Truth is, that depends on what you want your printed tees for!
I here overview the four main textile printing methods (Screen Printing, DTG, Transfer & Sublimation) applied to tshirt printing. The aim of this post is just to provide some basic tips that may help you to decide which printing method should you better use in each case.
In order to provide you a fine 100% cotton tee that may last you years and years, in BLITZ & THUNDER we only use Serigraphy and DTG printing methods.
Serigraphy or Screen Printing is a textile printing method valid for all sorts of textiles (cotton, polyester, nylon,...), by which the different colours of the design are mechanically added on a the garment one after another by means of an independent matrix. In case of dark textiles, an extra white colour layer will always be added in order to have well defined colours on the tshirt. It is the most traditional textile printing method. The ink here penetrates in the textile fibres and hence the printed designs won't be washed out at all and have a very smooth touch (you hardly notice them when you're wearing the garment).
There are many videos around the internet about Serigraphy :
- Check out this video for a better insight into how Screen Printing works! Video from "I like to make stuff" channel (5:24 min.).
- Or you may prefer just a quick overview on the process in this other video (1:16 min.) I borrowed from LaughOnLaughOff channel.
Examples of our Serigraphy printed tshirts:
DTG or Direct To Garment is a textile printing method by which the design as a whole is digitally printed on the garment. You may print cotton, polyester as well as other textiles with DTG, but it works bast on 100% cotton garments. Unlike Screen Printing, you may here print designs with as many colours as you like, being even appropriate to use colour degradations, something that's virtually impossible in traditional Serigraphy as all the different shades of a given colour are indeed different colours themselves. It is generally a slower process than screen printing, being more appropiate for printing just a few garments (up to 50 units). The ink here also penetrates in the textile fibres, thus DTG printed designs won't be washed out at all and have a very smooth touch (you don't notice them when you're wearing the garment at all).
Check out this video comparing DTG and Screen Printing from Bella Canvas channel (5:03 min.)!
Our DTG printed tshirts:
This is the simplest textile printing method and it's only applicable for almost 100% Cotton garments. The design is here printed on a special paper with your own home inkjet printer and then stamped on the garment using heat and pressure (you may use a press machine or simply by ironing). You may here print designs with as many colours as you like, but unlike DTG and Serigraphy, it's only applicable for designs with a well defined shape.
Given that the printed design is here only stamped on the garment, it may take more or less time, but the design will eventually be washed out (perhaps the best transfer may last up to 15 machine washes; more if very carefully hand washed with cold water). These garments also have a somewhat tough touch and you do notice the printed area when you're wearing them. But, due to its inexpensive price, it may be your best choice if you just want to print some tshirts for an occasional event (such as your local fests, a stag party, etc.).
In this video Ovoke explains you how to create your own transfer printed t-shirts (3:26 min.).
This textile printing method is only applicable for light coloured polyester garments. The process is similar to that of transfer printing, only that here you use special inks as well as a special paper. Unlike transfer, the ink here does penetrate in the polyester fibres. Hence, sublimated designs won't be washed out and have a very smooth touch. In addition, Sublimation allows for Full Prints. It's only drawback from my viewpoint is that it's only applicable to light coloured polyester garments, being best on white ones, but this fact precisely makes it the best choice for sports clothing.
The following video explains you how to Sublimate your own tshirts (3:47 min.), borrowed from ILoveArtWok channel.
Full Prints are a bit more complicated; you may check out how they are done in this video from Texgraff (2:56 min.).
I hope you've found this info useful...
See You Around!