T-Shirt Printing Methods

Wearing a t-shirt with an impressive design is really cool. As we can observe, there are lots of different designs out there... from a simple statement shirt to couple shirts, down to extra-large skull designs. So you would ask how are they get printed?

As far as we know, there are 3 different methods: screen printing, heat press and direct to garments (DTG). Here at PrintBit we use 2 different types of t-shirt printing methods. We can print using Heat Press and Screen Printing machines. We still don't have a Direct to Garments Machine (DTG) as of now.

Here's a brief definition of each method:

1. Screen Printing / Silk Screen Printing
Screen printing is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil. The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink or other printable materials which can be pressed through the mesh as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate. A fill blade or squeegee is moved across the screen stencil, forcing or pumping ink into the mesh openings for transfer by capillary action during the squeegee stroke. Basically, it is the process of using a stencil to apply ink onto another material.

Screen printing is also a stencil method of print making in which a design is imposed on a screen of polyester or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance. Ink is forced into the mesh openings by the fill blade or squeegee and onto the printing surface during the squeegee stroke. It is also known as silkscreen, serigraphy, and serigraph printing. A number of screens can be used to produce a multicolored image.

2. Heat Press Printing
Heat press printing is a technique that uses a machine engineered to imprint a design or graphic using a transfer paper. The design is printed on a transfer paper using an ordinary desktop printer with pigment inks. Heat and pressure are applied for a preset period of time. The advantage of this method is that the number of colors is unlimited. You can print anything from a photo down to images with gradients and shadings. Unlike the screen printing method wherein the number of colors are limited.

3. Direct to Garment Printing (DTG)
This method uses a DTG printer. The printer prints directly to the t-shirt. This allows you to print in full colors including white ink. This printer is just like your desktop printer. Instead of feeding bond papers, you feed t-shirts. As of now, we are not yet offering this method to our customers.

So what method is the best? It depends on many factors like the number of t-shirts to be printed, the complexity of the design, the lead time and etc... There are advantages and disadvantages on each method. If you need more information, you can do some research on google.com or you can send me an email at roy@printbit.com. Thank you for reading! Have a good one! ;)