What Are The Main T-Shirt Printing Techniques?

Do you have to print shirts and don’t know where to start? First of all, based on the budget, the quantity of articles and the graphics to be printed, it is necessary to get information on the main existing printing techniques to be able to print on fabric. Take a few minutes to read our quick guide carefully, then everything will seem easier.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is the most commonly used technique in the field of printing services.

First of all, the design to be created is broken down into primary colors using special software. Subsequently the printing frames are developed (one for each color), which are placed on the screen printing carousel. After positioning the frames, you start printing on the products, which will be subjected to a further passage in a special oven, to fix the inks to the fabric.

PRO: It is an ideal technique for large runs, especially in the case of very simple designs, because it is possible to obtain economies of scale and consequently contained costs. Very resistant to washing, it can be made on any type of fabric with excellent results.

CONS: Since screen printing involves certain fixed costs (for example, the cost of making the frame), it is uneconomical and therefore not recommended below a given quantity. Moreover, the costs also vary based on the complexity of the design to be made and the number of colors of which it is composed.

Direct Digital Printing

This technique was born recently and has only developed in recent years. The process is very similar to what you do at home or in the office when printing text or images on sheets of paper. The difference lies in the machinery used: instead of printing on paper, it prints directly on fabric, with the aid of special inks. In this sector, there are two leading companies that produce high-tech machinery capable of producing high-quality digital prints:  Kornit , an Israeli company and Aeoon , an Austrian company. We advise against printing digitally if the supplier does not have one of these technologies.

PRO: It is an ideal technique to realize any type of design, in fact the printing is optimal also for high resolution photographic images. Another advantage is given by the flexibility of this technique, which gives the possibility of printing even a single piece, at a reduced cost. It does not include additional fixed costs other than printing and the chromatic result is truly exceptional.

CONS: The resistance to washing of direct digital printing is basically lower than that of screen printing, which we could define as eternal, but still long lasting. The costs of this printing technique do not allow to obtain economies of scale as the quantity purchased increases. for large quantities it could become more expensive compared to screen printing especially in the case of simple designs. It is very difficult to get good results on synthetic fabrics


This is the technique through which thermo-adhesive films are engraved through the use of cutting plotters and then subsequently applied thanks to the heat of a thermal press on the fabric.

This technique is simple as must be the design to be printed, possibly monocolor.

PRO: From the contained costs, it offers the advantages of the transfer and allows to print very simple drawings even on a single head.

CONS: The application, even if well executed, will tend to crack and ruin, also given the poor resistance to washing over time. Usually the choice of color is limited based on the colors of film available from the manufacturer.

Considerations – It is suggested not to take this technique into consideration if direct digital printing is available.


Embroidery is usually used to make small logos and the result, if applied by real professionals, gives prestige to any garment . Usually this technique is used to customize uniforms or professional clothing (hotels, restaurants, nautical clubs, etc.), with the aim of giving added value to any garment, with that something more than digital printing or screen printing.

PRO: If the embroidery is done in a workmanlike manner, the result is truly exceptional.

CONS: The construction costs are high and also includes various fixed installation costs.

Sublimatic Printing

This technique is mainly used to make allover prints,  that is, all over the garment. It is usually performed before the product assembly phase and immediately after the fabric cutting phase. Printing is carried out on a special paper by using plotters loaded with appropriate inks. Subsequently a heated calender is used, in which the printed paper is unrolled and coupled with the fabric to be impressed. At the exit from the grille the fabric will have received the ink that was given to it by the paper thanks to the temperature. It is possible to carry out this technique even on clothes that are already packaged, but in this case there will necessarily be defects due to the irregularity of the fabric once it is assembled.

PRO: The result, in terms of color brilliance, is amazing. It allows you to print the entire garment and any type of design, without any kind of limitation to nuances, details or the like.

CONS: Being a very expensive personalization system, it must be made before the product is assembled. It can be made only on fabrics with a strong presence of polyester or synthetic materials in general.

Now that you have a little clearer ideas, visit our Burger Print website  to print your t-shirts online!

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