8 Print Process That Makes Your T-shirt Pop

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Do you often wonder about the processes that go behind the journey of a plain t-shirt to one printed with a  design in a riot of colors and sometimes with words that speak individually to you? Here are the best of the many methods we used to bring these beautiful t-shirts to life.

In this article, we have taken time to educate our resellers and customers on the best print processes and the work we put in to make sure you get the best t-shirt quality. Below are the best print processes we use in printing those amazing t-shirts that you love. 

1. Screen Printing

Screen printing is the most popular and widely used printing process for beautiful t-shirts, especially when you are printing in bulk.  It involves using screens to apply ink to the t-shirts. The resulting artwork is of very high quality and can last a long time. It is very cost-effective as well when used effectively. In this process, ink is applied to the t-shirt directly through mesh screens.

Screening Printing Process goes like this – A screen made of a finely woven fabric called mesh is stretched over a wooden or aluminum frame. This Mesh Screen is pressed up against cloth to place paint onto t-shirts one color per screen.

The good thing about screen printing is that it is inexpensive compared to the other methods. But as each color requires a separate screen, when you have a design with quantities of colors in it, it can turn out to be expensive. For screen printing to be cost-effective you need to print many t-shirts at once with the same design. You have to keep the number of ink colors and locations of the design to a minimum.

If the design you have has only one or two colors you can print in small numbers and it will still be economical.  If you have a design with up to 3 colors screen printing beats any other method of printing be it cost wise or long-lasting quality or look of the colors.

Screen printing
Screen printing

2. Heat Transfer

Heat transfers are almost as popular as screen printing, especially for designs with multi colors and complex details. In this method, a special heat transfer paper (made of special transferable vinyl) on which the chosen design is printed using a specialized printer. This is used to transfer the design onto the t-shirt. This is the way you get a beautiful custom designed graphic t-shirt.

The process goes like this.  We design, you approve, then we Print this image using the specialized printer on your special heat transfer paper designed for use with the printer. Place the transfer paper on the t-shirt design side down and apply heat with a hot iron . The amount of pressure and heat applied  will help to transfer the design on to your t-shirt.

You need a good heat press machine for this. The advantage of this method is that you can print one off orders without incurring much cost. The results are comparable to a high-quality screen printed design. The time required is also very less compared to screen printing.

Heat Transfer
Heat Transfer

3. Sublimation printing

In this process, dye turns into vapor and is absorbed into the polyester fabric of the t-shirt. This is a very durable printing method for the 100% polyester t-shirts and the result looks similar to DTG, with a great softer feel.

Usually, all over designs are used for sublimation printing. The advantage is that you can print even small quantities. As said it is best for full-color designs on white or light colored t-shirts.

 Sublimation printing
Sublimation printed hoody

4. DTG (Direct to garment printing)

This is the best method of t-shirt printing if you are printing colorful designs for small quantities like say about 5 t-shirts or less than that. For Print on demand (printing one off t-shirts or small quantities) and for printing photos onto your t-shirt straight from the computer this method is a quality bet. You need DTG machines to do this printing. It is mainly used for cotton blend t-shirts.

The DTG printer prints directly onto the t-shirt with a great degree of precision and accuracy of colors. 

You can use unlimited colors in this printing, even 100+ colors. You can design your own prints and patterns, make your own customization with even your name on it or photographs. The color looks more vivid with this printing than with the screen printing, with a softer hand. A disadvantage is that it is not as durable as screen printing and may fade after many washes.

DTG Printing process

5. Flex and Flock

In this process cutouts of vinyl are applied on the t-shirt with heat. The design is cut from the solid colored vinyl sheets, with the help of a machine. Vinyl printing is normally a one color process and it is a comparatively cost-effective method other than the cost of specialized Cutters. Vinyl with different types of prints and patterns are available.

Heat transfers look sharp and bright because unlike screen printing, transfers heat on top of the garment. Thus, the base colour of the garment does not affect the design. Transfers work best with poly cotton and cotton t-shirts as these fabrics allow us to set the heat press at a high temperature resulting in durable, long lasting quality. This is a very durable and cost-effective process.

Flock and Flex
Flex and Flock Printed T shirt

6. Sequins

All that glitters is not gold but it might just sparkle!

Sequins are a small piece of a shiny ornamental disc made from plastic or colored metal foil, often sewn on cloth or used to decorate high-end apparel like bridals and evening wear to enhance value and show.

Sequins are also used in t-shirts, curtains, upholstery, home furnishings, cushions, pillowcases, bedspreads, table covers etc. Commonly they are used for printing and embroidery mix and match to give a more expensive look.

Sequins may be stitched flat to the fabric, so that they do not move, and are less likely to fall off; or they may be stitched at only one point, so that they dangle and move easily, to catch more light.

All of our glitter choices require a specialized quote from one of our customer care specialists. So if you’re ready to add glamour, twinkle, glitz, and increase the perceived value of your personalized apparel, call us today.

 Sequin t shirt
Sequin designed t shirt

7. Rhinestones

Rhinestones take an average t-shirt and equip them with the elegance of precious stones. They not only make clothes look spectacular, but can increase the value of the item tremendously. 

The key to a fabulous rhinestone product—is in distinctive designs.  With a virtually unlimited variety of styles, patterns and colors, choosing the right rhinestone transfer is an exciting challenge for us.

We take our time to arrange the stones according to the design then heat press to come out peng and shiny like you like it.

Rhinestones printed tee

8. Embroidery

Embroidery refers to clothing that has a pattern or logo stitched into its fabric. It is often confused for printing; printing is when a design or logo is printed directly onto the garment. Embroidery is best for creating logos on a thicker garment, such as polo shirts or jumpers. Embroidery on garments are long lasting and durable. 

Even though printing allows for more complicated designs when compared to embroidery, embroidery is well preferred for the longevity of the design and a good number of businesses prefer embroidery.

T Shirt embroidery is ideal for promotional events. They are a great way to help people identify your cause or organisation. Embroidered t-shirt printing is popular with businesses.

Embroidery polo tees
Embroidery popo tees

Wrap Up

The printing industry keeps evolving and we are never left out of the latest trends that enable us to serve you better. 

“At The Print Haven, we offer a range of the most popular fonts and designs requested by industries and individuals around the world. Obtain that iconic t-shirt look with your best design stamped on it. Our process is adaptable to the vision of each customer.”

Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)

For quality t-shirts, minimum order quantity(MOQ) depends greatly on the print process and turnaround time. At the moment, we print as little as a single unit and turn around time can be as fast as 24 hours for small quantities and express service.

Found an item on the website that you would like personalized? Check our shop page to make your orders immediately. Call us on +234 817 065 0618 for a free quote. Our offices are open every working day 8am-5pm.

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