Before landing in the t-shirt designing business, one must be aware of a lot of things. One of the most important aspects of t-shirt printing is the t-shirt printing method. Various printing methods are capable of providing a variety of results. T-shirts may vary in quality, durability, look, etc.
To find out which one is best for you, check out this piece on top t-shirt printing methods for better quality
The most popular and widely used t-shirt printing method is screen printing. It is a great method for creating beautiful t-shirts in bulk.
Screens are used in this method to apply ink to t-shirts. The designs on the t-shirts are of high quality and last long. Also, when used strategically and effectively, this method of printing can prove to be cost-effective.
Ink is applied directly on t-shirts with the use of mesh screens. The screen is spread over a woollen or aluminum frame. This screen is pressed against cloth to transfer ink. A different screen is required for every colour used. More the colours used in artwork, the more the cost of printing.
If the design has 3 or more colours it might cost you more. But this method will be best in this case. It will create long-lasting designs or much better quality than other methods.
The equipment needed for this method are screens, press, exposure unit and dryer.
The screen printing method has a lot of various methods included in it such as puff print technique, gel printing, crackle finish, glow in a dark finish, suede finish, UV glow finish, glitter finish, etc.
Inkjet/Laser Iron on Transfer
Heat transfer is another popular method of printing. It goes great with multiple complex designs and colours. Also, heat transfers can be used to print digital photographs.
In this method, paper is used on which the design is printed with an inkjet printer. This paper is used to transfer the design to the t-shirts. Transfer paper is placed on a piece of clothing and then hot iron is placed over it. The pressure and heat applied will assist in the transfer of design to clothes.
It is compulsory to use an inkjet printer with inkjet transfer paper and a laser printer with laser transfer paper.
The designs might not last long in this case. They crack or fade away with washing.
DTG (Direct to Garment)
For the DTG (Direct to Garment) method, a DTG printer, a heat press is required. This is the best method for creating beautifully designed t-shirts in small lots. It is great for printing 5 or fewer t-shirts at a time. Cotton blend t-shirts are most preferable for this type of printing.
DTG prints designs on clothes with the accuracy of colours. A lot of colours can be used in this method of printing. It is easy to create your own designs and patterns of varying complexity on t-shirts. DTG is a great t-shirt maker that allows you to create t-shirts with the help of attractive design templates.
However, this method is not as durable as screen printing is. The designs might crack or fade away.
CAD cut Vinyls
The equipment needed for CAD cut vinyl is Cutter, film/ vinyl, heat press.
In this printing method, cutouts of vinyl of matte or gloss finish are used. These cutouts of vinyl are applied on t-shirts with a heat press.
Cutouts are taken from soil-coloured vinyl sheets which use a machine. It is one colour process and also a cost-effective one. There are a variety of colours, patterns and designs of vinyl sheets available.
As designs need to be cut one by one for printing, thus it can consume a lot of time and energy. So, this method is good for small printing orders.
Plastisol heat transfer is a preferred method of printing. It creates designs of good quality and a soft touch feel. This method is also known as indirect screen printing. The equipment used for this method is a heat press and transfer sheets.
A high-quality heat transfer is used which has a design screen printed on it. Hot split transfers create a soft and matte finish. However, cold peel transfers give a glossy look.
Dye Sublimation Printing
The equipment needed for dye sublimation printing is the sublimation printer, inks, release paper and heat press.
This printing method is best for printing on white polyester t-shirts. It is also good for 50% pre-treated fabrics and polyester blend t-shirts.
In this process, the dye turns into vapour form and is absorbed into the piece of clothing. It is a durable method and results are quite similar to DTG. but it produces even softer designs.
This method is good to print full-colour designs on white or light-coloured t-shirts. This printing option cannot be used on cotton t-shirts as designs fade away with washing.
This is the reverse method of printing on t-shirts. The t-shirts are bleached with discharge inks. Instead of adding colour to t-shirts, it gets rid of colours on t-shirts in pattern-creating designs. This printing method is usually performed on cotton t-shirts. It gives an appealing vintage look. But it can be costly and hard to manage.
This printing method creates large prints all over the t-shirts. This is quite an expensive method of t-shirt printing. It is capable of printing front, back or both in one go.
The cost of this screen printing method makes it less usable for a larger audience. Though it creates beautiful designs in very little time and provides good coverage, the cost still stands out. Thus, this method is not widely used.
Cut and Sew
This is not actually a printing method. As the name suggests, it is a method in which designs are actually cut and sewn onto t-shirts. The custom printed fabric is used in this method. Different methods of fabric printing can be used to create custom shirts of your own choice.
This method of printing is not a commercial one. It cannot be used for printing t-shirts on a large scale. Usage of stencils to print on the fabric takes a lot of time and thus makes it difficult to perform on a large scale. But to create DIY t-shirts at home for oneself, friends and family, this method is quite fun.
Also, this method only provides a specific and limited range of designs. Designhill is a great place from where you can get inspiration for creating amazing custom t-shirts. Also, if you want one, you can get t-shirts of huge variety on this platform.