Different Types of Shirt Printing

Published: 28th January 2008
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We have several methods of T-shirt printing to be considered as you evaluate your business strategy. Every method has its benefits, and each is preferred for certain circumstances. Selecting the right printing method is absolutely crucial.

The Heat Transfer printing is arguably the most popular choice for small businesses. This process involves heat transfer to press an existing photo or design on to a fabric. As it certainly isn't as lasting as other methods, transfer printing is great for small quantities and is much faster than, say, screen printing. It provides a smooth feel when the fabric is produced. We will certainly notice the difference in texture, but it also has a tendency to crack more often. And the machinery required is relatively small and a good option for small scaled production.





Another most important thing to remember with transfer printing is the restrictions of pressing on to colored garments. Generally, most forms of transfer printing will focus on white T-shirts. It is due to the problems which arise when you try to press certain colors on to darker garments. Shifting yellow on to a blue garment would traditionally leave a greenish tone, for example. Gratefully, there are now options available which cater for different colored fabric printing. The Vinyl transfers are one of those additional options. These are focused primarily on offering support for color layering, vinyl pressing allows designers to use multiple colors and produce high quality final prints and the process is centered on embellishing a garment. For using it will require a vinyl cutter which allows you to cut out a logo or design from a specific sheet. This design is then pressed through usual heat transfer means.



This process isn't really geared towards mass production, and is actually better suited for single print T-shirts. And it's a fairly new method, and not the cheapest, but the quality of output is high ' perfect for lettering. The Vinyl transfer print is suitable if you're looking for a one-off print with distinct contrasting colors. Next process that we're going to look at is known as sublimation printing. It is typically used to print on to the light colored synthetic surfaces. This is the process of ink turning directly in to gas under heating, and this makes for a relatively improved output as opposed to traditional heat transfer printing. Nevertheless due to the limited availability and demand for synthetic clothing I would advise caution when considering basing your T-shirt business on the sublimation printing.

We can find that T-shirts printed through sublimation don't feel the same as transfer printed fabrics. It is because the toners used are applied below the surface of the substrate.


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John Bush is a professional fashion designer with 10 years of experience in the Custom Printed T shirts design and Screen Printing T Shirts design field.


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