T-Shirt Printing Methods

Different Types of T-Shirt Printing Methods – Finally Explained

T-shirt is now a great wear and is accepted by almost everybody universally. It has multiple uses, as it can be used for any type occasion, and it is compatible with other wears. This is one of the reasons it has become very popular across the globe. There are various t-shirt printing methods available. If you got lost in the big variety, we have prepared this different types of T-shirt Printing Methods. It will help you to understand the best printing method that will provide the best quality and easy functionality.

T-shirt is now a great wear and is accepted by almost everybody universally. It has multiple uses, as it can be used for any type occasion, and it is compatible with other wears. This is one of the reasons it has become very popular across the globe.

T-shirt marketing business is one of the best and booming businesses on the internet today. It does not cost a fortune for one to start the business, and if you like, you can easily start your t-shirt printing business.

If you want to get into the business of t-shirt printing, and you do not know how to go about it, we are here to help you.

There are various ways of printing t-shirts; we are going to go through some of the apparel printing techniques here.

Setting up a t-shirt business is not a difficult business. If you have a small capital, you can actually start t-shirt printing business.You can actually start printing your own right now without many hassles.

What are the different types of T-shirt Printing Methods?

Here we are going to review the various methods of t-shirt printing methods as well as benefits and drawbacks associated with the various printing techniques.

Screen printing

This printing technique is regarded as one of the oldest methods. The method is great, and that is why it is still in vogue even though it has been with humans for a long time.

One thing that makes this technique great is the fact that it produces durable shirts and the results can be long lasting. Moreover, many people take to this method because it appears to be more cost effective when compared to the other methods.

Screen printing

To setup the method, it demands a labor intensive effort for a start. If you are producing in bulk, it is advisable to try this type of printing technique.

Though it might be labor intensive, you should know that this is the best when it comes to complex design printing.

This method remained the most common apparel printing techniques among many professionals. It can be used to print various kinds of clothes.

This printing technique is perhaps the first printing method ever be devised for t-shirts production. When it started, it was linked with silk printing, and that was why it was initially called silk print.

Now that it can print various kinds of t-shirts printing materials the word silk was removed from the name.

This printing technique usually involves a mesh or screen plate, and this is setup for printing just like a stencil. Waterproof materials are used to block negative spaces, and this is to achieve the desired design.

It appears that the most effective method applied to the screen printing technology is the stencil like technique. This is because; it remains the best if you want to achieve a perfect replication of the intended designs.

Moreover, the final product would still yield professional outlook.


  • It is cost effective especially if you want to do large batches
  • Ideal for huge orders.
  • This method only makes volume discounts
  • It is very popular
  • It can be used for different kinds of materials


  • For multiple colors, it could be very expensive
  • Only good for simple designs and images

This is a great printing method, and it is not surprising that it is popular with many people across the globe.

This is best for a large amount of orders with complex designs where cost is no concern. You can use any colour of t-shirt.

Direct to Garment

Direct to Garment or DTG is another great printing method. The method is such popular and simple that many hobbyists can decide to do it in their homes without looking for professionals to do it for them.

This can be very expensive when compared to the screen printing materials. This is because it would require inks as well as a dedicated printer for the T-shirts printing.

This printing method involves many things such as textile printing or textile printer. This works exactly the same way like a paper printer.

Direct to Garment Process

You can prepare your preferred design on your computer and lift it straight from your computer. Because of this, this printing technique makes the uniqueness and creativity.

T-shirt printing is much easier with this one when compared with the other types of printing. When you are using this technique, you do not need to create many stencils or to go through various layer-printing procedures, as you would have done in the case of screen printing.

If you want to engage in super designs, you can use this technique. It is not only effective; it is cost effective as well.

You are going to like the final product as the ink is going to feel soft in the hands. The ink is thin, and that means that it is not going to have an extra layer. The final design is going to be appealing to the eyes.

This method works the same way like a jet ink printer. It prints directly to your clothes. Because it is direct printing, it is going to achieve a better and an accurate result.

In terms of the quality of printing, it is almost the same grade with screen printing; this means that it is going to guarantee high-quality printing.

The printing quality is superior to what you get from heat transfers. It does not require any setup cost, as would have been the case with screen printing. If you have orders to deliver, this printing technology can do the work for you perfectly.


  • It delivers unlimited color options
  • Highly detailed printing accuracy
  • It does not demand any setup cost
  • It is good for small orders


  • For multiple colors, it could be very expensive
  • Only good for simple designs and images

If you are looking for a great printing device that can deliver an accurate result for you, you have to stick to this printing method. It is easier and simpler to operate, and you are going to achieve a superior result.

Ideal for high quality print and maximum detail, you should you use this method for small to medium orders.

Dye Sublimation

This is another printing method and because of the popularity, printers regard it as a dye sub. It is good for those looking for full-color design t-shirts. It works better on light shirts.

Dye Sublimation

In terms of cost, it could be expensive; however, you are going to achieve a better result. To get a perfect result with this method, it is recommended that you opt for experts to do the printing for you using this technology.

This method is not meant for cotton fabrics; however, if you want to print on polyesters, you can always use this technique.

This technique works on a special dye type and the dye is always in the liquid form. It dries fast. You can use it instantly if you like because the shirt is going to dry instantly. The sublimation process would start as soon as it is exposed to heat.

The solid dye is subjected to heat it would turn into gas. Because of that, you would notice that polyester fabric molecules would begin to expand.

This is because of the heat it is subjected to. The dye now turns into a gaseous state and would slip in between, and that is why you can notice the gaps, which appear in clothes.

When you remove the heat, you would observe that the polyesters would contract and this would close the gap. This would result in the gas returning to what it was, and it is to remain in that condition.

If you want to be creative with an enduring design, you have to opt for this printing method.

This method is unique because it is considered as one of the most durable methods outside there. Furthermore, it is great because you can achieve a perfect result with it.


  • This method can print seam to seam for all over the garment
  • It offers an extensive color option for its users
  • Offers maximum design details
  • It is best for small batches


  • It cannot be used for all types of garments
  • This method does not offer volume discounts
  • It is not good for larger orders.

Ideal for reproduce photograph on tee, you can print your family photos or like this type of pictures.

Heat Press Printing

This is another T-shirt printing technique, and this is good for small quantity printing orders. It works in reverse order called transfer paper.

The method works on a special paper, and the paper is pressed on the t-shirt to be printed. It is then subjected to pressure and heat.

Heat Press Process

The heat would then soften the dye on that paper, and this would be enough for it to hook to the paper below. The paper can be easily removed after, and the design would continue to be on the shirt.

This printing method is good for those who want to engage in complex designs. The process is almost the same thing as the DTG. It is not recommended that the method is applied on dark shirts because this involves lots of dyes.

Also, quality could be affected because of the rough treatment it could be subjected to. And, the affected areas can be too thick, and this may not be good.

A good example of this category is the plastisol transfer. When it is done through this method, the clothes could have a soft hand feel. Moreover, it can last longer, making it similar to screen printed shirts.

This method is one of the oldest and most common methods. Moreover, it can be practiced in different forms.

Professional printers using this method adopt a superior process, which we have explained before that is the plastisol transfer technique. This method can be very effective because it often uses the highest quality transfer paper.

Many people can do this in the locality because the technology is not as advanced as some of the methods discussed earlier.

Many people like this method because it can deliver a complete color image to your t-shirts. Moreover, the process is easier and quicker to apply.


  • It is easier to do
  • You can print t-shirts on demand
  • The process is quicker
  • The advanced form produces superior printing results
  • You can do it on your own


  • Non-advanced form can produce lower quality printing
  • Non-advanced form can produce lower quality printing
  • Requires an upscale investment in a heat process machine
  • Do it on your own approach consumes more time

This process is an easy, cost-effective way to enter the garment industry.This method is used for "iron-on" decals, you can print any photographs on your tee. Also known as screen flex heat transfer.

Vinyl Cutting

This can be described as another method of t-shirt printing. Usually this process involves cutting transferable vinyl into small shapes and designs, and these are then transferred to the shirt.

This method is simple. If you want something great and complex, it is not advisable to opt for this method.

It is very efficient if you want to transfer numbers, letters, and well as symbols. Those in sports would like this method because that is the method, they have their numbers printed on their shirts.

The finished work is going to be durable, and that is why it is considered the best for those who engage in sports activities.

This method can be required as a printing method, but it does not require any printing.


  • It does not require any setup cost
  • This method delivers bold, color and vibrant images
  • It offers more viable printing locations
  • Good for nylon and polyester printing


  • It is not good for quantity printing
  • Not good for organized design

In all this is a great way of T-shirt printing. It can print various kinds of shirts and can print in different locations.

Ideal for garment printing of 1-3 colors of smaller quantities for example cricket team's strip etc. Different vinyl colors and textures can be used to customize t-shirts and clothing.

How to make your choice

You have seen the different types of t-shirt printing methods. It is obvious that you cannot choose all the printing methods at the same time. You have to make your choice and here are factors that can guide you in making your choice.

Three important factors would guide you in making your final choice and they include the quantity you want, the design you want, and the type of fabrics you have.

If you are into a t-shirt business and you are looking for large-scale products to sell, then you have to think of DTG that is direct to garment method. You can really start this without spending your whole money.

In the same way, you can opt for screen printing, if you want to order many t-shirts at a go. You can also opt for other methods.

In the same way, the type of design you want is another important factor in making your choice. If you want multiple colors, you can choose DTG printing method.

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