Printing Methods

Screen Printing (Digital printing on large transfer paper)

Screen printing uses screens and ink to transfer an image onto a t-shirt or item.

The screen is cut to create a stencil for the design. The ink is then spread over the screen with a squeegee, passing through the “stencil” to the t-shirt underneath. One-color may only be used for each screen, so for a design with multiple colors you will need multiple screens.

This process can be more time-consuming for designs that have many colors, however, screen-printed art tends to last much longer than heat-pressed art. It also requires more chemicals and equipment for it to work.

Pros

  • Designs are more durable & longer-lasting than Heat-Press Printing/Dye Sublimation
  • More cost effective when printing in large quantities
  • Results in a softer feel on fabrics
  • Allows for more vibrant colors, even on dark-colored fabrics

Cons

  • Limited to simple designs with few colors
  • The process can be messy and time-consuming
  • Require higher minimum order quantity (not suitable for small orders)
  • Not ideal for photo replication

Heat-Press (Heat Transfer Printing)

Heat-Press Printing (also known as heat-transfer printing, or thermal printing) uses heat and pressure to apply custom designs to garments and other items.

The custom designs and images are transferred from heat-applied materials to garments when heat and pressure are applied

There are 2 types of Heat Transfer Printing, Vinyl Heat Transfer Printing, and Digital Heat Transfer Printing

Vinyl Heat Transfer Printing (Material-Based transfer)

This heat transfer method relies on the use of films or physical transfer material with heat-activated adhesive backing such as iron-on vinyl (heat transfer vinyl) to transfer custom designs onto garments

Digital Heat Transfer Printing (Ink-Based Transfer)

Digital heat transfer printing also makes use of heat but without the adhesive-backed material. Instead, an inkjet printer or laser printer is used to print the custom designs onto a special heat transfer paper with garments ink, so that the heat presses onto the garments to transfer the custom designs onto the fabric.

Pros

  • Can be printed on all types of fabrics and colors (unlike screen printing)
  • Lower investment cost upfront (suitable for lower quantity orders)
  • Faster delivery and printing process (due to smaller batch orders)

Cons

  • Bigger designs have a heavier hand feel (artwork can be felt by hand)
  • Not ideal for large order quantities

Dye Sublimation (Digital Sublimation)

Dye sublimation is a digital printing technology that uses heat transfer to apply an image or design to the intended substrate. The image and designs are printed on a large transfer paper and applied to 100% polyester white shirts via heat press

Dye Sublimation printing can be described as a two-step process

Step One

  • Custom designs are created from the computer and printed on the special transfer paper using sublimation/inkjet printer using inks

Step Two

  • Then the transfer paper containing the design is placed on the item that is decorated, and heat pressed using a heat-press machine

Pro

  • Images on fabric won’t fade or crack after multiple washes
  • Long-lasting durability and feel
  • No feel to ink (design is not layered, unlike heat-transfer printing)

Con

  • Limited to only Polyester fabrics
  • Limited to the fabric’s color
  • Expensive to set up and print

Embroidery

Embroidery is basically sewing on garments. It is a method used for decorating fabrics with a needle and thread.

Heavy materials and fabrics such as fleece and heavy cotton are most suited for embroidery.

Pro

  • Highest durability and longest-lasting (as it is stitched straight into the fabric)
  • Sustained and maintains colors throughout the lifetime of the garment wear
  • Higher perceived quality (professional and smart look)

Cons

  • The design of the embroidery might distort the shape of the garment
  • Small details are not easily recognized when embroidered
  • Expensive cost to set up

In Conclusion

The choice of printing method depends entirely on your specific needs. All of our printing equipment are free to use by our agents! Still not sure about which printing method to choose from? Contact us now and our customer representative will make sure all your questions and requirements are fulfilled!

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