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What's The Difference In Print Methods?

Screen Printing ~ Heat Transfer ~ Direct to Garment

If you are tasked with ordering custom printed shirt for an organization, upcoming event or just want a custom shirt make, the terms of shirt printing can get confusing. What's the difference? How do I know which application will work for me? Which is the best value and will last the longest? Let's take a look at the 3 applications we offer at Speciality Shoppe.

Screen Printing
Also known as silkscreening, this process involves applying ink or paint to the shirt using a prepared screen. This method (in some form) has been in use for more than a thousand years. With this process, each color in your design will require a different screen, increasing the initial set-up costs. However, since this process works like a stencil and once the stencil is made, it lasts a long time. The higher quantity of shirts ordered, the lower the unit price will be. Because the media is transferred to and permeates into the fabric, your design will last a very long time.

Heat Transfers
Heat Transfers are printed with specialized ink onto transfer paper, which is than applied to the garment with a heat press of over 375 degrees. Heat transfers offer vibrant color and complicated designs. Most heat transfers are pre-made designs and can not be customized. Some special care is required with heat transfers, it's not recommended to dry completely or wash in hot water. Heat Transfer is most cost effective method of personalizing a shirt, there are no set-up costs.

Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing
DTG printing is ink jet technology and works very similar to the any ink jet printer. The shirt is fed through the printer and a specialized water-based ink is printed directly on the garment. The ink is absorbed directly by the fibers of the material and will remain soft. The image will have greater detail than screen print since there's no limit to the number of colors used. DTG is fantastic for small quantities and complete customization without the heavy set-up costs.

Shirt Quality, Color, and Design
The quality, color, and custom design of the shirts you order will have a major impact on how much your project will cost. A single color print on a basic white shirt is the most inexpensive option, and prices increase from this baseline dependent upon the projects’ requirements.

It is worth noting that a large portion of the cost of any decorated shirt is the shirt itself. Shirt quality, size, and color will all have a direct impact on the overall bottom line and design options. Speciality Shoppe only uses 100% cotton garments. Take your time when selecting the shirt type and color. The shirts will not only make an impression, in many cases they will be kept as treasured mementos and worn on occasion to relive a cherished memory.

Please contact us with your artwork or ideas. We will work with you to get the best shirts and the most bang for your buck!