Maybe the most typical kind of t-shirt printing includes screen printing; individuals and small businesses oftentimes use this technique to make shirts in custom or small batches. The price of doing screen printing is pretty low, and little special equipment is needed for at-home jobs. Sublimation and heat transfer include other techniques. Sublimation will be the most difficult, and generally should just be done upon synthetic materials like acrylic. Heat transfer includes an easy process which is faster than screen printing, although the end product might not last as long.
Usually, Heat Transfers for T Shirts are done on white tee-shirts to avoid issues of conflicting colors, although transfers may be placed onto any color a printer desires. It’s one of the fastest ways to print, as a pre-made transfer design simply is heated then applied to the tee-shirt. Heat transfers may be performed at home with merely an ironing board and household iron, although special equipment is out there for larger t-shirt batches. While it certainly is an easy and quick option, it’s hardly the longest lasting, as transfers usually crack after time, and often lead to fading or additional image degradation.
In addition to Heat Transfers for T Shirts, screen printing is performed with inks, as well as mesh screens that are specially treated using a chemical which permits an image to become burned into it. A screen will be coated using a substrate that’ll harden as exposed to light. Images printed on transparencies may be placed upon the screen, and the screen will be exposed to light, and cause the exposed substrate to harden as the substrate concealed by the transparency remains soft. The soft substrate then can be washed away, and produce an image upon the screen. The screen then is put on top of a tee-shirt then ink is pressed through the opening within the hardened substrate with a squeegee. Equipment investment will be minimal, and screens may be washed then re-coated using substrate to burn different images.
Sublimation includes the longest lasting and quickest of the tee-shirt printing processes, although it’s a limited process which also can be expensive. It generally is only done on synthetic materials like nylon, and the equipment investment is more substantial. The ink will be heated in such a way that it’ll turn to gas and then is transferred over to the fabric. The process will require heating elements, special inks, and substrates which significantly can drive up the price of a garment. Because of the intricate process, these printing processes are better left to the professionals.