T Shirt Printing – How it is Done and the Pros and Cons of Each Method

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There are a lot of different uses for T-shirt printing. A business can use custom promotional T-shirts to get their logos and slogans in front of a lot of people. Sports teams can use them so that every team member has a matching shirt. Individuals can get custom shirts made to express their own sense of style and to have a unique garment that nobody else has. There are a lot of people interested in custom garments for different reasons and there are a number of methods for T-shirt printing. This article is going to briefly discuss a few of the most common methods.

One method for making custom garments that has been around for ages is screenprinting or silkscreening. With this method a blank T-shirt is stretched across a rigid frame and a stencil of the desired design is positioned where you want the design to be. The screen goes on top of this and the ink is applied to the desired area with a squeegee. If a design has multiple colors the process would be repeated for each color to be applied.

Another common method for T-shirt printing is known as dye sublimation. With this method, the desired image is printed from a computer printer onto a special paper. The paper is positioned onto the garment and when heat and pressure are applied the ink evaporates from the paper and is transferred to the garment. With this method you can actually transfer photos onto a piece of clothing. Another method that has become popular recently is direct to garment printing. With this method, your artwork or photo can be printed directly onto a garment using an inkjet printer, very much like printing a photo from your computer.

Each of these printing methods has their pros and cons. Silkscreening is an inexpensive way to print a large number of garments but is not really suitable for printing photo quality images and because each color is applied separately, the more colors you wish to use the longer it will take and the more expensive it will be. Dye sublimation can produce photo quality images but this method does not work well with natural fibers like cotton, synthetic fibers like nylon or polyester would need to be used. Direct to garment printing is a good option for small runs, personalization, and reproducing images with multiple colors or even photo quality images and can be used on natural fibers but if you are getting into the business of T-shirt printing the equipment for this method can be pretty expensive.

Each method has its pros and cons and a consumer will have to find a company that can produce the image they want at an affordable cost per item regardless of which method is used. For someone getting into T-shirt printing as a business you may want to consider offering all of these options but if that is not in your budget in the beginning, you will have to figure out who your target market is and which method will work best for that particular market.

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