T-shirt Printing Techniques Explained + Cons and Pros


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From direct to garment to cad cut vinyl, we explain the t-shirt printing techniques and the pros and cons of each! Get to know them and see which one you prefer!

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T-shirt Printing Techniques Explained + Cons and Pros

  1. 1. T-SHIRT PRINTING TECHNIQUES • Screen Printing • Direct to Garment • Transfer Printing • Cad Cut Vinyl • Embroidery
  2. 2. SCREEN PRINTING The technique behind most of the t-shirts we wear. It was first invented in China when they discovered that holding a silk mash over a wooden frame with strategically placed holes left an awesome design on the fabric. It quickly spread to other countries and continents and the technique was improved into the beloved screen printing we know today. Screen printing basically pastes a layer of colour on top of the garment through a screen.
  3. 3. SCREEN PRINTING Pros • Simple and versatile • A very durable technique that is easily scalable • It is also relative inexpensive for bulk orders. Cons • Limited colour mixing as the ink is pushed through the screens • The resolution of the design is also limited • The printing is a multistep process that involves placing different screens over a shirt in perfect alignment to create the final design.
  4. 4. DIRECT TO GARMENT This is a relatively new technique that started to be developed in the 90s by a digital image company and it became commercially available in 2005. This technique took the printing world by storm. As the name states, this technique prints ink directly into the garments. This technique goes straight into the fiber meaning that you don’t feel the ink when you touch the t-shirts.
  5. 5. DIRECT TO GARMENT Pros • Extensive colour options and maximum detail in design • easily customizable designs. Cons • Not cost effective for big batches • Limited design placement
  6. 6. TRANSFER PRINTING Originally the method behind this technique is that it transfers an image from one surface to another, permanently. It was mostly used to add decorative details and features to ceramics. The process has now been applied to transfer designs onto t-shirts and other types of garments. You can distinguish transfer printing from other printing techniques because it requires heat to be applied at the end to set the image.
  7. 7. TRANSFER PRINTING Pros • Fairly simple and it can produce high quality, complex designs • It is also one of the best techniques for full colour printing Cons • Slower than the other procedures • It’s got limitations onto which type of fabric it can be printed • Can’t be used on fabrics sensitive to high temperatures • Could be some restrictions on reproduction of darker shades
  8. 8. CAD CUT VINYL Even though it is considered a printing technique there is no printing involved. A state of the art machine cuts a high quality vinyl paper into the shape of the design. One of the most common uses for this technique is the sports kit, mainly football kits.
  9. 9. CAD CUT VINYL Pros • No setup costs and gives bold and vibrant colour images • More viable printing locations such as shoulders, sleeve, and collar • Can also be used on polyester and nylon Cons • Not suitable for quantities over 25 • Not suitable for oversized designs as the print can seem bulky
  10. 10. EMBROIDERY Embroidery is another where there is no printing involved but instead a machine stitches a particular design or text onto the garment of choice. It is one of the most used methods for golf shirts and corporate work wear.
  11. 11. EMBROIDERY Pros • Very professional looking • Long lasting method Cons • Logos may have to be altered due to difficulty of showing shading with thread • Very small text is very difficult to be done