Different Ways of Printing T-Shirts

printing t-shirts

There are times when we come up with a design we like and want it on a t-shirt, but it can be difficult and even sometimes downright impossible to find it on commercially-sold shirts. In that case only a heat press machines for home can help you out. Fortunately, you can make your own t-shirt designs using t-shirt printing machines. There are various options for you to choose from, so it’s important to know the different ways of printing t-shirts and how the t-shirt printing machines differ from one another. Enumerated below are the different methods of printing t-shirts.

Vinyl Printing Method

Vinyl printing uses special soft clothing which is cut into shapes and designs, usually by a vinyl cutting machine. The design is then printed onto the shirt using the heat press method. This type of t-shirt printing allows for layering and printing in different colors. This can make for a very vibrant design.

Using this method allows you to print one-off designs and then make shirts in large numbers. T-shirts printed using this method are known to be durable. However, this method is not suitable for large prints as the vinyl will reduce the flexibility of your shirt.

Heat Press Printing Method

Heat press printing is best used when you’re making a small batch of t-shirts for it saves you time and resources. This method works by printing the desired design on a special paper called transfer paper and then “transferring” the design to the shirt by applying heat and pressure. You continue to apply the heat and pressure until it softens the dye enough to be absorbed by the t-shirt. This is best used when working with more complex designs. This method only works well with light fabrics as the dye is too translucent to be seen on darker fabrics.

Dye Sublimation Method

For this to work well, you must be knowledgeable about dye sublimation.

In this method, a special dye is used to print your designs on the shirt. After the ink has dried, you then apply heat and pressure to start the sublimation process. This method is best used for light polyester fabrics as the dye is unforgiving on cotton.

Direct to Garments (DTG) Method

DTG works like regular printing but on fabrics instead of paper. It works by uploading the design on your computer and then sending it to the textile printer which will then print the design on your shirt. This is an excellent way to print incredibly complex designs which are otherwise difficult to print.

However, the downside is that you might end up with low-quality designs if you have a low-quality printer. It is also the least durable among all the t-shirt printing methods. Designs usually fade within a year or so.

Screen Printing Method

This is the most common type of t-shirt printing, especially with big businesses involved in mass production. This method allows for high-quality t-shirt prints as it perfectly replicates the design you want.

This method involves the use of a stencil and a nylon mesh. You place the stencil onto the shirt which is then held by the mesh. Waterproof material will block off the area in which you want to print; this is the only part that will absorb the ink. After everything is in place, ink is flooded into the screen.

This method works only for simple, single-colored designs.

Having all these different t-shirt printing methods not only allows us to customize our own shirts but also gives us the opportunity to be creative and bring to life the designs that previously only existed in our mind.

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