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Top 9 Printing Methods for Printing T-shirts

by Shopify API Posted in May 12, 2023

Have you ever wondered how printing and designing are done in t-shirts? In this generation, we now have many options for printing on t-shirts, thanks to modern technology. However, every printing method has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Whether you work for a marketing firm seeking customized polo shirts for your team's uniform, a corporate company developing branded items, or an influencer management firm, the process of customizing clothing is simpler than ever now. Therefore, here are the top methods of printing t-shirts. 

1. Plastisol Transfers

Also known as indirect screen printing, this is a great printing method. Because the results are rather good and have a very soft feel, plastisol heat transfers are a preferred choice for t-shirt printing. The method includes the use of high-quality heat transfer paper.

The design is screen printed on paper and then the design is transferred. With this approach, you can print one-off orders without spending a lot of money. The outcomes are on par with a top-notch screen-printed design. Additionally, it takes a lot less time than screen printing.

2. Screen Printing

Screen Printing also known as silk screen printing is one of the oldest methods that offers very good design replication. The methods include using a stencil and a mesh to hold your stencil. The mesh must undergo a pre-process before printing can begin. Getting a clear, identical-to-the-design area in the mesh is the objective here.

The mesh must then be covered completely with ink before being pressed with a squeegee to ensure even coverage. This procedure makes sure that your design is accurately reproduced on the t-shirt. You may finally appreciate your design after removing the screen and giving it time to dry.

One such T-shirt design software that guarantees high quality is Magneto. It offers quick customization with multiple features. From varied text styles, ready to use artwork, it has various functionalities and has a user-friendly UI. Also, you have total control over the tool, thanks to the backend admin panel.

3. Heat Press Printing

For smaller quantities of t-shirts, heat press printing is the best option. Be it any complex design, it can replicate easily. The method includes transfer paper. Once the design has been printed on paper, you can use pressure and heat to transfer it to the shirt.

You simply need to take off the extra dye and remove the transfer paper once this is finished. It is a reasonably easy procedure to carry out. It's fascinating to note that ceramics can also be decorated using this replication technique.

One such t-shirt design software tool is Woocommerce Designing Tool. It is a product designer tool that offers easy and quick customization. It is mobile responsive and offers multilingual support. It allows custom font upload and offers more than 10,000 customizable clipart. Overall, it is easy software to use. 

4. Vinyl Cutting

vinyl cutting for t shirt printing

Vinyl Cutting focuses on the cutting process. Be it small or big quantities it is mainly used for brands and logos. To start this method, you customize the desired design using a competent CAD(Computer-Aided-Design) cutter. Then you must employ the heat press technique in order to transfer it to the shirt.

You can experiment with various colors because you'll be cutting vinyl. They'll have a bright appearance on your shirt. Because the shirt loses elasticity once the design is placed, the technique is only utilized for minor designs. 

One such cutter for vinyl cutting is xTool M1. It is a 3-in-1 tool that includes laser cutting, laser engraving, and blade cutting. It is household-friendly and has a safe enclosed design. It offers powerful performance and is versatile. This means you'll have more possibilities for you to make customized items for every occasion.

xTool  M1 Laser Cutter

xTool M1: The Ultimate Gift-making Laser & Blade Cutting Machine


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5. Dye Sublimation

Dye Sublimation is used for light fabrics. For this method, you will first require a particular liquid dye type. Then you must apply the dye on the transfer paper first. You can sublimate material using heat and pressure once it has fully dried.

Because you're dying the cloth directly rather than just printing on top of it, this is distinct from screen printing. Because of this, you can see the colors and the design extremely clearly, but you cannot feel it with your hands. 

There is a great T-shirt design software PrestaShop. It offers a flawless and simple interface. From preloaded templates, font styles, varied artwork, mobile responsive, custom fonds upload to set design area, it has everything. 

6. DTG- Direct To Garment Technique

Do you love to make creative t-shirts? Direct-to garment technique is another best method. It is a new printing method with very good results. The best is that this method can be used at home. However, you need the necessary skills and knowledge. 

In this method, you enter the paper, and the printer prints the finished product after printing the ink on it. The same holds true with shirts. You will need a DTG printer and ink to use this technique. 

7. Discharge Printing

In the discharge printing process, Discharge inks are used to bleach the garment instead of painting a color on top of it, leaving the imprint on the fabric's surface. Discharge printing uses the opposite strategy from techniques. 

The method uses a piece of natural fabric, such as cotton, and produces a retro and distinctive aesthetic. Simply put, the natural fabric used for this is a 100% cotton t-shirt. This printing creates an appealing vintage appearance.

8. Belt Printing

Belt Printing is another best t-shirt printing method. In this method, the front and back of the t-shirt, or even both at once, can be printed using the very expensive belt screen printing equipment used for this printing. However, this method isn't used widely because of the cost of machinery.

9. Resist Dyeing

Resist Dyeing is among the oldest and first T-shirt printing techniques. Some sections of the fabric are penetrated by the paint, while others are not affected. In this method, the folded, twisted, or bandaged fabric is lowered into the dye solution when using the mechanical approach. 

Wax or paste might be used to process the material. The chemical method using dyes from two separate classes is one of the newest methods for printing T-shirts.

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