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In order for t-shirts to carry their own mark and message, the print on the shirt plays a very important role. In this article, t shirt printing company Dallas TX  will clearly share the characteristics of each printing technology, so you can choose the method that best suits your design and budget.

Silkscreen printing

1.1. Regular silkscreen printing

Silk-screen printing is the most popular method of printing t-shirts today. Silk screen printing, also known as screen printing, screen printing, is named after the mesh of the printing frame that was previously made of silk. Later, silk mesh can be replaced by other materials such as cotton fabric, chemical fiber fabric, and metal mesh to make.

The meshes on the silk-screen print will be sealed with specialized chemicals, leaving only the printed part unsealed. When ink is applied, part of the ink will pass through the printing screen and seep into the fabric, creating a printed image.

With silk-screen printing technology, each print will print 1 color. The number of colors on the design corresponds to the number of prints. Therefore, this printing technology is especially suitable for designs with 4-5 colors or less, without color gradation (ombre, gradient).

Silk-screen printing is suitable for large quantity printing orders, processing costs will be greatly reduced when increasing the number of products. The best print is when printed on a shirt blank after cutting, not sewing. The ink color is durable, rich in color, does not thicken the fabric in the printed area.

1.2. Tram printing (tram printing, tram silk printing)

To overcome the disadvantage of printing few colors of silk-screen printing technology, the tram printing technique was born. The technique of tram printing is similar to silkscreen printing, but differs in the design processing step. 

The printed image will be processed into an image consisting of many different small pixels (dots), these pixels only include a few basic colors. When looking at the overall image printed on the shirt, these pixels blend together, creating an entire colorful image.

1.3. Embossed silkscreen printing (Embossed Printing)

Like the name “Embossed Printing”, the characteristic of this printing technology is that the printed image is raised above the shirt’s surface. Developed from silkscreen printing technology, embossed prints are also designs with monochrome tones, without color transition effects (ombre, gradient). 

During the printing preparation process, a number of specialized additives are added to the screen printing ink color. These additives make the printed image as well as the surface of the printed shirt curl up and stand out more than the surrounding plain fabric. After printing, the shirt will be heat pressed to allow a chemical reaction to occur, creating an embossed image. 

Heat Transfer Printing

Heat transfer printing is a printing technology in which we print images on heat transfer paper, then place the paper on the shirt and heat press so that the ink from the paper evaporates and penetrates into the fabric. 

Heat transfer printing is suitable for printing on white shirts, so that the color of the print is not changed due to the existing color on the fabric. This printing technology produces colors on the shirt that are a bit lighter than the image printed on paper, and the colors appear best when printed on Polyester-rich materials such as cold crocodile fabric, sesame fabric, satin strap.

Decal printing (vinyl printing)

Decal (vinyl) printing technology, as its name suggests, will use specialized decals for t-shirts to make prints. 

There are many types of decals used to press shirts, however, they can be easily divided into 3 main groups:

– Color decals: used for monochrome color prints

– Heat decals: include white decals that can be printed on, allowing Can print all images with complex color gradients.

– Decal effects: reflective, luminous, hologram, mirror, color changing…

When pressing shirts with this technology, we need to use a cutting machine to cut (cut) the decal along the printed border. After cutting, you need to peel off the excess decal, then press it onto the shirt.

PET printing (thermal transfer PET printing)

PET is the abbreviation for the phrase “Polyethylene terephthalate“, which is a plastic film used to hold prints before pressing them onto shirts. 

For PET printing technology, we will use a specialized machine to print images on PET plastic film, covering it with a white background layer and laminating glue.

Printed images on PET plastic film can be pressed onto the surface of the fabric using a heat press, without needing to die cut around the printed image like with decal printing technology.