Revolutionary printing processes for garments have changed the face of the textile industry. From custom designed t shirts to exquisitely printed garments that seem less like a garment and more like a piece of art, the implications of these awesome printing processes are many. It is very interesting to take a deeper look into these t shirt printing processes so that we can better understand which process is best suited for which type of garment. This will ensure that we get the most out of this amazing technology.
The main printing processes for printing on t shirts and other garments can be classified as follows:
1. Screen Printing
2. Heat Press/INKJET/LASER Transfers
3. Heat Press/Plastisol Transfers
4. Vinyl Cutters
5. Direct to Garment
6. Dye Sublimation
Each method has its own pros and cons. This makes it necessary to understand the difference between each method. To emphasize on this point, let us compare the screen printing process with the technique using Vinyl Cutters. The screen printing method involves creating of screens which are pressed up against the cloth. This places the paint onto shirts and there can be only one color per screen. The Vinyl Cutting method uses a machine to cut out designs on special solid vinyl color sheets. Then it uses heat to adhere the already cut vinyl to the garment.
If we look at the pros and cons of each of the above two methods, then we find that screen printing has the advantages like cost effectiveness, quality and durability with cons such as each color requiring a separate screen, sometimes being messy and the need to have large scale printing of a single design in order to be feasible. On the other hand, vinyl cutting has the advantage of having high quality, durability and feasible for small orders. The cons include the implementation of different colors separately and the difficulty in printing of complex designs.
If we consider the latest technology in this field then the name that crops up is Direct to Garment printing, or DTG as it is popularly called. Even though it has been just recently developed, it has been gaining popularity really fast in the t shirt printing industry. The reason for this is surely the fact that DTG has been developed with the aim of overcoming the shortcomings of other printing methods.
As the name suggests, DTG involves the physical printing of the design on to the t shirt using a dedicated inkjet printer. When we observe the printing process, we observe that the t shirt is loaded on a screen just like screen printing. However, DTG has none of the huge set up costs of screen printing and is one step ahead when it comes to printing complex designs.
Perhaps the only drawback of DTG is the requirement of an underbase which makes it a less preferred option when it comes to printing polo tops and other similar t shirts. However, with advantages such as uncomplicated design procedure, feasible small scale printing, greater aesthetic appeal and reduced costs, DTG is here to stay.
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