Different Types of T-Shirt Printing Methods

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Different Types Of T Shirt Printing MethodsAdding designs onto a plain T-shirt can turn an otherwise plain and ordinary garment into something unique and special. Whether you’re interested in creating a customized T-shirt for yourself or a group of people, or you want to produce a bulk amount of T-shirts that feature witty sayings or inspiring designs, first, you need to know how to add texts or images to the garments.

While the heat press machine and the vinyl cutting machine are two of the most commonly used custom T-shirt making techniques, there are a few other options available, too. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the different methods of T-shirt printing so you can choose the best option to suit your needs.

Common T-Shirt Printing Methods

Making and selling T-shirts that feature custom designs can be a very lucrative business. But before you dive in, you first need to know which printing method to use. Below, you’ll discover some of the different methods you can use to print your own line of custom-made T-shirt designs.

Screen Printing

If you own any graphic T-shirts that feature vibrant designs, and those designs look just as good after the 10th time the shirts have been washed as they did when you bought them, chances are they were made with screen printing.

Also known as silkscreen printing, this method of T-shirt printing is most commonly used by professionals. With this method, a template that will serve as the design is created. That template is positioned onto a T-shirt and held in place by a screen, which is usually constructed of nylon mesh. Once in place, ink is poured onto the screen, a squeegee-type tool is used to spread the ink, and the design is printed into the T-shirt.

This method is highly popular because it produces an exact replication of the design; however, it’s only well-suited for printing large quantities of the same design in a single color.

Heat Press Printing

Heat press printing is another popular method for creating T-shirts with custom designs. This process is more economical than screen printing, as it requires the use of less materials and yields faster results.

With heat press printing, a graphic image is printed onto heat transfer paper. A T-shirt is set onto a heat press machine and the transfer paper is placed onto shirt. When the heat press machine is closed, the machine will use heat to transfer the design that is printed on the paper onto the T-shirt.

Heat press printing creates durable, lasting results. It can be used for bulk printing as well as single printings, and it can be used to print images onto more than just T-shirts; bags, pillowcases, hats, and even mugs and plates. Images can be printed in full-color, too.

Vinyl Cutting

The vinyl cutting technique is another popular method for creating graphic T-shirts. This technique is similar to heat press printing; however, instead of printing the images onto heat transfer paper, the design is transferred into vinyl or another type of material via a blade that is located within the printing machine. Once the image is cut, it’s applied to a T-shirt in a manner that is similar to a sticker.

Vinyl cutting machines can be used to create simple and complex designs; in fact, it’s ideal for printing intricate designs that feature different colors, layers, and images. It can also be used to create more than just T-shirts; sweatshirts, baseball caps, bags, and various other items can be printed on using a vinyl cutting machine. This printing technique produces durable and bold prints that last a long time.


These methods are the most popular T-shirt printing techniques. The best option for you depends on the specifics of the projects you are working on, as well as the results your customers are looking for.

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