There are a couple of popular methods of t-shirt printing and all the methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. A quick look at some of these pros and cons can help you in deciding the best and most suitable method of t-shirt printing. The selection of the printing method would ultimately depend on your requirement, the kind of image you want and your budget.
Heat transfer printing is done with the help of heat transfer paper. An image is printed on this paper and then this paper is placed on the t-shirt. A heat press is used for pressing this paper. The image gets bonded to the garment by the application of the heat by the t-shirt heat press. This is an inexpensive method and can be easily used by the home users. This is great way to print t-shirts on a smaller scale and is an ideal method for those who want to start a small business of t-shirt printing. The equipments are easily available and involve low investment.
This method enables you to get complex photographic and multi-colored images and that too in without too much of mess. However there are some limitations of this process. Every time you want to print a t-shirt you need to cut the shape that you want to be printed and remove the part that you do not want on the t-shirt. This takes up a lot of time and the process becomes non-feasible if you need to do the work in bulk.
Digital printing is another method that is used for t-shirt printing. This is printing method which is gaining popularity gradually. For printing the t-shirt, it is stretched on a frame below the ink jet printer head. The printing on the garment is done exactly as it is done on the paper. Inkjet transfer paper is used for printing the same design on large number of garments with ease. This method is good to choose if you want to reproduce certain photographic prints, logos or other multi-colored images.
The biggest disadvantage of this method is that the cost of printing goes high because it consumes lot of time in printing just one garment. In spite of the high cost, the prints fade away sooner. Moreover as this is a new technology there are many practical problems in using the machines and handling them efficiently.
Screen printing is the most traditional way of printing t-shirts. The final prints and colors come up very brightly and last longer when compared to the prints created by other methods. The printing cost remains low and this is a perfect method for mass printing. The disadvantage of this method is that you need to store all the screens if you want to use the designs later. It is a little messy and each color has to be printed separately. It can be very time consuming and cannot be used to create photographic reproductions.