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Need help in understanding different types of printing methods

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Old March 14th, 2012 Mar 14, 2012 4:01:08 AM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need help in understanding different types of printing methods

Hi Everyone,

I am totally new to this T-Shirt printing thing. I plan to start my own T-Shirt business on a very small scale and have been doing research for that. I found this great forum via google.

I cant seem to understand the different printing methods used for T Shirt printing mentioned here (screen printing, heat press, Vinyl transfer, DTG). I mean whats the difference between these different methods, which one gives the best quality ? which one has the most expensive equipment ? Which one is the Cheapest to print ? Which one is suitable for a small scale business and which is for large scale ?

I plan to do this as a part time work. I have a very limited budget (about $1000 to $1500 max) and I plan to buy the equipment, print shirts at home and sell them online. Please suggest the best method/model to go with under this scenari
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Old March 20th, 2012 Mar 20, 2012 8:27:51 AM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help in understanding different types of printing methods

Hi @batzz, welcome to T-Shirt Forums!

Here's a couple of threads that will help you understand the different printing methods:

Reading those threads should give you a good education on the different printing types

This is also a good read for those starting out: start related topics at T-Shirt Forums
Rodney Blackwell Find a company to print your t-shirts - list your own t-shirt printing company.
Old September 4th, 2017 Sep 4, 2017 10:52:00 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Post Re: Need help in understanding different types of printing methods

T shirt printing types for your custom t shirts design:

Want to design you custom t shirt. But don’t know what are the t shirt printing types. Here we are covering the custom t shirt printing & providing the details about how custom online t shirts are being printed to your t shirt design requirements.
The article is written in a very simplest way possible to make the customers understand few things about t shirt printing.

Before we tell you about T shirt printing. There are certain checklist that you need to provide t shirt manufacturers in Tirupur for providing good quality t shirt design printing.

Check list for t shirt printing:

Design File
Placement of size & print
Size or color breakdown
Design File : (.AI, .PSD, .CDR, .PDF, .JPG, .PNG)

Without high quality t shirt design, It will take extra effort for t shirt manufacturers to achieve the high print quality and time consuming. Prepare t shirt design file before you start the discussion. Most preferred design file are Adobe Illustrator, Adobe photoshop or Coreldraw file.


Even though design file tells about the color. Often, there are issues with t shirt printing that color shades doesn’t match with client requirement. Please provide color codes from pantone shades. so it would be easier for t shirt manufacturers to provide you great quality printed tshirts.
if you are not aware of pantone shade code. Please download the 1 pantone color book app on your android play store or click here to know the color code.

Placement of the print & Size on the apparel:

The Size of the print and where it is placed is what determines the print tshirt quality. So, make sure to provide measurements for the prints & tech pack containing all the details. You should also provide what kind of print density to be printed on the tshirt & other design notes if required.

Size or Color Break Down for the tshirts:

If you have multiples of color with design or multiples colors of the t shirts. you should communicate all those information prior to commencing the t shirt printing.
Once you go through the custom shirt printing methods post. You will have a great idea of how your t shirts can be printed.
Keep Reading.

T-Shirt Printing Methods & Types:

Screen Printing:

Most of the t shirts that you see in the market are being printed using this technique. Screen printing gives the flexibility of using various print dyes. so, you have varied the thickness & feel of the print according to your requirements.

Screen Printing Technique
It is suitable and used for bulk order as well. Screen printing is done with manpower in a traditional way & with automatic machines.

How do we do it?
Screen printing involves little preparation before we actually start applying the chemicals on the screens. The buyer provides us the designs in a design file as mentioned in the checklist above.
Design file will be deployed in the respective software in the system. The design will be corrected and developed to an aspect ratio matching to your requirements and will be printed on transparent film.

Nylon Mesh for Screen Printing
Transparent film developed will be then exposed to nylon mesh screen made according to the design size & placement requirement. The exposed screen would be washed with high-pressure gun to open up the pores in the design exposed area.

Different screens will be made if there are different colors. Except the color to be printed, remaining area would be sealed in the nylon mesh. so only the desired color to the desired area would flow on the t shirt.

Now the screen is ready for the print dyes to be applied.
In the automatic or manual rotary machines screen would be placed static and t shirts would move around to get printed.

In man power based traditional, tshirt would stay static, the screen would be moved on from one tshirt to the other to be printed.

for example, you want to print the Indian Flag on your favorite white t shirt. Since it is a white shirt, An Indian flag to be printed on a white tshirt, we need to make Three screens with different exposure for colors & placement position of those colors.

Pros :
Can be used for bulk quantity.
Multiple colors possible
Consumes less time for printing.
Soft or hard, thick or thin prints can be achieved.

The small quantity will not cost effective.

Sublimation Printing:

Have you seen those attractive designs covered everywhere on a full t-shirt on a sports jersey? Then, it is made via sublimation printing.
Sublimation works only 100% Polyester fabric.

How does it work?
When you provide design file, we convert them in our system software. A print will be taken in a suitable transfer paper (Just like a normal color print out but using specific dyes for sublimation process).

Then we will cut the fabric with the suitable measurement of the front and back panel. then printed transfer paper will be aligned with the respective panel of the t shirt with exact placement in vacuum free heat transfer machines.

Sublimation process will begin. Finally, all the print on the paper will be applied on the respective panel placed. Then both the panel printed would be sent for stitching and then delivered.

Can be used to achieve unique all over designs.
The graphic image produced with the print will be so accurate.

can be only used on 100% Polyester.
Smaller quantities will not be cost effective.

Vinyl Printing:

This is one of the most popular printing techniques used in various ways. A special software is used with CAD Cutter to cut designs according to the requirement.

Then sticker is applied on the garment using heat press. Different colors can be layered to bring vibrant colors but not flexible as the screen print. Vinyl are soft on the garment & will have excellent fading resistance and will not get crack through the print.

Fade Resistance is good.
No cracking in the print.
Durability will be good.

Unique software requirements are needed.
Not flexible as screen printing.
Heat Transfer machines and CAD Cutters are required.

Need help in understanding different types of printing methods-printing-3.png

Direct To Garment (DTG) Technique:

Have you seen photo prints on a garment? Then it is printed via Direct To Garment shortly called as DTG.

How do we do it?
It works just like other prints but t-shirt directly fed to the printer with the help of conveyor belt.

Real picture quality can be achieved with this printing technique. Can be printed white and dark tshirts with contrast colors. This printing is cost effective when one or two tshirt needs to be printed

All colors combinations can be used
Garment is comparatively soft than other printing methods
Cost effective when few tshirts got to be printed.

Printing for bulk quantity is not cost effective
the printing process is time-consuming.

Transfer Paper Method:

Have you seen your brand logo and laundry instructions in your tshirts printed nowadays? Yes, it is made via transfer paper method. This printing is widely used nowadays brand logo placement and attractive designs.

How do we do it?
The screen is made for making transfer stickers as mentioned for screen printing. Instead of applying the print dyes directly on the garment, Print dyes are applied via the screen onto the transfer paper coated with immediately with rubber-like crystal that sticks on print dyes applied area.

Once transfer sticker is ready. It is cut according to the need. Heat transfer machines with pressure will be used with right amount of temperature, pressure and time on the t-shirt. Print from the transfer sticker will be printed on the garment.

High-quality image can be achieved.
Multi-colors can be used

Heat sensitive fabric can’t be used.

All over prints:

Have you seen those small cartoon images & designs spread across the fabric evenly with same design patterns? Yes, that is said to be printed as All over prints. This is mostly done on a dyed fabric and in bulk quantity.

How do we do it?
We analyze the design and make screens for different colors and screen will be rolled over cylindrical bars. Required color dyes are fused into respective cylindrical bars. When the fabric moves around the colored bars, dyes stuff moves through the screen continuously to arrive the needed design.

Then fabric would be sent for curing so that dye applied the stick to fabric well providing good fastness.

Used to make consistent designs all over the fabric
Different colors can be applied in accordance with the design

Smaller quantities are not cost effective.

Now you have understood the basics of screen printing. We will be posting more about printing.
Dinesh MJ. CEO, Ramsay Exports,India. +919035368934
T shirt Manufacturer & Exporter in India

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