Different Apparel Printing Methods
The process of apparel printing involves creating a design, loading the shirt on a manual press, and forcing the ink through a screen onto the fabric. There are several steps involved in this process, including screen printing, sublimation printing, and sublimation heat transfer. Using these methods is not as expensive as you may think, and you can easily replicate your designs at home with a kit from an office supply store. Nevertheless, be sure to ask the printer about the different kinds of inks and what they do before using them.
One of the most common methods of apparel printing is Direct to Garment (DTG) printing. This process uses specialized inks to print directly onto garments. Unlike screen printing, DTG allows for full-color prints and requires less complicated set-up. DTGI is ideal for companies who want to use several colors on a design, or for orders with fewer than 50 shirts. DTGP is an excellent option for companies that want their employees to wear work attire with their company logo.
While screen-printing is the most popular method for screen-printing, DTG is more expensive than screen printing. In contrast, DTG prints are slightly duller. Screen-printed designs stand out because of their “pop” – where they actually pop off the shirt. But unlike DTG, traditional screen-printing uses Plastisol ink, which is a plastic-based ink made of PVC particles suspended in a plasticizing emulsion. This ink is extremely opaque and can produce an under base of bright white on dark garments.
LA Sublimation is an on-demand vertical manufacturing facility specializing in direct-to-garment and sublimation apparel. They provide 15+ products to their clients. Other companies include Miami Sublimation, a company specializing in custom apparel and on-demand printing for businesses and individuals. Then there are the apparel printing companies offering custom-printed laptop cases and phone cases. Among these is Spark Embroidery & Printing the best print shop in Minneapolis, MN.
Direct-to-garment printing uses digital printing to transfer ink directly onto the t-shirt fabric. It suits today’s modern society by offering precise designs, neat edges, and a high level of detail. Direct-to-garment printing has gained popularity in recent years. So, how does this process differ from screen printing.
Consider the type of fabric the printed design will be on. A heavier print is more likely to feel stiff and plastic, while a light, airy one is less likely to absorb ink. Heavy prints will also cause sweat patches and weigh down areas of the garment. Another important factor to consider is the type of ink used. When you print a garment, the printer will use ink that is machine washable. If you want the print to last, you can opt for heat-treated inks.
Once the screen is complete, it is placed onto a printing board. After adding the ink, a squeegee is used to pull the ink over the screen. The printing board is then used to place several items. After the first item is printed, a second item is placed on the board and underneath the screen. If you choose to have multiple items printed, you will likely use a commercial automatic rotary carousel printer. The automatic rotary carousel printer allows many screens to work at once and can apply separate color layers at a time.