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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I'm starting a clothing line and have been looking for screen printers in my area. There is one that I have been in contact with who have quoted me for a couple designs. They charge a film charge of $15-$25 per color depending on the size, as well as a screen fee of $30 per color, plus the cost per print (around $1.25). Now, I had used screen printers in the past and don't remember paying for BOTH film AND screen charges separately, but I could be imagining things. Is this normal??
 

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It's all relative. Different variables such as film size can affect the price. My setup fees vary greatly from standard size printing, and oversize printing. It takes much longer to make the screens for oversize printing. I also have to have custom positives made that cost me $20 or more per positive. Printers must figure out the costs for these services and price accordingly. They probably aren't trying to gouge you, but they are making their cost + some profit.
 

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Thanks for the info. For one example, to print twelve 3-color shirts on white t's i'd provide is $156.60.

From what you've said, it doesn't sound like i'm being ripped off so that's a good thing!
 

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Twelve shirts for $156 is $13 a shirt. Ouch!

You are a definite candidate for using direct to garment (DTG) because of such a small number of shirts that you need.

For example, Colorado Timberline will print you 12 white tees, unlimited number of colors on their Kornit, for $4.50 each. Colorado Timberline
 

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ok so see it does seem like a lot now!
What is DTG exactly??
I don't think anyone realized you were only talking about 12 pieces. Those rates are not a lot for 120 shirts, mainly because you can spread the cost of the film/screens over many more shirts bringing your per shirt cost down.

DTG is an inkjet printer made to print on shirts. They use waterbased inks, not plastisol. Just like you can print unlimited colors on an inkjet printer for paper, so can you on shirts.

You wouldn't want to use a dtg printer for 100's of shirts because of the cost, but its perfect for 12.
 

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Hmmm... thanks I hadn't known about that option. I knew about the heat-transfer kind which was definitely what I didn't want because of the quality. I'm working on a new clothing line and want the quality to be top. But if a shirt is printed using DTG, and it uses actual ink that might be a good option for me. Is the quality of the ink comparable to standard screen printing?? Like, would you be able to tell the difference?
 

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Hmmm... thanks I hadn't known about that option. I knew about the heat-transfer kind which was definitely what I didn't want because of the quality. I'm working on a new clothing line and want the quality to be top. But if a shirt is printed using DTG, and it uses actual ink that might be a good option for me. Is the quality of the ink comparable to standard screen printing?? Like, would you be able to tell the difference?
If you want the BEST quality for a CLOTHING LINE, then go with screenprinting, boutiques tend to carry screenprinted garments.
If your designs are only a few colors and mostly flat colors or just a little halftone, then it's a better option to screenprint it.

Screenprinting offers more specialty ink options... and price gets more affordable with larger quantities but trial & error and small samples are more costly to produce.

Screenprinting is "affordable" with decorative designs but I don't see how screenprinting can compete with DTG's in printing colorful photographic prints in cost.
It'll be expensive for you to screenprint high quality color photographic art unless you can do the complex separations and printing yourself.

DTG is "commercial" printing with no color limitations since it's digitally blending colors without needing many film outputs / many screen setups & burning so it's more affordable for sampling photographic art.
DTG inks generally don't have the longevity of screenprinting paints and there are more limitations with types of paints & image sizes.

If you want the best for a high end clothing line, don't just shop around for prices... buy high quality clothing material and go with a screenprinting company that has high quality samples of their work and pay whatever they charge to get get that quality.

For the best results, select the best printers instead of price shopping first.
 

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I don't know much about this company but I googled up their website and it explains the importance of choosing the right printers, printing methods, and material.

T-Shirt Printing | Indigo Clothing | T-shirt Printing - Promotional Clothing - Embroidery

A guide to printing t-shirts

Indigo Clothing is a t-shirt printing specialist, printing t-shirts in quantities from 20 to 200 000 garments. When selecting a t-shirt printer the two key things to considerer are (i) what t-shirts are being used to fulfil your order and (ii) what print method is being used to put your design onto the tees? If you use the wrong t-shirt or an inappropriate print method you may end up with an a lot of t-shirts that you aren't happy with.

Indigo Clothing understands that every client's needs are different. Some people want cheap, disposable, promotional t-shirts where a rock-bottom price is key, whilst others need a high-quality, fashion item which best reflects their brand. We have written this guide to help you decide what is right for you but, at the end of the day, if you have specific questions, just pick up the phone or drop us an email and one of the team will be happy to answer any further questions you may have.

Choosing the right t-shirt

Firstly, decide what you need the t-shirt to do. What image does it need to convey, does it need to last a long time, does it need to be light or heavyweight, does it need to come in multiple colour ways, does it need to be unisex or do you need specific men's or women's styles, does it need to be organic or ethically produced ? Here are some brand and product suggestions:

Lightweight T-Shirts

Good for promotions, classic shape, bulk order, low prices

Recommend Brand(s):

Stedman – Profile (blog) | Products
Fruit of the Loom – Profile | Products
Recommended Product(s):

Stedman Classic Tee - lowest price tee around.
Fruit Valueweight Tee - good brand and more colours than Stedman Classic.
Heavyweight T-Shirts

Good for clubs, teams and companies, last longer, large range of colours

Recommend Brand(s):

Gildan – Profile | Products
Fruit of the Loom – Profile | Products
Jerzees – Products
Recommended Product(s):

Gildan Ultra Tee - available in 54 colours!
Fruit Premium Tee - industry leading shirt.
Jerzees Gold Label - best quality t-shirt we have seen for a long time.
Fashionable T-Shirts

Good for those wanting a more fitted look, style, modern colours

Recommend Brand(s):

Continental – Profile | Products
American Apparel – Profile (blog) | Products Coming Soon
Skinni Fit – Products
Recommended Product(s):

Continental Classic Womens Crew Neck – no one does this type of tee better!
Continental Slim Fit Mens Tee – for the less baggy look.
Skinni Fit Layered Tee – something beyond the norm.
Organic T-Shirts

Good for those with a green heart or corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy.

Recommend Brand(s):

SAF – Products
Continental – Profile | Products
Epona – Coming Soon
Recommended Product(s):

SAF Classic Tee - available in multiple colours.

Printing the t-shirt

Secondly, you need to print the t-shirt(s) you have chosen. You can mix and match styles, colours and brands but we do have a minimum order of 20 items. This is because Indigo's method of choice for printing is screen printing which has a time consuming setup process. This is the default technique for us as it is the most superior by far. The colours are bright and vibrant, the quality excellent and washed at 40 degrees without problems. Digital, sublimation and heat transfer techniques, whilst getting better year by year, cannot compete with screen printing (we do sometimes recommend direct-to-garment (also known as digital, DTG or T-Jet print) for printing a process design onto light coloured garments when the order total is less than 100 pieces).

To read more about screen printing and how it works along with print prices then please check out the screen printing guide.

Beyond T-shirt printing

Indigo is far more than a t-shirt printer. We can print or embroider literally thousands of different products from caps and bags, polos and sweatshirts, jackets and fleeces. We also can supply you with other promotional merchandise. Indigo is dedicated to raising the standard of customer service in the industry by going the extra step for our clients when they need it. We offer an average lead time of around 7 working days but can fulfil orders to tighter deadlines if required.
 

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If you want the BEST quality for a CLOTHING LINE, then go with screenprinting, boutiques tend to carry screenprinted garments.
If your designs are only a few colors and mostly flat colors or just a little halftone, then it's a better option to screenprint it.

Screenprinting offers more specialty ink options... and price gets more affordable with larger quantities but trial & error and small samples are more costly to produce.

Screenprinting is "affordable" with decorative designs but I don't see how screenprinting can compete with DTG's in printing colorful photographic prints in cost.
It'll be expensive for you to screenprint high quality color photographic art unless you can do the complex separations and printing yourself.

DTG is "commercial" printing with no color limitations since it's digitally blending colors without needing many film outputs / many screen setups & burning so it's more affordable for sampling photographic art.
DTG inks generally don't have the longevity of screenprinting paints and there are more limitations with types of paints & image sizes.

If you want the best for a high end clothing line, don't just shop around for prices... buy high quality clothing material and go with a screenprinting company that has high quality samples of their work and pay whatever they charge to get get that quality.

For the best results, select the best printers instead of price shopping first.
Hi good post. What do you mean by flat colors and half tones?
Also, would you consider American Apparel to be high end?
 

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I have a guy who wants to charge $1.50-$2.00 per piece for 100+ pieces. Is that a lot? or normal?
You can easily pick up the phone and call a few other printers and compare. Make sure there aren't any hidden fees. It's not that hard dude. Is that 100 pieces per design or is it split up into several different designs?
 
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