Let’s take a shallow dive into the world of t-shirt printing! Since shirt.ly is one of the leading print-on-demand services in the Philippines, it’s only natural that we talk to you more about the types of printing available, their differences, and how to care for them.
If you’re also thinking of creating or starting a shirt business with us, this guide is probably going to help you. Here are 4 of the most common shirt printing methods you need to know:
Types Of Shirt Printing Methods
1. Silkscreen Printing
It is one of the most common types of shirt printing professionals use. Another name for this printing method is screen printing. This printing method is so versatile that it guarantees perfect reproduction of your design and ideal for mass production, especially with one color print.
Image via Pixabay
Silkscreen printing is done with the use of a nylon screen mesh and a stencil with your design. The ink is placed on top of the stencil and spread evenly using a squeegee.
Suitable for mass production
Durable compared to other printing methods
Not suitable for small orders
Requires more time to finish
2. Sublimation Printing
Dye-sublimation printing is a method of shirt printing wherein a fully graphic design can be printed on a light-colored fabric. Sublimation is a chemical process that turns solid into a gas without going through the liquid state.
This type of printing method uses a specialized digital printer to produce images on a transfer paper with sublimation ink. The printed paper with sublimation ink will be heat pressed onto the shirt with temperatures ranging from 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. During this process, the printed design (solid) turns into a gas and permeates the fibers of the shirt.
Can print full images
Applicable for same-day prints
Offers customization capability
Produces 3D designs
Only works on polyester shirts or polymer-coated products
Works best for light-colored fabrics
3. Vinyl Printing
Vinyl cutting or vinyl printing should not be confused with transfer paper printing. While both printing methods need a heat press, vinyl printing uses colored pieces of vinyl which are cut to form the design and pressed to the shirt. On the other hand, transfer paper printing as the name suggests, uses a transfer paper with the design printed on it and then pressed to the shirt.
At shirt.ly, we use vinyl printing for most of our shirts. It allows us to create durable and high-quality looking designs at a lower price. This also makes it possible for us to offer our prin-on-demand services.
Works great for a small batches
Durable and looks professionally done
Can be done under an hour depending on the design
You can only use a maximum of 2 colors
Overlaps can be challenging
Can’t print full graphics
4. DTG or Direct-To-Garment Printing
Direct-To-Garment printing is a relatively new technology and was first made available to the public in 2004 during the SGIA in Minneapolis, USA.
Image via Dana Signs
DTG printing offers detailed, high-quality, and precise shirt prints, no matter what type of shirt you have. The way it works is as simple as comparing it to your home printer. It prints the design directly on the shirt, no plates or screen needed. It can handle almost all types of designs and reproduces a lot of colors.
Quick and easy to learn
Produces precise prints
Polyester materials are not suitable for this
DTG printers can be expensive
How To Care For Your Printed Shirts
Caring for your shirts will mean a lot of things for your wallet and the environment. Learning how to look after them can mean that you’re less likely to buy a new one and you’re also less likely to throw away the shirt.
Here is a no-nonsense guide on how to take care of your printed graphic shirts no matter what type of printing method was used:
- Wash them inside out - Doing so will help minimize design and garment fading.
- Avoid hot water on clothes - Most shirts are now pre-shrunk, but some cotton shirts still tend to shrink a little bit in hot water. Ensure that water temperature is just right,
- Tumble dry less - We live in a fast-paced world, and with the advent of coin laundry in the Philippines, it’s easier to tumble dry. But try to do it less often, especially with your favorite shirt to slow the aging process.
- Don’t iron on print - Do we really have to say this? Directly ironing on the shirt print ruins the design. Also, should you really be ironing your shirt?
We hope this quick guide on the type of shirt printing methods helps you find your next favorite graphic shirt. In the meantime, check out some of our newest graphic shirts in the marketplace.