Let’s dissect two most popular shirt printing methods to kick start your own t-shirt line.
The design is transferred onto a fine mesh screen to create a stencil. As the fill blade or squeegee is pulled, ink is pushed through the stenciled mesh and onto the fabric. One color is applied at a time. Each new layer requires a new screen and stencil. It's best for simple designs, one-color, and for printing same design on a volume of shirts.
• Shirt fabric
Anything can be screen printed. It all lies with choosing the right ink for the type of fabric to be printed on.
- brighter colors (thicker ink)
- cost effective for large batches
- versatile design placement
- volume discounts
- limited colors
- not cost effective for multiple colors
- can only print simple designs
- large upfront investment
- one design per batch
- not economic for small quantities
DTG (Direct to Garment)
A specialized printer directly applies ink onto the shirt with inkjet technology. Think of it as your typical printer, but instead of using paper, fabrics are used. Specialty inks are absorbed by the fibers of the garment. It handles detailed designs with a wide color range.
• Shirt fabric
DTG works best on high-quality 100% cotton tees. Final output varies depending on the type of fabric used.
- extensive color options
- maximum detail in design
- suitable for small batches
- minimal upfront investment
- easily customized design
- not cost effective for extremely large batches
- no volume discounts
- limited design placement
- limited fabric option