Different T-Shirt Printing Methods

There are different t-shirt printing methods and all of them have some positive as well as negative drawbacks.

Whether you are looking to enter into the t-shirt printing industry or up-scaling your business, you need to select a printing technique that can help your business flourish. Today a lot of printing options are available at your disposal and depending on your business you can select one that suits your business.

T-Shirt Printing Methods with their Pros & Cons

All of these techniques will offer some unique advantage of their own, so before making the final choice make sure to check various involved elements in each method. Now let’s have a look at some of the most modern printing technique.

Check out this article about Best t-shirt Printer

Screen printing method:

By far it is one of the most popular and preferred T-shirt printing methods in the industry today. If your T-shirt has a printed graphic design which is soft, smooth and vibrant after long usage, the chances are that it might be screen printed. The above signifies that it can serve most of your printing needs.

The screen printing requires you to make a stencil; it’s the template which is held in the place by a screen made up of nylon mesh. This screen is strategically placed over the T-shirt and ink is flooded over the screen. A squeegee is used to press and ensure that ink is spread evenly. As a result, a layer of ink is passed over the fabric according to the design. The excess screen is wiped out and the screen in carefully taken off, now all you need to do is to dry the fabric, and your custom printed t-shirt is ready. If the design is complex screens are placed over the fabric in perfect alignment to generate the final layout.

Considering this printing option for your business would be great if you would be working on a large project where you need to print a lot of copies of the same design. For smaller quantities, this may not be the ideal choice and wouldn’t be cost-effective. Also, if you want to stag T-shirt, then it would require a different design for different T-shirt and will consume a lot of time.

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  • Similar quality can be maintained for bulk order
  • The procedure is simple and versatile
  • If same design is to be used it’s the best option
  • Can print multiple colors if needed
  • It’s much cost efficient when large quantities are involved
  • Provides softer finish


  • Expensive when just a few items are printed
  • Not ideal for sophisticated design
  • Takes more time to learn, sometimes it gets messy in the beginning
  • Not possible to use when every time the unique design is required

 Direct To Garment Technique:

It is one of the latest technique employed in the printing industry, it was developed in the 90s but became commercially available in 2005 and since it has changed the way of printing overall. A involves printing directly on the garment by a dedicated printer. In this technique, the ink is directly diffused into the fabric. As a result, you do not feel anything when you touch it.

This method is popular as it allows images and artworks to be directly printed on the fabric. Excellent quality, quick turnaround time and affordable printing cost are some of the highlights of this technique. This method is ideal if you are going for unique and custom-made design each time. The fact that the DTG printer is very much expensive and working with darker shades is quite tough is to be kept in mind while selecting this process.

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  • Provides you the option full-color range printing
  • Better for the one-off design
  • Much more cost effective per item, lower cost per item
  • High-quality print with a soft and professional finish
  • Less time consuming and good for beginners


  • Not ideal for mass production
  • Requires a whole lot of working space
  • High initial cost, as requires expensive equipment

 Transfer Printing method:

Currently, it is the one method which is growing at an exponential rate among the vendors who are looking to start small or medium. This method offers a variety of edge over others in many different ways. Primarily it’s inexpensive to start with as compared to above methods, and secondly, it is ideal for unique and one-off kind of thing. Besides the above reasons this approach gives you the opportunity to print on various other materials depending upon requirement if you use best quality heat press.

Here first the design or image is printed on a transfer paper, then it is transferred to the desired fabric permanently. The design is transferred by using a heat press under suitable pressure and temperature conditions. The print quality is excellent and very much economic when considering a single piece at a time.

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  • Provides you the option full-color range printing
  • Ideal for smaller and custom order
  • Better for the one-off design
  • Much more cost effective per item
  • High-quality print with a soft and professional finish
  • Simple process and suitable for beginners


  • Not ideal for mass production
  • Works better on light colored t-shirts
  • Cannot be used on fabrics that are heat sensitive

Sublimation t-shirt Printing method:

If you require print all over the T-shirt, then sublimation printing is the method you should go for. The sublimation prints are intense & vibrant in color and can last as long as fabric. This printing method is used when oversize printing is required. Also, this method can be utilized get the repeated pattern or galaxy prints. The print quality is amazing, and you cannot differentiate between the T-shirt and the image. Overall it gives a more professional and much clearer print.

The sublimation printing process is tedious and requires dedicated printers, special inks, sublimation papers and compatible blanks. When the sublimation ink is heated, it turns into gas from solid and embeds itself onto anything with a polyester coating. The shortcoming is that you always have to print a polyester T-shirt only.


  • Intense and vibrant color printing
  • Better for a one-off design
  • High-quality print with a professional finish


  • Not ideal for mass production
  • Works only with the polyester t-shirt
  • The high initial start-up cost
  • Requires a heat press to work

CAD Cut Vinyl Printing Method

Look at the beautiful jerseys of your favorite sports person; they are designed for this method.  Although it is not printing method as there is no printing done, rather it is a simple cut and paste procedure. It gives vibrant colors to work with, and it becomes quite easy to work on challenging printing locations such as sleeves, collar or shoulders.

Check out some of the best vinyl cutting machines

Here a special vinyl material is cut perfectly into designs using state of the art machinery. The cutting process is completely automatic and uses dedicated software and hardware for the purpose. Later this vinyl design is printed using a suitable heat press. The prints are of supreme quality and will last as long as your t-shirt.

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  • Intense and vibrant color printing with a professional finish
  • Better for the one-off design
  • No fading of design or cracking of prints
  • High-quality print


  • Not ideal for mass production
  • The working process is tough
  • The high initial start-up cost
  • Requires special CAD cutters, software, and heat press to work


Now you know all about the most popular printing methods in the T-shirt industry. There are lots of ways to print a t-shirt, every method has its advantage and disadvantages. So, whatever may be your printing needs, you will find a suitable method for it. If you are looking for a cheap and bulky print or you need professional and custom prints there are options available; just you need to identify your printing needs.

Last update on 2023-09-17 at 21:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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