Scalability, profit and quality are all directly related to choosing the correct garment printing method. Unfortunately, apparel manufacturing has no such thing as ”the best printing method.” It all depends on the desired output. Over the years, technology has advanced such that each printing method has advantages. This guide breaks down the various garment printing techniques available in the market today, along with their pros and cons. This handy guide makes it easy for you.
How it works: Screen printing involves using a mesh through which ink is pushed onto the fabric. The product is then moved to a flash unit for drying. This method produces durable, vibrant prints, thanks to thick inks.
Ideal for: Mass production of simple designs with few colors, e.g., geometric/text motifs on a T-shirt.
How it works: A relatively new technology, DTG uses inkjet printers to produce photographic prints on garments. The ink gets embedded into the fibers, creating a soft finish.
Ideal for: Complex designs and small order quantities requiring quick turnaround times, e.g. custom-made T-shirts for corporate events or special occasions.
How it works: Also known as CAD-cut printing, this technique uses CAD software to transfer your design onto vinyl. The vinyl is then laser-cut to the desired shape and heat-transferred onto the garment.
Ideal for: Printing small, simple, customized designs in small batches, e.g., jersey numbers on sports uniforms.
How it works: Similar to vinyl printing, this technique also uses the heat transfer method. Here though, the base on which the design is printed is a special type of paper rather than vinyl.
Ideal for: Printing full-color, complex motifs in small or medium-size batches e.g., slogans or logos on a T-shirt
How it works: This printing method also uses the heat transfer technique. However, here the ink fuses to the fabric giving a soft feel.
Ideal for: All-over prints or complex designs on polyester fabric, e.g., brand merchandise
Unlike all the techniques mentioned above, discharge printing removes the garment's natural color. Instead, a water-based solvent ink dissolves the apparel's natural color in the design's shape and soaks into the fabric in the desired area. This technique is excellent for printing on black, grey or dark blue apparel.
Both these methods use special techniques to produce unique designs. In the case of tie-dye printing, threads are used to cover areas that do not require printing. With batik prints, wax covers the areas that do not require inking.
Foil printing uses the heat transfer technique to apply laser-cut foil onto the garment. This method creates glimmering designs that stand out. However, note that foil printing is not durable.
Unlike other printing methods mentioned above, cut and sew manufacturing refers to creating garments out of fabric rolls that are already printed. This method offers the most control over creativity, quality, and consistency. It is most commonly used for mass manufacturing all-over print designs.
With apparel manufacturing, the permutations and combinations of choosing the proper techniques, fabrics, and vendors can seem daunting. Especially when it’s time to scale from small units to mass manufacturing techniques, achieving the desired results requires complete know-how of the industry’s functioning at large. Fashinza makes it easy to scale your T-shirt printing company or apparel manufacturing business with ease by connecting you to verified suppliers. Moreover, you can also track all your production batches in real-time. Choose Fashinza’s tech-enabled production management platform and run your apparel manufacturing business with ease.