings to you new techniques and you must embrace them and modify them to get the best that you need.