Custom Graphic T-shirts 2.0 - The Modern Technique
Graphic tees are some of the most favorite things to wear for people of every age in pretty much every season. They are simply the easiest piece of clothing your wardrobe can always keep. Throw it on with a chic denim jacket or an upper for a quick coffee run or laze around in one while you’re on your summer break.
Now, what else is more important to know – how this everybody’s favorite piece of clothing comes to us?
Custom graphic t-shirts are the essence of your wardrobe. They are a quick fix to spice up a plain, ordinary t-shirt. Cute, adorable, and fun t-shirt designs make these garments even more stylish than before. To understand better, what you are wearing and what may be not the best thing for the price you are paying, you need to have some knowledge about t-shirt printing methods/techniques.
Below, you’ll discover all the t-shirt printing methods available today. For each of the techniques below, we'll discuss their unique benefits as well as drawbacks.
Not every type of printing is made for every kind of fabric. Some printing techniques are exclusive for specific fabrics, and at the same time, a certain printing method might be best suited for a job depending on the production volume. Moreover, the printing method you choose will also be influenced by the number of colors and patterns in the design you are planning to print on your shirt.
With so many different techniques available, it gets difficult to pick the best one. Therefore, to help you with the struggle, we have rounded up a list of all printing methods available today.
Direct-to-Garment (DTG) Printing
DTG (Direct-to-Garment) printing is a method where a very high-quality, full-color, and photographic print is directly printed onto custom graphic t-shirts. This technique uses an inkjet technology that is best suited for the designs or artwork considered too complex for any other printing technique. DTG printing machines have massive color mixing potential, which allows them to print even the tiniest details finely.
If you are looking to print a smaller quantity, say like 1-5 t-shirts, DTG Printing is the best option to consider since it is as easy as loading an A4 paper in a photocopier. You just have to insert a blank shirt into the DTG Printing machine and let it do the magic.
There’s hardly anyone who hasn’t heard of Screen-Printing. It is the most well-known and best custom t-shirt printing method. Humans have been using screen-printing since way before you and I were born. Currently, screen-printing is done with two techniques; by machines and by hand. Let’s find out why screen-printing is so famous.
The real magic in screen-printing happens because of the inks used in it. Screen printing inks are comparatively thicker than usual inks used in the other t-shirt printing methods. Normal inks, unlike screen-printing inks last longer and produce true-to-life vibrant colors. So, make sure to always use high-quality inks, as the overall quality of your graphic tees depend upon them. Low-quality inks tend to quickly fade away and also feel weird.
Screen-printing is the best technique for high-volume orders. Depending on how big the design is, how much squeegee pressure is applied, the ink quality, the mesh count, and the number of strokes, you can print roughly from 200-500 t-shirts with one gallon of screen-printing ink. This is the best cost-efficient method. Using the above mentioned variables, you can consider if this technique is perfect and cost-effective for you.
Heat Transfer Printing
Heat Transfer Printing, as the name implies, involves laying sheets of transfer material on top of fabric which are then heat-pressed to permanently apply best custom t-shirts design to garments.
In this method, the desired print is first digitally crafted on special heat transfer paper using a solvent ink. This type of ink allows the design to be traced onto the t-shirt as it is treated in a heat pressing machine.
The perk with heat transfer printing is that it is workable on a number of different materials and fabrics. This is an almost no mess and highly low-maintenance technique compared to other techniques for printing t-shirts.
There are a number of different heat transfer printing techniques that may be a bit confusing for you. Here’s a breakdown:
CAD-Cut Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing
The CAD (Computer Aided Design)-Cut printing is a method of heat transferring designs onto t-shirts. This technique is most commonly used for printing the numbers, names, and logos onto CAD-Cut vinyl material and then pressing them on sports shirts or jerseys using heat.
CAD-Cut vinyl is a technique ideal if you want to print 1-3 colors of smaller quantities, for example, a soccer team’s order.
Dye-sublimation printing is another most popular variation of heat transfer printing. It works by digitally printing graphics and then using heat to transfer the dye onto custom graphic t-shirts.
Unlike the other heat transfer printing techniques, dye-sublimation printing works greatly with dye-based ink that turns into gas upon heating. Heat, pressure, and time make dye-based inks transform from a solid to a gaseous state and then go back to solid again. This is legit chemistry doing its wonders as the process is quite unequaled because the gas joins the polyester, and becomes a part of the material and not a top layer.
Printing Plastisol Transfers
This process is very similar to screen-printing except that the artwork is first ink-jet printed on plastisol transfer paper, and then the paper is heat pressed onto the shirt.
Moreover, the. plastisol method allows t-shirtpreneurs to outsource a part of their business where they can send their designs to other companies and have them printed on the top-quality plastisol transfer paper you want and then have them shipped back to you. You can then apply these designs on t-shirts yourself using a heat press.