Which is the best printing method for apparel decoration?

Do you wish to get a basic idea about commonly used fabric printing methods? Different options yield contrasting results. If you choose to work with Vectors Artwork, our team can select the best option depending on the garment type, durability, budget, and other considerations. However, it’s always better to have a basic understanding of various options in production. So, here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of the commonly used methods.

  • Screen Printing

Screen printing involves the use of high-quality inks that result in true-to-life vibrant designs on garments. Printing firms, prefer using thicker inks instead of low-quality ones to ensure designs do not fade away. 

The printing procedure can be performed by hand as well as by automated machines. The method is cost-effective; with a gallon of screen-printing ink, you can print between 200 to 500 shirts. Factors like the mesh count, number of strokes, squeegee pressure, ink quality, and the size of design play a crucial role in the number of units printed with each gallon. 

If you want to print large batches of garments with a single artwork, screen printing is the best option. Artwork can be printed on various parts of the garment. 

The work area required for screen-printing needs to be large, dust-free, and dark. The method is not perfect if you plan to design garments at home, as there can be a lot of ink spillage. 

  • DTG (Direct-to-Garment)

As the name suggests, DTG printing involves the use of inkjet technology. High-quality photographic prints are printed directly on garments. It is best suited for designs that are considered too complicated due to pattern and colors. 

DTG machines are perfect for ensuring even the tiniest details get printed on garments. Professionals consider using this technique for printing up to five t-shirts. Blank t-shirts are loaded in the Direct-to-Garment printing machine, and that’s it! 

The unit works just like inkjet home or office printers. It drops ink (pretreatment liquid) directly on the fabric and gives a heat press. The process is most suited for cotton garments. 

The system does not need much time for set up; professionals can get t-shirts printed within 30 minutes. Devices are not significantly large and can be carried from one place to another quickly. However, they are expensive. 

  • Heat Transfer

The heat transfer (HT) method involves the use of solvent ink and heat-transfer paper. Designs get printed on heat-transfer paper. A heat press machine then transfers the design from the paper on the t-shirt. Several sheets of transfer material are placed on the garment to create a permanent layout. 

The technique works for printing on several types of fabrics and materials. Machines used for this method need minimum maintenance and do not create a mess while printing. 

Designs last for up to 40 washes, depending on the print size and the overall usage of the garments.  

Cut heat-transfer vinyl printing, plastisol transfers, and dye-sublimation printing are popularly used types of HT printing methods. 

The printing technique works on metal, wood, ceramic, polyester, cotton, and other materials. They appear vibrant, sharp, and the method is cost-effective for small or medium-sized orders. Small agencies can use this option to offer a wide variety of choices to consumers.

Need help in apparel decoration? Our team is always willing to offer assistance; feel free to contact Vectors Artwork, email us: art@vectorsartwork.com.