People from different walks of life wear t-shirts with a lot of purpose or intention in mind. Some may wear it because of a significance in their lives or a strong bond or connection to a person or a thing with sentimental value. More than the size, colour, design, and print are the hidden or unspoken words, waiting to be divulged.

Types of printing explained

  • Classic silk screen process – This is typically the traditional way of printing t shirts. A layout is drawn on a separate light material and later embedded on the screen.

When done, the screen is manually placed on the shirt and colours are applied to the design. It is then left laid on a plain surface or hung to dry.

  • Direct to Garments (DTG) – Usually done by artists and other printing enthusiasts. There is no need for a time-consuming layout or a meticulous design since the concept is abstract. A concrete example is a hand or footprinting where the part of the body is soaked with paint and directly pressed on to the garment.
  • Dye sublimation – is a type of computer printing using heat to transfer dye into materials such as plastic, card, paper or fabric.  The sublimation name was first applied because the dye was considered to make the transition between the solid and the gas states without going to a liquid stage. This is ideal for light shirts or fabrics.
  • Embossed printing – Embossing refers to a method of pressing an image into a cardboard paper, a cardstock or on to a fabric or cloth to create a three-dimensional design. Text, logos and other related images can all be formed using the embossing method. It results in a raised surface with the design higher than the other surrounding area or surface.

  • Rubberised method – This is quite similar to screen printing. The only difference is the use of a special rubber in applying and pressing the textile ink into the cloth to be printed.
  • Heat press printing – uses a special type of machine or printing equipment that resembles a huge iron that is engineered to imprint a design or graphic in a substrate, such as a t-shirt, with an application of heat and pressure for a preset period of time. The finished product is assured of having a more permanent mark since all the materials used are absorbed by the fabric.
  • Vinyl printing – is also about heat transfer. You use a special machine to cut out letters and designs from coloured vinyl and heat-press them onto the t-shirt to transfer the colour to it. Vinyl printing depends on a combination of pressure and heat which generally affects the finished product.
  • Digital printing – it is a process where you reproduce a digital based image to a print format using a physical surface like paper, film, plastic, photographic paper or in this case, a textile, cloth or fabric. The process is modern with the use of computer-aided graphic and image designs.
  • Printing on transfer paper- This is by far the quickest and most practical way of t-shirt printing. The material could be a stationary or printer paper. An image is chosen from a computer and transferred to the paper and onto the fabric.
  • Photo emulsion screen printing – a process where you choose a black and white image, placing it on a transparency paper. Painting a photo emulsion on a printing screen, drying the screen in a dark location, setting up a light station, preparing the screen and image, exposing the image at your light station. Finally, washing the screen, printing image into the shirt and heat-pressing it for the desired result.