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4 Print Techniques You Should Know About

Frank Jackson, 02/05/2016,

If you’re thinking of offering apparel through an online store, of course you want to be aware of all your best options. Most importantly, you should learn the differences in printing techniques. If you are like the average person, when it comes to how clothing products are actually made, you have little experience and knowledge. Here are four techniques for you to study up on:

Screen Printing

Screen Printing

Screen Printing is one of the most popular and oldest techniques for printing on t-shirts because it provides long lasting prints. Screen printing is especially popular when you are printing up to 3 colors. Another thing to consider with screen printing is that it is most cost effective with bulk printing, due to costly initial setup. Screen printing is generally pretty versatile, as it works just as well on other apparel, such as hats, bags and jackets, as with t-shirts.

Many say that Direct to Garment printing is the better process for reproducing photos because the digital reproduction is usually more like the original photo than the labor-intensive process involved with screen printing.

DTG: Direct to Garment Printing

Digital Printing

Direct to garment explains itself - DTG techniques prints ink directly to tshirts, and this process allows production of full color images with complex designs with precision. The main feature of direct to garment printers is that they are less complicated than what you normally expect. Many people are surprised with the complicated images that render so accurately on something as soft as a tshirt or fleece hoodie. Here are some other advantages:

  • Small orders and one-offs print at a reasonable price.
  • Print images on direct to garment printers are highly accurate and detailed.
  • Unlike screen-printing, direct to garment printer shops do not have to charge by the color, so full-color printing is extremely affordable.
  • Direct to garment printer inks attach directly to fibers, with a superb hand that almost feels like part of the fabric.

Because of the challenges of printing on textiles, direct to garment printer inks can be expensive. For darker garments, an underbase of white ink is needed below the colors of the design. This base layer ensures that colors look the way you intended.

Heat Transfer

Heat Transfer Printing

Heat transfer is a process in which art work is printed with specialty ink on specialty paper and then transferred to a garment by applying heat with a heat press. Because of this process, full color images can be applied to garments. Next to screen printing, heat transfer is the oldest printing technique and had developed in different forms over time.

For detailed designs with multiple colors the design is transferred to the plastisol transfers instead of directly to the tshirt itself. The design is then heat pressed on to the tshirt later on and release paper is peeled away afterwards. The great part about this system is that you can print out a number of small designs on one sheet of paper and have them available when ever orders are made. This is called GANG PRINTING.

The disadvantage of this printing technique is that you will receive lower quality of prints and there are significant initial costs for obtaining heat press machine. It is also a time consuming process. Each item produced requires an average of three minutes to produce.

Sublimation Printing

Sublimation Printing

The newest and most popular technique is sublimation printing. Sublimation is one of the very few methods you can print full colored images onto hard surfaces. With sublimation, you can print on anything that is flat, white or light colored and is either polyester coated or made of polyester fabric. You can also print on mugs, shot glasses, etc if you use a mug press or a mug wrap with an oven.

Now that you’ve been introduced to different types of printing techniques it is up to you to choose which one you would like to use for your brand. Through Gooten, you’ll have each option available, so contact us today to see what technique would match up best with your list of products.

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