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Hey everybody, I'm new here.. I was surprised to find this forum, but glad I did.

I'm completely new to tshirt printing and all that, but I've been wanting to design my own shirts and things since I was just a little kid. I'm looking now to give it a shot, but.. here's where I need your advice and guidance.

I DON'T want to go with the standard heat press stuff, or whichever method produces the image in a "layer" on top of the fabric. I read that dye sublimation(?) would be perfect for what I'm thinking, but only works on synthetics - I'm stuck on 100% cotton.

So, I'm wondering.. it IS possible to dye or bleach a cotton shirt. So, is it possible to do so under more.. controlled circumstances? I'm wondering if it's possible to print your design on a shirt using dye. Would there be limitations as to what you could do? I imagine that bleeding would be a problem, but that would boil down to technique. I know that there are "dye markers" available as well, but if I wanted to run a few shirts off using a template or something that just wouldn't work.. and I think they are limited in colors.

Anyway, I'm basically looking for a way to put my designs on shirts by dying the fabric, rather than printing on top of it - and yes, I'm stuck on the cotton deal. I hope you guys can help me figure this one out! Thanks much,

Chance
 

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chance_b said:
So, I'm wondering.. it IS possible to dye or bleach a cotton shirt. So, is it possible to do so under more.. controlled circumstances? I'm wondering if it's possible to print your design on a shirt using dye.
Hi Chance, welcome to the forums. :)

I haven't heard much about using dye on a shirt (besides tie-dye), but I know that you can attain a "bleached" effect (white or light design on a dark shirt) using the discharge method of screen printing.

I am not a screen printer, so I don't know a lot about the process, but I am sure someone else will come along and give you a better answer.

See you around!
 

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chance_b said:
I read that dye sublimation(?) would be perfect for what I'm thinking, but only works on synthetics - I'm stuck on 100% cotton.
It would be, but as you said it doesn't work on natural fibres.

chance_b said:
So, I'm wondering.. it IS possible to dye or bleach a cotton shirt. So, is it possible to do so under more.. controlled circumstances?
Yup.

chance_b said:
I'm wondering if it's possible to print your design on a shirt using dye. Would there be limitations as to what you could do?
You can screenprint with dyes (I've only done it a couple of times, so I don't have a whole lot of experience with it, sorry). You use a print paste to stop bleeding (it also makes the consistency much more like "normal" ink), which needs to be washed out before the shirt is passed on to the customer.

You said you are wanting to design the shirts - are you wanting to print them yourself? If not, you just need to find a screenprinter who can do it (admittedly easier said than done) and talk to them about any limitations they have (I think colour matching is more difficult for example).
 
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