How Does T-Shirt Printing Work?

T-shirt printing services might seem like something that’s been around for decades, but the truth is that they have only actually been an option for customers for the past ten or so years. Before then, the only way to transfer an image to a garment was via heat treatment; with many services relying on large irons to literally cook an image onto a shirt.

These days however, there are two new techniques that can be used and they are known as screen printing and direct to garment printing options.

How does screen printing work?

A t-shirt is actually a mass of finely woven fibres that are brought together in a tight fashion and held together with hemlines. The same can be said for any modern garment and thanks to the way that machines are able to sew these items of clothing, they are now stronger than ever before. Screen printing works by relying on the interwoven fibres of garments to withstand the pressure of a pre-prepared plate that possesses an image.

The image is pressed onto the t-shirt and held in place, allowing time for the ink to soak into the fibres in a controller fashion. The result is a moderately detailed image that once dried, will be able to withstand washing time and time again.

What about direct to garment printing?

In some cases a person might prefer a more detailed approach to their printed t-shirt than screen printing can offer. In these instances, direct to garment printing works in much the same way as a regular printer would transfer ink to paper. Once the shirt is laid out and properly positioned, a printing jet can spray ink as required to create a pattern or an image.

This method can last just as long as screen printing as far as washing and drying is concerned, but with the additional bonus of being more detailed from the offset. Where screen printing is better suited to bulk prints, direct to garment is ideal for higher quality printing requirements.