By A.Noton

Over the years, there have been developments in the clothing sector especially in terms of designing. T-shirt printing, for example, has improved with its entire process being faster and easily applicable. This will of course depend on the materials available.

There are different methods used to print garments. One could use the screen printing process, the direct to garment process or the heat transfer method depending on their preferences. These methods each have their advantages and disadvantages.

The screening procedure involves creating screens pressed up against cloth in order to place paint onto shirts per color screen. First, the idea or the logo that is to be printed on the piece of clothing should be discussed and come up with. Brainstorming and exchanging different ideas always leads to a better decision concerning the design. Once the decision about the design has been made, an output of the film that will be used to make screens has to be made.


The detail and quality of the artwork films is checked and confirmed. If all is good, the next process of screening begins. First, the screens are put under an emulsion that is photosensitive and thereafter left to dry. After which the screen is then put on a certain vacuum light table and exposed to metal halide light.

After the exposure, the screen is washed out using a pressure washer. The image is then washed out. The quality and accuracy of the image is then compared to the original design was needed at first. If everything is certified, the printing process kicks off.

The actual printing process involves a lot of blocking and taping. In the design, the color has to be blocked, after which it is taped, then setup and finally squeegeed. Smaller runs require manual presses but as for larger runs with more colors, automatic presses are more applicable. The process of drying ink between each color layer enables a consistent, bright and professional quality. This results to a quality printed garment.

Prints on t-shirts can also be done directly. The direct to garment method prints the image directly onto the piece of clothing through a modified version of an ink jet printer. This method offers more flexibility in terms of turnaround time, design and color variations. Using this method, the design can be done on the computer and sent to the printer with the t-shirts waiting in line to be printed.

Another option can be the heat transfer process. With this procedure, ink is moved from a carrier paper to the piece of clothing. This is done by applying heat and pressure on the carrier paper. A very common method of doing this is applying an iron on to the carrier paper for a certain period of time until the ink finally appears on the clothing. Heat can also be used to adhere special solid color sheets of vinyl to paper

Each of the printing methods has its pros and cons. One has to put in mind the color and material of the piece of clothing and the number of colors in the design. T-shirt printing process all in all is very interesting.

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