Now is the time to start exploring your options for T-shirt printing if selling them is your dream! We think you’re ready to LEGIT create your clothing line.
Though, with all of the T-shirt printing options available, it can be confusing trying to decide on the right one. How do you know which way is best?
We’re here for you and will answer any questions you have!
After reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of print-on-demand services and how to successfully navigate the world of apparel production for startups and small businesses.
We’ll give you an overview of how to print custom apparel, as well as some useful tips on what to do (and not to do) when making your own T-shirts.
Not only will we show you which production method is most profitable for entrepreneurs just starting out with an online clothing brand, but we’ll explain why this is the case.
Commit to your cause and start seeing results with the tools we provide here.
But first, you need to know which is better for T-shirt printing – direct-to-garment or screen printing? Dye sublimation or heat press? Learn more by reading on!
Screen Printing For T-Shirt Printing
Screen printing is a method of taking any stenciled design and copying it onto a flat surface.
The most common materials used are paper and fabric, but you can also screen print images onto other surfaces like wood, glass, plastic, and metal. All you need is a mesh screen, ink, plus either a squeegee or straight blade.
Advantages of screen printing
By many professionals, Screen Printing is considered the printing process with the highest quality.
It’s also commonly known as one of the most cost-effective options for individuals who want to print their own clothing designs. This process can be used on nearly all types of fabric.
Screen printing is a method of printing that uses inks and materials, making your design long-lasting.
Plus, screen printing is one of the most efficient ways to print large quantities of a single design. So, if you’re looking to produce more items, you could easily print out about 25 pieces with one design.
Disadvantages of screen printing
If you’re looking for a cheaper t-shirt printing option, screen printing might not be the best way to go. Factors like how many prints you want and the design can play into that.
Keep in mind that if you want small batches or varied designs, it’ll require more colors—and a bigger price tag.
Overall feedback on screen printing
Screen printing is only advised if your company is already high-volume and therefore filling a lot of t-shirt printing orders.
If you’re new or have limited funds, other methods may be more practical t-shirt printing costs can quickly add up, so it’s important to pick the most efficient method from the start.
Direct-to-Garment Printing (DTG)
Direct-to-garment printing, more commonly known as DTG printing, is a process that prints design directly onto clothing.
To do this type of printing, you need to have a DTG printer, which comes with special ink specifically for this method.
The ink becomes a permanent part of the clothing fabric when fused using this method, as opposed to other methods where the print easily cracks or peels.
Advantages of direct-to-garment
The direct-to-garment printing process offers several benefits over other methods. In some cases, it can be faster and more affordable.
Additionally, detailed designs tend to pop more using this DTG process, and it’s much easier to add different colors to highlight the incredible detail.
With direct-to-garment (DTG) printing, you don’t need to maintain inventory because you can print what customers order on demand. This also eliminates the storage space needed for backstock items. DTG printing is ideal for print-on-demand services.
Disadvantages of direct-to-garment
Large-scale T-shirt printing using Direct-to-Garment can be time-consuming and costly, so this method should only be used for very specific projects that require a lot of detail.
Excessive costs, production difficulties, and compatibility issues with non-cotton fabrics make this process less viable. Furthermore, the process is quite time-consuming. All of these caveats could result in a shortened shelf life for the product.
The pros outweigh the cons with DTG
Overall, there are a plethora of benefits to direct-to-garment T-shirt printing methods that usually go unnoticed.
Not only is it more profitable than other methods, but it’s perfect for entrepreneurs who want to minimize risk by testing new designs using an eco-friendly DTG process.
Dye sublimation is an innovative way to transfer pictures onto surfaces using heat instead of ink. This technology has become widely used for garments, signage, and banners.
To print using the dye sublimation method, you must complete two steps. First, use a sublimation printer and ink to print graphics onto transfer paper. Then apply heat to transform the graphics into gas, which will bond to the fabric.
Advantages of dye sublimation
Dye sublimation printing is an excellent way to add multiple colors to your shirts. This type of T-shirt printing will also make your design last much longer through washes than other methods.
Disadvantages of dye sublimation
Although it is a slower process, dye sublimation printing fabrics do have benefits that outweigh the cons. The process might require additional labor, which can subsequently raise prices, but it overall yields a better product.
Another downside is that production tends to be more inefficient with older printers. Once in a while, the fabric will get creased or wrinkled during processing, which then ruins both the material and the transfer print.
However, this problem has been solved in newer printer models by having the paper and fabric inline; as one piece is being drawn into the rollers, another one can already continue t-shirt printing.
Overall opinion of dye sublimation
People have different opinions on dye sublimation, but it’s the best option if you want to print a design onto a large piece of clothing or fabric.
Heat Press For T-Shirt Printing
A heat press is a machine that uses pressure and heat to print onto a surface, usually fabric. It transfers the desired image from its source to the substrate in a specific amount of time.
Ideal for If you’re looking to print patterns onto coffee mugs, hats, notebooks, and other objects, then you’ll want a heat press that’s designed specifically for those surfaces.
When deciding between a manual or automatic heat press, go with the latter if you’re expecting high-volume orders.
Advantages of using the heat press method
Heat press printing is an excellent choice for those who want to print many unique designs quickly and affordably.
The process is straightforward, and the necessary equipment is easy to come by, making heat press printing a great option for anyone interested in trying it out at home.
With a heat press, you can apply any design to fabric or clothing, whether it’s more colors or sequins.
Disadvantages of using the heat press method
The heat press printing method is unfortunately more expensive and slower than other methods, making it less popular amongst businesses.
This method also doesn’t work well with heat-sensitive fabrics. As a result, there are limited design options to choose from if you go this route, and profitability potential isn’t as high.
Overall review of using a heat press
If you like being in control and enjoy a hands-on approach, then buying a heat press is perfect for your t-shirt printing needs. Although, investing in equipment can be risky if you’re not able to make up the expenses through your sales.
The bottom line is that the T-shirt printing method you select—including direct-to-garment (DTG), screen printing, or any other option—largely depends on the types of shirts you plan to sell.
Often, DTG produces better results for front-and-back designs, while sublimation typically works best for all-over prints. That said, screen printing is always a viable choice if you intend to print larger quantities.