Various Printing Methods Used in T-shirt Printing

tshirt_printing_guide

Provides information on various t-shirt printing methods.

Printed t-shirt is favorite clothing among the youngsters. They often use their clothing to portray their personality and style. Printed t-shirts with different designs and patterns and vibrant colors helps them just with that. With changing time and fashion, these t-shirts have also seen a lot of changes. There have been many innovations and technological advances in t-shirt printing that has made this clothing even more modern and popular among people of all age groups.

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Screen Printing

There are many printing methods that are Screen-printing is the most common form of decoration on fabric that is widely used for commercial purpose. In this method of printing, a design is separated into individual colours and printed on the fabric by layering. A mesh screens which limits the areas where ink is deposited is used to apply water based inks on t-shirts. Process printing or simulated process in which only white, black, red, green, blue, and gold ink are used, is an effective method to achieve a wider colour spectrum with a limited number of colours.

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Inks

Where the fabric of t-shirt is of light colour process printing technique is best suited.Only a few companies use water-based inks on their printed t-shirts these days. The majority ofcompanies providing the customised t-shirt service prefer to use plastisol, another type of colour, because it does not require colour adjustment at the art level to print on varying colours.

T-Shirt Printing

Embroidery

There are many other methods of t shirt printing such as airbrush, embroidery, applique, impressing or embossing, heat transfers, or dye-sublimation transfers. Laser printers are also used, first to print on plain paper using a special toner which contains sublimation dyes and then permanently heat-transferring it on t-shirts.

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Dye Sublimation

To print full colour designs on light coloured t-shirts, the dye sublimation is method is best. However this method is a bit more expensive than the others, it has no feel to the design and is a little difficult to master than inkjet heat transfers. Dye sublimation cannot be used for most of the natural fabric and is mostly suitable for fabrics like polyester.

Photo: Sublime Printing Company

Computerized Printing

Using computerized printing methods for printed t-shirts is best for small orders as this method is suitable to print complex designs and multi colours. Different printed t-shirts can be easily customized using this method. Printing method using vinyl cutters is yet another technique to print customised t-shirts in small quantity. In this method a machine is used to cut out designs on special solid colour vinyl sheets. Then heat is used to stick cut vinyl onto a paper and later heat pressed on the fabric. This type of print is of high quality, durable and can be used easily to customize different t-shirts which is great for small orders.

Photo: Melco Embroidery & Printing Technology

Another simple method of printing which is most commonly used at homes is direct printing on the fabric. In this method different types of inks are directly applied onto the cloth by hand to get the desired results. This method reduces various steps included in other printing methods. The design patterns in direct printing does not have heavy feel like screen printing. However it is a little difficult to cover a large area of the cloth in this method and cloth itself is the brightest part of the design.

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