Today there are three main types of t shirt printing and each has its own techniques and benefits. Which one you choose depends on what you are hoping to achieve. Here is a closer look at these three methods.
This the oldest method for tshirt printing out of the three and also the most commonly used one still! Some services have large completely automated presses and some have smaller ones that use the hand method still. But both use the same printing process. It is a time consuming one to set up and then after the printing, the printers must clean the screens. The more colours used the more screens and so the more a client pays in terms of set up fees. But those screens are usually stored so a client can easily do repeat orders after that.
Screen printing is great when you want solid colours with clean lines. It works well for text and most logos. It is great for mass production and the costs are pretty low. The items that have been printed on can be washed many times before there are issues of fading. It is not the most suitable option for printing photos unless having a low-grade image is okay.
Heat transfer t shirt printing
Then there is heat transfer printing which as it says in its name is the process of using heat to transfer an image on transfer paper onto a t-shirt or garment of your choice. It is a very affordable method of tshirt printing and is one that home users favour. The popular option to iron on an image is an example. It is not an option that can be taken into mass production easily but as long as orders are lower in numbers and it is for individuals, then it could work. The equipment is more affordable to invest in but you do need a proper heat press that gets to the proper high temperatures otherwise the method doesn’t work well. Heat transfer printing can handle complex images, many colours and photographic images.
Then the more modern method of t shirt printing is digital printing. Digital printing has an advantage over other options because the printers can better print on demand. It works a lot like an inkjet printer, over a frame the shirt is stretched and underneath is the set of inks. A lot of big custom t-shirt makers use this method of printing, it can handle larger orders or it can do smaller ones and there is not a lot to set up, or a lot to clean up after. It works well for logos, designs that have multi colours and with photographs. T-shirts made this way might be a little more expensive though than those screen printed and despite that, they actually fade quicker than screen-printed shirts too. But it is a recent technology and continues to improve so is one to keep an eye on in the future.