Ready with the design, your choice of colours, and the fabric material? Hold on, you may be overlooking something important! Before you create that T-shirt, you may want to know which printing method to use. Though the heat press and screen printing are the two most common and popular methods these days of printing, we will also describe other equally famous methods that can possibly be the better selection for you. Your choice of printing method is important if you want to keep your audience pleased and intrigued.
The truth is, consumers have become savvy; they know how to distinguish a quality piece of printed cloth from the rest. Hands down, when you design the right type of t-shirt, the wearers would be happy to put them on. If you have absolutely no prior experience with apparel printing, you need to test these different methods to know what is appealing to them. We have seen consumers complain about the t-shirts they received because it doesn’t match their taste and preferences – yes, even if the t-shirts are free, distributed by their company. It can happen to you and that’s why you, too, need to be savvy in designing and selecting things for your t-shirts. Without further ado, here are the 6 different printing methods:
Heat Press Printing
1. Screen Printing
This is among the most if not the most popular printing method. It really stands out from the rest due to the ink’s vibrancy. Another name for this design is silkscreen printing. If you’d like to get into the technical part, this method is practically a stencilling method. The ink will be printed through stencils that are supported by a mesh. There will be a waterproof material blocking the negative space and that is the only permeable part for the dye. The end result is undoubtedly high-quality. What you give, is exactly what you will see on the t-shirt. Keep in mind that companies normally mass-produce screen printed tees, so you do not want to miss this opportunity to order a large batch. All in all, it is suited for bold and graphic designs, but not complex multi-coloured ones.
2. Direct-To-Garment (DTG)
Like the screen printing mode, DTG is also another highly popular printing method among end-users. The process itself is as simple as its own name! DTG utilises a garment printer that prints ink directly onto the t-shirts which looks almost similar to printing on paper. You will input your design into the computer that will identify and transfer it onto the fabric. As if the process could not resemble paper printing enough, DTG also has small inkjet nozzles in which the ink is sprayed through. The whole printing is guided by the computer. Contrary to the previous method, DTG is great for printing super-complex styles. However, DTG print isn’t as sturdy as the other methods so the ink might fade within years, especially if you do not take care of the garment properly. The best thing about this method is that it is completely beginner-friendly. If you have a simple image on your phone that you would like to place on your garment, DTG will make the end result come out looking well and professional.
3. Dye Sublimation
Also known as the all-over sublimation printing, this particular method uses heat to transfer the ink to the fabric. Still, do not confuse it with heat press printing! Dye sublimation involves the printing of ink that covers the whole surface of the fabric. Because of that, dye sublimation works well on light-weight shirts or materials. Dye sublimation is ideal for printing polyester or polyester-blend materials. They can still work on cotton materials, but if you are going for a different type of material, you would want to consider this method. Unlike other methods, a fabric will only take the form of a specific garment only after it has been printed on. So typically in mass production, the process goes by printing first and cutting into a t-shirt second. Regardless of how it all sounds, the design would appear vibrant.
4. Heat Press Printing
This is one of the more economical and time-saving options for t-shirt printing! This method involves printing the design on a special paper (often called transfer paper of sublimation paper) before it is transferred onto a garment. To some extent, this method showcases a similar approach like the dye sublimation so it is easy to get the two confused, but we promise you there is a difference. Here is where it differs. With heat press printing, you print on a finished product (i.e. a t-shirt) rather than on a piece of material which will be shaped later on to form the said product. To put it simply, heat press printing is pretty much taking your garment and your design and sticking them together through the heat press machine. If you are producing complex designs with various elements like shadows and gradient colours, then heat and press method is ideal for you.
No, this is not the traditional (and manual) way of embroidering design onto the cloth. Seriously, imagine how long it would take to complete an order of 100 pieces. Thankfully, technology has come far. We now have an embroidery machine that operates by, of course, actually stitching threads on fabric. Hand embroidery may create more personal outcomes, but there is really no difference in terms of quality and durability. If anything, embroidery printing would create results with maximum accuracy. With the machine, the whole process takes a much shorter time to complete a huge batch of garments. The process begins with uploading your design onto the machine. The machine will try to interpret your design to make sure it will be able to re-create it in the form of a physical thread design. You may have to make some amendments depending on your design, which is the only downside to opting for this method. Once your design has been digitised, the machine will take care of the rest of the process for you. You will get your finished t-shirts in no time!
Before choosing the best method to print your t-shirt, you need to understand your audience’s daily activities first. If you do not have a specific use for the t-shirts you are giving away, take into account where it would be worn on a daily basis. Take a survey and know which methods they would respond best in. Even better, get fabric samples from the printing companies you are dealing with. By knowing which printing method suits your t-shirt best, your singapore custom t shirt printing experience is made ten times better and easier!