7 T-shirt Printing Methods

7 T-shirt Printing Methods | Pros And Cons

in Tshirt-Printing on October 16, 2023

If you are simply starting your t-shirt Company or searching for t-shirt printing methods to streamline your operations, you may be asking on your own “What sort of t-shirt printing technique functions best for ecommerce?”.

There are several means to print your t shirt designs, from direct-to-garment printing and silk screening to airbrushing. Each method has advantages and disadvantages that come into play when taking into consideration just how to start your t-shirts production. Factors bearing on your decision consist of the look of your layout, your t-shirt textile, the amount of your print run, and your spending plan.

Key Takeaways : 7 T-shirt Printing Methods

7 of the most common t-shirt printing methods are direct-to-garment (DTG) printing, Direct To Film (DTF), screen printing, dye sublimation, heat transfer plastic (HTV), plastisol heat transfer, and airbrushing. Direct-to-garmenting printing and screen printing are the two most preferred approaches

Direct-to-garmenting printing utilizes a special printer to spray water-based inks directly onto tee shirt textile. DTG is finest for printing complex designs with multiple shades onto cotton tees. It can be made use of for solitary t shirts or small-print runs.

Screen printing uses inks indirectly to tee shirts through a mesh partially obstructed by a pattern form, publishing one shade each time. It functions best for straightforward layouts with a small number of shades and huge quantities of orders.

When choosing your tee printing approach, consider the complexity of your design, the textile you’ll be publishing on, your order amount, and your budget. Collaborating with a print on demand company can enhance your manufacturing and aid you maintain costs reduced.

An overview of the most usual types of t shirt printing methods.

There are lots of techniques to create t-shirts utilizing both traditional and digital modern technology. Today 7 of the most common t-shirt printing methods utilized in ecommerce are:

Direct-To-Garment Printing

DTF Printing

Screen printing

Dye Sublimation Printing

Heat Transfer Vinyl 

Plastisol Transfer Printing


DTG and screen printing are the two most preferred t-shirt printing methods. Listed below we’ll take a look at each of these types of t-shirt prints. We’ll explain just how each approach functions and examine its advantages and disadvantages.

Direct-to-garment printing (DTG printing)

DTG printing

As the name suggests, direct-to-garment is a t shirt printing method that uses inks directly to tee shirts. This identifies it from t-shirt printing techniques that use inks indirectly utilizing a screen or a transfer paper.

DTG makes use of a special printer that uses water-based inks to tee shirts by using a four-step process:.

A t-shirt design is created in a digital art file and stored on a computer system attached to the printer.

The t-shirt is prepared for printing. A pretreatment solution is applied to keep white ink from tarnishing the t-shirt, denigration, or mixing with colored inks. The t shirt is after that pretreated with a pretreatment solution. It is pressed with a heat press  press or air clothes dryer to squash the fibers for a smoother printing surface.

The t-shirt is aligned over a flat system called a platen and fed into the printer.

After the t-shirt has actually completed printing, the ink is cured with a heat press or a conveyor air dryer to make it stick to the shirt via repeated washings.

DTG printing takes images directly from computer data which permits you to quickly personalize your designs without needing to create brand-new displays or patterns. You can publish intricate designs with vibrant colors, high resolution, and sharpness. DTG can be used on a lot of prominent tee textiles, including cotton, polyester, and cotton/polyester blends. It produces the very best outcomes on all-natural materials such as cotton.

DTG is commonly regarded as the extra ecologically lasting printing technique. The water-based inks used in DTG printing are without harmful chemicals. Since layouts are published directly onto the textile, there is no demand for extra products like screens or paper, decreasing the amount of waste.

While DTG printers are expensive, commonly valued at greater than $10,000, this approach offers itself well to print as needed. Collaborating with a reliable print on demand provider makes direct-to-garment t-shirt printing budget-friendly and lowers overproduction and excess inventory.


Direct-to-garment printing can deal with highly complicated layouts with numerous shades or photographic information.

DTG inks penetrate the textile for a smooth feeling.

Direct-to-garment printing uses eco-conscious inks and products.

DTG t-shirt printing can produce any type of amount of t shirts swiftly.


Direct-to-garment printing functions best on cotton but is much less suitable for polyester tees.

DTG t shirts have much less resistance to washing and sunlight than screen-printed t-shirts.

DTG printers are costly to possess, though this can be minimized by collaborating with a print on demand (POD) service.

DTF (Direct To Film) Printing: A Deep Dive into T-Shirt Printing Methods

DTF Printing

The Revolutionary method of t-shirt Printing – Direct-to-Film Printing (DTF).

Direct-to-film printing, or DTF, is just one of the very best tee shirt printing methods and involves printing styles onto an unique PET film (Polyethylene Terephthalate) and after that transferring them to a tee shirt making use of sticky powder and heat..

Instead of DTG printing, DTF doesn’t need pre-treatment of the garment, as the style is pre-printed onto a film.

This heat transfer approach can be utilized on any kind of type of material. Develop polyester t-shirts or cotton t-shirts– the outcome is similarly excellent.

Nevertheless, in DTG the style and inks are included into the textile. With the DTF technique, the fixing powder provides the design plasticky and shiny. Since the shades do not interfere with the base shade of the t-shirt, it offers an extra lively end result.


DTF approach enables printing on a variety of fabrics.

Gives intense and stunning prints, as the styles are applied on the textile without penetrating the fibers.

Can be applied onto any kind of base color.

High wear & tear resistance.


Can just be utilized on smaller things like t-shirts, cushion covers or face masks.

The print really feels instead plasticky.

The entire procedure is more complicated than color sublimation or DTG printing.

Screen Printing: A Key Player in T-Shirt Printing Methods

Screen Prining

Screen printing strategy, additionally called silk screen printing, uses ink designs to tee shirts by pressing ink through a mesh partially blocked off by a pattern form. Making use of a mesh medium classifies screen printing as an indirect tee printing method.

Screen printing uses a seven-step procedure:.

The style is created, normally by publishing a digital data onto a transparent acetate film that will certainly serve as a stencil.

One or more screens are prepared utilizing an emulsion that will solidify when revealed to light, enclosing the area surrounding where the design will certainly be published. One screen must be made use of for each shade of the style.

The screen is exposed to light, creating the emulsion to solidify.

A pattern is created by eliminating the hardened solution.

The screen  is set on a printing press, and the tee shirt is placed on a printing board under the screen.

The screen lowers onto the printing board while the ink is put right into it and pushed down with a blade or squeegee to excite the style on the t-shirt.

After printing, the ink is treated with a heat air gun, heat press, flash clothes dryer, or conveyor dryer.

Tees with numerous colors require patterns and screens for each and every shade.

Screen printing was the most popular printing approach for making t shirts. Nevertheless, the time it requires to prepare stencils and screens makes screen t-shirt printing much less Cost efficient than DTG for small quantities of t shirts. Screen printing keeps its value for huge print runs of hundreds or countless tees.


Screen printing generates vivid prints for basic patterns with a small number of colors.

Screen-printed styles last with multiple clean cycles.

Display tee shirt printing is inexpensive for huge print runs.


Screen t-shirt printing needs significant set-up time for stencils and screens.

Screen printing isn’t ideal for complicated color patterns or high-resolution images.

The screen printing process is only cost-effective at large scales.

Screen printing wastes ink and materials, making it much less eco-friendly than DTG tee shirt printing approaches.

Dye Sublimation Printing

Dye Sublimation Printing

Dye sublimation is also known as all-over printing (AOP) due to the fact that it can be related to all locations of a t-shirt. As an example, dye sublimation can print duplicated patterns or cover locations such as joints. It differs from DTG and screen printing methods, which use ink to marked printing locations on level  t-shirt surface areas.

The dye sublimation method uses a three-step procedure:.

The t-shirt design is produced in a digital picture file.

An unique printer prints the picture backwards on transfer paper.

The paper is placed on a  t shirt, heated under pressure to a gaseous state, and afterwards cooled, moving the ink to the tee shirt. It requires a heat press to perform this task

Sublimation functions beautifully on synthetic materials such as polyester. However, this printing method does not bond ink to cotton.


Dye sublimation can be printed all around a t-shirt.

Sublimated inks blend right into the textile of the t shirt, creating a smooth look and feel.

Sublimated shirt designs won’t fade or peel off.

Tees prepared with dye sublimation are breathable.


Dye sublimation does not function well with cotton or dark tee shirts.

Sublimation is pricey contrasted to other t-shirt printing alternatives.

Heat transfer vinyl printing (HTV printing)

HTV Vinyl heat transfer

Heat  transfer vinyl printing, likewise known as iron-on printing, transfers styles from vinyl plastic-based sheets. One side of the sheet is colored with removable tape and can be cut into layout shapes. The opposite side is covered with a glue turned on by heating.

HTV uses a five-step procedure:.

The pattern to be weeded is created manually or digitally.

The design is cut out by hand or with an HTV cutting Plotter or Cutter..

Excess material is eliminated by weeding.

The design is put on the tee utilizing an iron or heat press.

The tape is peeled off away to leave the design behind.

The vinyl utilized in HTV printing creates rigid designs. Heat  transfer Vinyl printing calls for fabrics that will not melt when heated.HTV printing is usually utilized for lettering on sporting activities jackets.


Easy for novices.



Style cutting requires time, making the production procedure slow-moving.

Vinyl creates tight styles.

It is limited to textiles that can withstand the home heating process.

Improper for massive manufacturing.

Plastisol Transfer Printing

Plastisol transfers
Plastisol Transfers

Plastisol screen printing is an indirect screen printing method that utilizes a plastic-based transfer sheet to apply ink to t-shirts. It is a less complex variation of screen printing that applies inks to a transfer paper rather than a mesh display.

Plastisol printing utilizes steps similar to screen printing, with some essential distinctions. One of the most substantial difference is that the style is put on the transfer paper instead of straight to the tee:.

Designs are developed, screens are established as in screen printing, other than the layout is performed in opposite.

The transfer paper is run through a conveyor dryer to get rid of moisture.

The transfer paper is positioned under the screen.

Ink is applied to the transfer paper.

The transfer paper is applied to the t-shirt with a heat press.

Glue powder is put on the tee shirt to lower blurring. Any type of excess powder is gotten rid of.

The ink is heated to a gel state in a conveyor clothes dryer.

A heath press is applied.

The transfer paper is peeled.

Gelled plastisol transfer papers can be saved prior to home heating and then heat applied to create t shirts when needed. This makes plastisol transfer printing useful for applications such as printing at real-time events where the amount of t-shirts required is not known ahead of time.

Plastisol transfer papers can be selected for special impacts like textures and glosses. Styles produced via plastisol warm transfer are durable, withstanding fading and fracturing. Nevertheless, this method can not be made use of for photographic images, half-tones, or large orders.


Premium quality.

Resilient designs.

Special effects alternatives.

Transfer paper can be kept for later printing.


Needs knowledgeable, taxing prep work.

Not ideal for mass orders.


Airbrushing tshirt printing method

Airbrushing is a manual tee shirt layout method that utilizes a little spray paint device. The procedure involves four actions:.

A pattern is developed from a material such as a pennant really felt and attached to a tee making use of a temporary, light sticky to hold it in position. Numerous patterns might be used for several colors.

The airbrush is loaded with paint and attached to an air source. For multi-colored layouts, multiple paints have to be made use of.

With the t-shirt held in position on a board and an easel, the airbrush applies paint to the t shirt, one shade each time. Manual touches might be added as wanted.

After the paint dries out, parchment paper is related to shield the design, and an iron is used to establish the paint.

Airbrushing is simple and economical, allowing full artistic freedom when applying layouts. However, airbrushed styles don’t allow elaborate information, and they aren’t resilient. The manual work associated with airbrushing makes it unsuited for large orders.


Easy to begin and do it yourself.


Enables creativity.


Low-grade layouts.

Reduced sturdiness.


Inappropriate for mass orders.

Conclusion :

In the world of t-shirt printing, 7 t-shirt pringting methods offer a range of advantages and applications. Whether you seek vibrant, intricate designs through Direct-To-Garment Printing, traditional charm with Screen Printing, or creative flair via Airbrushing, the options are diverse. DTF Printing, Heat Transfer Vinyl, and Plastisol Transfer Printing provide tailored solutions for customization and durability. The choice among these methods hinges on your specific project goals and budget. In every case, partnering with experienced professionals to bring your designs to life is paramount. Whether you’re a clothing brand, an event organizer, or an individual with a creative vision, these 7 t-shirt printing methods offer a plethora of opportunities to bring your ideas to life. Variety is indeed the spice of garment customization, and these methods provide just that – variety.

Categories: Tshirt-Printing

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