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Apparel Printing Basics

Whether you’re creating a new product line, promoting a brand or looking to increase your revenue by offering more personalized clothing options, apparel printing is the way to go. It’s a versatile option that allows you to create eye-catching designs on t-shirts, hoodies, jackets and more.

Screen Printing

Traditional screen printing is a popular choice for custom t-shirts, and is often the method of choice for those with larger orders requiring a lot of colors or intricate detail. This technique uses a mesh screen that’s coated in an emulsion that hardens when exposed to a bright light. This hardened emulsion forms the stencil that’s used to print the design onto the garment.

The emulsion can be printed on a wide range of materials, including cotton and polyester. The emulsion is then removed using special washing fluid, leaving behind the stencil that’s ready to be used again.

Heat Transfers

Another great way to customize t-shirts is with heat transfers, which are typically created using a vinyl-based process. This is best for printing slogans, small, multi-colored graphics and sportswear jerseys.

DTG Digital Printing

Direct to garment digital printing is a great alternative to screen printing for smaller orders that require 100% cotton apparel. This process is more affordable than screen printing and offers excellent vibrancy and quality.

Pre-treatment is a very important part of the DTG process, as it helps to make sure that the ink will adhere properly to the fabric and avoid washout. A hand sprayer is ideal for pre-treating, but you can also purchase a device that does the job automatically.

DTG machines can run very fast, producing 240 full color prints per hour (that’s 20 shirts in 5 minutes!). They are also quite expensive, requiring a high investment in machine parts and ink cartridges.

This type of printing is perfect for short-run, limited edition t-shirts, and can be an excellent option for eCommerce stores that want to make sure they get their products out as quickly as possible. The cost-effectiveness of DTG makes it a great option for those who only need to print a few t-shirts, or who want to produce photo-quality designs with multiple colors and fine details.

Ink Additives

There are a variety of different additives that can be added to your ink to help create an interesting and unique look. Some of the most popular include glow-in-the-dark ink, metallic ink and glitter. These can be combined with other specialty inks to achieve an even more elaborate effect that’s only limited by your imagination and budget.

Special Effects

There is also a whole world of special effects that can be applied to your ink, from raised print to textures to shines, sparkles and glows. These can be made with a variety of inks and add-ons, including puff, which expands to form a soft, textured print, and discharge, which chemically removes the dye from the pigment for a brighter, more neon look.

All of these techniques are useful for achieving a wide range of effects, and can be used to create a completely unique design that will stand out from the rest. But it’s crucial to make sure that the correct material is used for each of these techniques, as they may not work well on certain fabrics or colors. If you’re a large company or business, you may want to hire a professional printer to handle your orders. Alternatively, you can look for a reputable printing company that can take care of your needs.