While some customized T-shirts vary only in size and color, with little design involved, others can be custom printed for more design. Customization can be adding lettering, logos or other forms of graphic design to the T-shirt.
Some designs are mass screen printed onto shirts. Shirts are all printed in advance by a screen printer. You need to have all sizes and colors sent to the screen printer. They then print your design onto the shirts and ship them out to you. While this is great for keeping bulk inventory of your shirts, it is not so good for when you need one-off, customized shirts. In many cases, it is best to have just blank shirts on hand, and have designs ready to be printed one by one as needed.
These are synthetic inks made from a mix of PVC and plasticizers. They are not water soluble and do not dry out. This latter feature considerably simplifies a silk screen printing run and plastisol inks are widely used in shirt production.
These inks can be formulated to give extremely vivid colors that are non-fading and long-lived in terms of wash and wear cycles. However, they do require some heat to cure the ink after printing; screen printers often use an oven or other drying heat system. So the shirts are screen printed with each color applied one by one, then sent through the dryer to finish it off and be ready for sale.
Customized Shirts From One-Off To Very Few
To avoid the high printing and order costs associated with traditional screen printing methods, you can consider heat transfer printing. This does require the investment of a heat transfer press. The press is needed to apply the inks to the shirt and at the same time, all from the one heat transfer. Rather than having the colors applied one by one and then dried.
Once you have this press, you can print as many or as little customized designs onto T-shirts or, other, flat, fabric items, as you like. The setup charge for each printing is low since all you have to do is purchase the transfers for each design. The shirts are printed by you, as needed.
The transfer is a reverse image printed onto a release paper which goes into your press along with the garment and heat and pressure then transfer the design onto the garment. You can purchase these transfers online. But, if you want to have them in plastisol ink, do make sure that you only look at the right Custom Plastisol Transfer Vendors because other types of inked transfers are also available.