Printing Types

Getting your art onto the T-shirt is most important task. There was a time when screen printing was the only type of printing method present but now we have many methods for printing our designs onto the T-shirts.

Here we go,

  • DTG ( Direct to Garment Printing ) :

This technology uses the inkjet technology. They print directly onto the T-shirt, very similar to how an inkjet printer does. DTG printers use special ink that seeps into the T-shirt fabric. They give a soft feel and are quite impressive. They have a clean crisp printing. They can also print on both light and dark colors and give a very soft hand feel.

T-Jet Blazer Express-LowRES

You can easily find some DTG printers at the links below from Amazon :

  • Heat Transfers :

Heat transfers is a big category. There are different types of transfer papers you can use to print on the T-shirts. Heat transfers can be used to make your own T-shirts at home but still there can be a few drawbacks. Let’s go through them and you can select that suits your business the best


Here are different heat transfers which you can try, just click the links below and check them out :

Home Inkjet Transfers : 

Normally people think of those cheap iron-on inkjet transfer papers which you can easily buy at a market. Those are not of good quality because they form a thick rubbery type of printing and also they start breaking after a few washes, so they don’t give the professional look neither you can use them for your T-shirt company cause you need a nice quality work for your company’s good reputation


Self Weeding Inkjet & Laser Paper : 

These transfer papers are far more better than the standard inkjet transfers. They don’t have that thick rubber type of print and are much more better quality wise. Another thing is that the standard inkjet and laser printers are usually CYMK which stands for Cyan, Yellow, Magenta & Black, there’s no white ink in them. Which means you can’t print on dark colors and dark color T-shirts are a major part of the T-shirt industry


White Ink Self Weeding Laser Transfers :

This is the latest invention in the world of the Heat Transfers. The advent of the white ink laser printer has influenced the T-shirt business a lot. Due to this you can print both on light and dark colors. These transfer papers only transfer the ink so there’s no ugly polymer film around the design. This is the best way to produce high quality T-shirts at home. White Ink Laser Printers usually cost between $2,500-$10,000.


Sublimation :

Sublimation is the process where the ink turns from solid to gas directly. The design is printed on a paper with sublimation ink and is printed on a paper with sublimation ink and then it is heat pressed onto the T-shirt. Sublimation printers are used on wide basis for printing large oversize garments. Also it only prints on 100% polyester.


Vinyl Cutter/Plotter Graphics : 

A vinyl cutter cuts out specialty made pieces of vinyl based on your design. The designs then can be used to make T-shirts. The machines do not print anything but they simply cut the vinyl into different shapes. After this they vinyl is weeded, once again weeding is a time consuming process of cutting the design of the remaining art. The vinyl art is then applied on a T-shirt using a heat press machine. One thing not to be forgotten about is that these plotters ca’t produce any photographic images, you can just make the silhouette shapes and colors. You can plot just one color at a time. If you wanna print a multi color design you must cut your vinyl one at a time and place the together to complete the art.


Plastisol Custom Heat Transfers : 

The plastisol custom heat transfer is a very simple process. It’s as same as screen printing a T-shirt, the only difference is that it’s printed on a transfer paper. These transfer papers are ten sent to you. And you can simply heat press them onto your T-shirts. You might think that you could also directly screen print directly onto the T-shirt. Suppose if you receive your transfer papers you can heat press them upon any color T-shirt you want and your customers want to. You wouldn’t be bound to a few color T-shirts upon which you had screen printed them. These transfers give you u flexibility and you won’t be stuck with unsell-able stock. Also remember that not all the print qualities are the same, some transfer papers can be thick and rubbery


  • Screen Printing : 

Screen printing is good for large established and stable companies. If you have really large orders, nothing can beat screen printing but if you are just starting out or are a small company you shouldn’t go the screen printing route unless you have a lot of money to afford it easily. Screen printers charge you for everything, for color separations, acetate transparencies, screens, color changes etc. Screen printing is a very good way to print your T-shirts cause their print and quality is very good but it’s just for large orders for example 5,000 or 10,000 T-shirts. That’s why it’s not a very good route for you to go if you’re just starting out. Screen printing is economical just for large orders, it can produce any kind of print you need. It’s very expensive for beginners due to it’s set up fees


For screen printers, you can check these links below :

  • The Print & Cut Heat Transfer Paper : 

This is a new technology which is best for small businesses or people who are just starting out. This machine prints and cuts all in one. You can easily make custom heat transfers, there’s no need for two machines. No need to send your designs to anyone to get them on a transfer paper. And there’s no need to wait for your transfer papers to arrive to you. All you do is just give some commands and the machine does it all. This machine can also print white ink and metallic inks as well. It simply prints your transfer paper and then cut it with a built in cutter according to the outline of your design. Once it’s done you can easily heat press it onto your T-shirts without any headache and hurdles.


These are all the printing technique. Do research upon them before deciding on one. They all have Pros and Cons but select the one that best suits your business plan an is affordable for you. And later on you can always upgrade.

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