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T-SHIRT PRINTING AND IMAGE PRINTING METHODS

In this article Dallas t-shirt Printing shop will look at such methods of printing on textiles, including T-shirts, as silk-screen printing and thermal transfer printing, their main advantages and disadvantages, and the modern development of these methods.

Silkscreen printing

The main types of textile printing are silk-screen printing, thermal transfer printing, and printer transfer.

One of the most common and long-known methods of printing on textiles is silk-screen printing. In addition, this method is very popular due to the high level of print quality. Silk-screen printing does not require sophisticated equipment, making the cost of products with such printing low and affordable. The only equipment that screen printing requires is a stencil and paint.

The silk-screen printing method was invented in ancient China and to this day is one of the most common and in demand. Modern industry has made its own adjustments to the retro method, making it possible to achieve high quality and durability of the paint used when applying drawings, inscriptions and logos on textiles. The emergence of new machines has significantly increased the productivity of the method. If on old manual machines it was possible to produce 200 – 300 T-shirts per day, then modern machines can achieve a productivity of 10,000 – 20,000 pieces per shift. 

To produce images on textiles using silk-screen printing, a carousel printing press and a printing frame are required, with the help of which the primary base for work is created. This base is enough to get started. The cost of purchasing a machine and frame pays off very quickly. Another advantage of silk-screen printing is the availability of consumables.

The disadvantages of silk-screen printing include the lack of manufacturability of the process. Silk-screen printing in its capabilities lags behind such modern methods as flexography and offset printing, since the process of printing images using silk-screen printing is little automated and the human factor plays a large role.

Thermal transfer printing

Another popular method that allows you to print on T-shirts is thermal transfer printing. The basis of this method is reminiscent of silk-screen printing, the only difference is that the printing is done not on fabric, but on thermal paper. A special feature of thermal transfer printing is that it is possible to create images on textiles even in hard-to-reach places. The design printed on thermal paper is then bonded to the fabric using a heat press under high heat. In this case, a special glue serves as a connecting link. Using this method, you can apply a design to any textile products, including T-shirts. 

Thermal transfer is not only an affordable and universal method, but also a rapidly developing one. Using thermal transfer, you can apply images to any products, textiles, T-shirts, baseball caps and much more. The file for thermal transfer is prepared in any editor. The image is cut out using a plotter connected to a computer, thus creating a transfer. Depending on the number of colors that are used to create images on textiles, the procedure can be carried out several times.

The film itself, which is used to create the transfer, is two-layer. The base of the film is a transparent polymer, and the actual pattern is created by thermal film. The plotter only cuts the thermal film, which remains on the base and does not crumble.

The main advantage that thermal transfer has is the inseparability of the pattern from the textile base. The image obtained using the thermal transfer method can easily withstand machine washing at temperatures up to 80 degrees and does not fade in the sun. Using thermal transfer, you can create not only single products, but also thousands of copies. Using this method, urgent orders for printing on textiles can be easily completed, since the process of creating an image using thermal transfer takes literally a few minutes. Images can be printed on thermal paper using an inkjet or laser printer.

Selecting a Printing Method

These methods of printing on textiles are quite common, but not the only ones. The spread of modern technologies makes it possible to create high-quality images on textiles that are of high quality, resistant to abrasion, water and sun. Despite the emergence of new textile printing methods, such as offset, digital, printing, embossing and others, silk-screen printing and thermal transfer not only do not lose their positions, but also remain the most popular.

When choosing a printing method, it is important to know about its advantages and disadvantages. To apply images with a circulation of more than a thousand products, it is better to choose methods such as silk-screen printing. In addition, this method allows you to create multi-color colorful images on textiles. Silk-screen printing allows you to carry out single orders, but at the same time the cost of one product increases significantly.

For a print run of less than 50 pieces, it is better to use the thermal transfer method. This method allows you to create even single orders.

If you need to print an image or inscription in an unconventional or hard-to-reach place, it is better to use the thermal transfer method, since applying a direct design in such cases is impossible or very difficult. Direct printing in hard-to-reach places is only possible by combining sewing and printing of products into a single process.

If urgent printing is required, the printer transfer method can be used. The main disadvantage of this method is the low durability of the image, which is enough for 2 to 3 wears.

Textile printing is currently carried out by companies that specialize in this type of activity. To print on a T-shirt, the client only needs to select the design and color of the material. The company’s specialists will help you choose the optimal printing method that will fully meet the customer’s requirements.

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