The Different T-Shirt Printing Methods That Get the Best Results

There are many different types of printing methods available to use when printing your own t-shirts and other garments. In this article, I will discuss the differences between the two most common printing methods, the direct-to-garment method and the screen printing method.

If you have ever wanted to print T-shirts or other garments at home, then knowing which printing method will give you the best results can be very important to you! So lets get started!

Direct to Garment (DTG)

Direct to Garment DTG Method

The biggest advantage of DTG is that it’s a truly digital printing process. You can print on any color garment, and you can print as many colors as you like, in any design.

DTG is also a very cost effective method of printing your own shirts. The downside is that it takes longer to print than screen printing or embroidery, and it doesn’t have quite as high quality of a finish. However, if you’re looking for something quick and cheap then DTG might be for you. If not, keep reading!


  • The printing is permanent, so it will not crack or peel off over time
  • The DTG method allows you to print on light and dark colored shirts
  • It can be used on a wide variety of shirt styles
  • The DTG process is eco-friendly because it uses water instead of chemicals to transfer ink onto clothing
  • It’s an affordable way to get your designs printed on t-shirts
  • You can print different colors in one design
  • There are no minimum order requirements
  • Your artwork can be as detailed as you want
  • You can print on a variety of fabric types, such as cotton and polyester blends
  • The DTG process is faster than screen printing, making it a great option for last minute orders or rush jobs
  • You don’t have to worry about your design cracking or peeling off like you would with screen printing
  • DTG printing uses a wide range of inkjet printers, so if you already own one for personal use, there’s no need to purchase a new printer just for business purposes.
  • There are no minimum orders for DTG printing either; even if you only want one shirt printed up, there’s no reason not to give DTG printing a try.


  • The print quality is not as good as screen printing, but it can be very high quality if done right.

Screen printing

Screen printing Method

The screen printing process starts with a silkscreen print made by an artist and applied to a mesh, usually made of silk or synthetic fiber. A stencil is placed over that screen to protect parts of it from getting paint.

The stencil can then be removed, revealing parts of a mesh design for use in printing on fabric. An inkjet printer transfers ink to those areas, resulting in one or more layers of color on fabric and allowing for unlimited color combinations.


  • The screen printing process is used to print on a wide variety of fabrics, including cotton, polyester, nylon and wool.
  • The screen printing process is one of the most economical ways to print on fabric
  • Screen printed shirts are durable and can last for many years without cracking or fading
  • The screen printing process can be used to print on a variety of different items such as t-shirts, caps, bags and other clothing items
  • Screen printing is one of the fastest methods available for short run orders
  • Screen printing can be used with any type of ink


  • It can’t be done in large quantities at once
  • It doesn’t allow for color gradients

Heat Transfer Printing

Heat Transfer Printing Method

This method of printing is recommended for dark, solid colored shirts. Heat Transfer printers use a special glue and an iron to apply your design to your shirt; it’s called heat transfer because there is a lot of heat from both sources that are used in combination.

This type of printing is often found on sports jerseys and band merchandise. Make sure to order your shirt one size larger than normal so that you have some room for error when applying! It’s also very important to make sure you don’t get any glue where you don’t want it—make sure there’s plenty of open space between what will be printed on your shirt and where you don’t want print to appear!


  • Transfer printing is one of the most popular and economical methods for printing on t-shirts.
  • It’s also a great way to print small orders, as it’s quick and easy to set up and doesn’t require expensive equipment or special training.
  • The heat transfer process begins with a blank garment, which is then prepped with heat sensitive ink that turns transparent when exposed to high temperatures (usually from an iron).
  • The image you want to print (or sublimation file) is then transferred onto your shirt by pressing an inkjet printer directly onto it.
  • This method can be used on any color t-shirt, although you may need to use a white ink if you are printing on dark shirts.


  • The print is not as durable as direct to garment printing, and tends to fade more quickly than other methods.


Embroidery Printing Method

While it’s a bit more expensive, embroidery is a good option for anything with a large logo or graphics. The way embroidery works is that your logo (or other graphic) gets transferred to a needle.

Then that needle goes up and down hundreds of times per minute to etch your logo into your shirt. And while it’s pricier than screen printing, embroidery lasts longer, so it’s actually more cost effective over time.


  • Better for bulk orders: Embroidery is great for printing large quantities of t-shirts because it can be done all at once, rather than one at a time like screen printing or DTG (direct to garment).
  • Durable: Embroidery lasts longer than other types of printing, and won’t crack or fade over time like screen printing will if you don’t use a good brand of ink and do proper prep work before applying your design. 3. Great for multi-colored designs: Because embroidery machines can stitch multiple colors at once, they’re great for making t-shirts with multiple colors in them.
  • Good for custom logos/designs: If you want to put your logo on a shirt using embroidery, it’s best to hire an expert (or buy expensive software) to create a vector image file that can be used by an embroiderer. You can also find templates online that make it easy to create custom logos/designs without having any special skills or training. pros of DTG (Direct To Garment):
  • 5.Great for single color designs: DTG is perfect for creating one color on white shirts because it doesn’t require any prepping at all!


  • Not Eco-Friendly (Embroidery uses up a lot of water and chemicals).

Sublimation printing

Sublimation printing method

In one of our previous articles, we discussed sublimation printing in detail and explained how to set it up at home. For those of you who missed that post, or need a refresher on what exactly sublimation is, here’s a quick run through: Sublimation printing involves taking an image and transferring it onto a transfer paper using a special solvent.

This paper can then be applied to any number of surfaces – including t-shirts. However, because ink isn’t being used in these processes (the colors are actually created by dyes), certain colors will require certain solvents to ensure proper color formation.


  • The inks are infused directly into your garment, creating a durable, washable and high-quality product that won’t crack or fade over time.
  • With sublimation printing, you can print on polyester as well as cotton garments, which gives you more options for t-shirt styles and colors than other printing methods do.
  • Sublimation printing is a quick process that doesn’t require drying time between steps (except for underbase coating).
  • There is no need to be concerned about ink coverage with sublimation printing; if you have an image on your computer file, it will print on your garment exactly as it appears on your screen!


  • No cons.

Vinyl cutting

Vinyl cutting method

Vinyl cut decals are becoming increasingly popular due to their low cost, ease of use and ability to customize nearly any shape or size. However, vinyl cutting isn’t for everyone.

It requires a good bit of skill to operate machinery accurately. Additionally, it’s not recommended for large orders or complex designs. If you find that your design can be cut from vinyl but doesn’t look quite as sharp as you had hoped, consider investing in heat transfer printing; its sharper image quality makes up for any shortfalls in cutting skill.


  • Vinyl cutting is a fast and affordable way to print shirts, as long as you don’t mind using a screen printer rather than an inkjet printer.
  • There’s no minimum order for vinyl cutting, so if you want to print just one shirt or a few dozen, it’s an affordable option for small businesses with limited budgets.
  • The vinyl is easy to remove from clothing once it has been cut, meaning you can reprint your design again and again without having to worry about damaging clothing or leaving behind adhesive residue that won’t come off in the wash (like heat transfers do).
  • Vinyl cutting works best with solid colors rather than photographs or other detailed images.


  • Vinyl cutting doesn’t work well on dark colors because of how light reflects off of them, so stick with lighter colors if you want to use viny cutting as a method for printing on shirts

Digital transfers

Fast and inexpensive. Limited range of color options, no softening, no gradients and small blocky text. Some feel they look cheap because they don’t stand out or have a lot of texture (because there are only two or three colors). They can also crack or peel if not properly cared for.


  • Full color designs can be printed on white shirts and any other shirt colors, not just dark ones.
  • It’s easier to print detailed images with a digital transfer than it is with screen printing or direct to garment methods, since there’s no need to create screens for each design (digital transfers use pre-made screens).
  • Digital transfers are often less expensive than screen printing or direct to garment methods because they require less setup time and materials, such as ink and paper for screens.
  • It’s easier to get a smooth, professional look with digital transfers than it is with screen printing or direct to garment methods because you can adjust your designs and images on your computer before printing them.
  • Digital transfers are a great option for short runs of shirts or for one-off projects, since they’re so easy to set up and don’t require any special equipment (like screens) to use. cons of Digital transfers:
  • It takes longer to create digital transfer designs than it does to create screen printed ones, since you have to create each design individually on your computer before printing it onto fabric rather than creating one image on a screen and transferring that image onto multiple shirts at once (which is what happens with screen printing


  • Quality: The quality of digital transfers is not as good as screen printing and embroidery, especially when it comes to darker colors.


Many people like to design their own t-shirts. If you want your designs to be printed, it is important that you use a proper printing method. Some of these methods include screen printing, embroidery, direct to garment printing and heat transfers.

Screen printing is one of most popular ways for t-shirt designers because of its durability. It uses UV or water based inks that are tightly bonded to create a long lasting design on shirts. This type of printing gives high detail and vibrant colors in all directions.

Embroidery is another popular method because it makes designs look more unique and gives them a vintage feel with its imperfections from thread color variations and stitching lines visible on shirts.


Which type of printing is best?

A lot of people ask me which method is best for printing on t-shirts. There are several methods, each with their own pros and cons. Here’s a brief rundown of each: – Direct to Garment (DTG): DTG printers use inkjet technology to print directly onto fabric, so there’s no need for screens or dry time.

The downside here is that DTG prints are sometimes more expensive than screen printing, especially if you order small batches. – Screen printing: This is probably the most common type of printing for tees. Basically you make a stencil of your design and then ink up an offset or rotary press with special inks and pass it over your shirt–easy peasy!

What is better screen printing or heat-press?

Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to t-shirt printing. While any method will likely get you on your way, there are better ways and worse ways of doing things.

The best way to approach any project is to know as much about your options as possible—and that’s exactly what I want to give you in today’s post. Read on for everything you need to know about different t-shirt printing methods!

What is the best form of t-shirt printing?

There are many different forms of t-shirt printing, each producing a slightly different result. Each process has a unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

Choosing one method over another is not always easy because some methods may suit your needs better than others depending on your budget, your deadlines, and your product. Today we’re going to look at each of these methods in detail and then make some recommendations about which will work best for you. Let’s get started…

What technique can be used in making printed shirts?

There are many different t-shirt printing techniques available for making shirts. The most commonly used shirt printing technique is screen printing and direct to garment (DTG) printing. Each technique has its own benefits which make it a good or bad choice in specific situations.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of both methods that you should know before deciding on a method to use: Screen Printing Pros: Cheap – Compared to DTG printers, screen printed images tend to cost less since they can be done by hand. This is due to their limited color capabilities since only one color is applied at a time.

Good quality print – Screens can produce high detail with no dot effect like you see in cheaper inkjet prints as well as having more vibrant colors than DTG prints.

What are the different types of t-shirt printing?

There are four different methods of printing t-shirts, but only two will give you quality results. Understanding what these types of printing are and how they can affect your final product is critical to getting a good look for your logo or design on a t-shirt.

Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing – This is one of two recommended methods, as it gives excellent color quality, which makes it perfect for photographs and designs with detail. DTG printing doesn’t come cheap though and prices range from $100 to $500 per shirt.

The minimum number of shirts that can be printed at one time is usually 10, but most companies will have a lower price if you’re ordering 100 shirts or more.

Last Updated on October 12, 2022

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Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith is an editor and author for Printerchief, specializing in creating informative content on the topics of office printing and paper processing technology. When he is not working, he enjoys exploring the great outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, along with activities like hiking, cycling, fishing, and reading. Additionally, Andrew loves working on various projects for his home and garden to keep himself busy and continue learning new skills.


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