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Printing techniques for apparel

I’m hoping this can provide answers to many questions about the most appropriate printing technique for your business that sells t-shirts. It’s easy to figure out which one suits your requirements best, as every printing technique comes with advantages and disadvantages based on the amount of colors employed, the time of the printing, and last but not least, the cost. I will go over each one of them, and let you choose which one you prefer.

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SCREEN PRINTING

It’s the most popular method of printing t-shirts. Screens are pressed against the cloth to apply paint on shirts, one color for each screen. Each press has one color, so it means that for the design of a t-shirt that uses five colors, you’ll require five separate screens. Screen printing is of high-end quality professional, attractive, and sturdy, and affordable on bulk orders. One of the drawbacks is the fact that it can be messy to operate with a lot of screens. If you’re planning to print only one or two t-shirts, this isn’t the ideal method of printing. Screen printing is also subject to charges for setup, which are based on the number of colored screens that are to be printed. For instance, Customink uses this kind of printing for large orders.

DIRECT TO GARMENT PRINTING (DTG)

Since it’s new printing technology, it is costly, however printing quality on t-shirts are superior. Direct to garment printers, designs are printed directly on a t-shirt , or on the item you wish to purchase. The art process permits unlimitless colors and shades be printed, which is not possible with screen printing. This is the best option for t-shirts with photos and detail-oriented images. Direct printing on garments is believed to be the sole professional alternative for small-run orders. This means that you can print a shirt or 100 at a time without any issues. The printing process of DTG takes longer than the print on screen and the biggest drawback is that the design isn’t able to be printed on t-shirts with dark colors (with some exceptions). This is also the reason that the printer doesn’t print in white. It’s a professional result, and designs don’t feel as if they are on the clothing.

HEAT PRESS TRANSFER PRINTING

The technique of heat press transfer involves printing a transparent ink using the aid of an electronic computer on a particular document ( Inkjet transfer paper). Full-color images and extremely high-quality are printed, and later put on the cotton garment and pressed with the press. The typical temperature is 180 ° for between 10 and 30 seconds. Through the use of heat transfer you can print intricate designs using a variety of colors. The advantage is that colors don’t need to be applied in a separate fashion. This method is perfect for making t-shirts with a fast-paced customized design. The downside is that the printed image can only be printed on light t-shirtssince the colors used in the design could affect the color of the shirt. Although it’s quick and simple to print a shirt using the heat press transfer the transfer feels very heavy and cracks easily.

HEAT TRANSFER VINYL PRINTING

It requires an equipment (vinyl cutter) to cut designs onto special color sheet of vinyl. The cut vinyl is then applied to the fabric using an heat press.

There are 50 colors available to choose from, including fluorescent colors. This is a great option if you’re looking for a t-shirt that has distinctive letters.

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DYE SUBLIMATION PRINTING

is the actual transfer of heat to polyester clothing and coated products (such as the mugs). Dye subprocess can only be used for printing on medium to light colored clothes with an entirely polyester surface and allows full-color printing, as well as spot color printing on clothes. Sublimation ink is a specific ink which transforms into gas once temperature is caused. The heat causes pores in polyester to expand and absorb sublimation ink. However, this is not the case for the majority of non-textile clothing, including puzzles, mugs, key chains, mousepads and so on. This method can also be applied to polyester T-shirts, however, there is a limit to requirement in this section. Dye sublimation printing requires an additional transfer paper that is less expensive than the inkjet transfer paper however the ink for sublimation printing is expensive.

Apart from these techniques There are many more. Here are a few although they are not as frequently used as the ones mentioned above but they are used in some areas of business including plastisol printing and non-PVC water-based printingand discharge printing glitter inks, metallic inks, foils, gel 3D printing, cutting and sewing embroideries, thermochromic photographic (color change).

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