How can a T-shirt printing specialist help me?
How can a T-shirt printing specialist help me?
We all wear T-shirts at some time, sometimes when dressing casually and on other occasions when presenting a more formal appearance. We dress in T-shirts which are either aimed at expressing our individuality and unique approach to life in general, or which unite a group of people in a common cause, wordlessly telling onlookers that each member of the group is part of a single team. T-Shirts are used as a form of passive yet forceful advertising, proudly bearing a company’s logo as part of ongoing visual marketing. Whilst this kind of advertising is relatively low-key, it is definitely noticed, whether the observer is aware of it or not. T-shirts are mostly easy-going clothing – easy to wear, easy to see and read, easy to care for and great for packing into hold-alls when travelling. Want to say something? Want to get your message across without actually speaking a word? Use a well-designed and eye-catching slogan on a T-shirt. Want to make people laugh, encourage them to think, transmit a message, remind them of your name? Print your message on a T-shirt and then get out there and wear it!
T-shirts are versatile
I remember seeing a young boy a long time ago who looked to me like a typical “Dennis-the-Menace”, full of mischief and liable to get himself into all kinds of scrapes. When he turned to walk away from me, his T-shirt said it all – printed in large letters on the back were the words, “It Wasn’t Me …”. That message stuck in my head for so many reasons, yet the wearer had not said a single word. The bridegroom at a relaxed wedding wore a white T-shirt with a black tie printed on it under his casual jacket, which summed up the atmosphere of the occasion perfectly. A bright red-T-shirt worn by a particularly attractive young woman had the words, “I do it in …” on the front and a large single word “Style” on the back, with the telephone number of the hair salon of the same name. Eye-catching, and very effective marketing! Sporting clubs often have their own printed T-shirts, as do companies, especially at team-building events, which serve the further purpose of uniting individual members into a cohesive team. Whether wearing a T-shirt which identifies you as an individual who has something to say, or unites you with others in a common cause, the possibilities are almost endless.
T-shirt printing process
There are basically five different methods of printing onto T-shirts
Screen Printing. This is the most common and cost effective of method of T-shirt printing for larger quantities, used by both professionals and home hobbyists, and uses two basic types of ink. Screen printing is a specific printing process in which a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a specific surface. Areas which are not to be printed may be protected from ink saturation through the use of a blocking stencil. Screen printing is generally used for basic letter printing or single colour images. Originally an ink compound called Plastisol was widely used as it was extensively absorbed by fabric, allowing for fairly lengthy durability as it was not easily washed out – or peeled off – by repeated washing. The second type of ink is water-based, which is becoming the more popular choice, mainly due to its eco-friendly properties and ease of clean up using only water. Plastisol inks can only be cleaned up through the use of hard solvents which are non-biodegradable. Plastisol inks themselves contain harmful substances such as PVC, phthalates, CFC, HCFC, lead or other heavy metals, which are obviously not a welcome addition to any wardrobe. It is recommended that screen printing be done on cotton or cotton blend fabrics, i.e. natural fabrics as opposed to man-made materials, as these absorb the ink better. However, screen printing may be carried out on 100% polyester using special inks with additives.
Once an item has been ironed or heat has been applied to the material, the screen print becomes permanent, although it can be removed with acetone.
Direct to Garment (DTG), also called digital garment printing and inkjet to garment printing. In this method of printing, a specialised printer is used to apply general CMYK water-based inks direct to the fabric using inkjet technology. The most common use is in the application of graphics to a garment, especially T-shirts. Shirts printed in this manner need to undergo a curing period, as with screen printing, in order to withstand washing processes. They may also be overprinted with a hot stamping foil which can be exceptionally eye-catching, as well as presenting an overall impression of luxury. However, over time and exposure to harsh sun and detergents, digital printing images will eventually fade.
Dye Sublimation. In this type of printing, heat is used to transfer dyes onto light-textured man-made materials such as nylon, certain plastics, and polyester fabrics, as these contain polymers which, when heated, enable the bonding of ink to the fabric. This type of printing is a good option for large or complex designs. It is not suited to natural fabrics such as cotton due to the lack of polymers in the material, and the results will therefore be poor on these fabrics. This type of T-shirt printing is not economical for small quantities.
Heat Press Machine Printing. This type of printing is a good option for many different types of fabrics where the image is transferred by heat onto the receiving material, and is particularly good for printing onto T-shirts. Heat presses are more economical on shorter runs.
Vinyl Cutting. This is a heat transfer process using pre-cut vinyl stencils in the colours of your design. The vinyl itself is cut per individual design, and then applied to the T-shirt through a combined process of heat and pressure. This process uses individual colours separately, and does not offer full-colour images as such. It must be noted that normal adhesive vinyl cannot be used in this process, as it will not last since it is similar to sticking a label onto a piece of material and expecting it to remain there permanently.
How to find the right T-shirt printing specialist
Check their online ratings and customer reviews
Since businesses are catching on to the marketing potential of printed T-shirts, and many clothing stores are now offering T-shirts with a wide range of designs, it is clear that printed T-shirts are constantly growing in popularity and demand. T-shirt printing specialists can easily be found through advertisements in magazines, clothing catalogues, newspapers, flyers and the Yellow Pages. They are most easily located through searching the internet, as many of them now have their own websites. Uptasker is a highly useful resource when looking online for T-shirt printers in your local area, as it lists specialists in specific geographical areas, providing the names, contact details, links to websites (if available), online rating and customer reviews. Through this site, you will be able to request quotes from different contractors for easy and quick comparison, and will be able to see exactly the sort of printing each company offers, to see which best suits your needs. Many of these T-shirt printing specialists have their own online catalogues, in which they showcase previous commissions. Any T-shirt printing specialist should be able to offer a design service and to produce artwork as required. It is probably personal choice whether you want them to provide the T-shirts to be overprinted, or prefer to supply these yourself. If you are planning a long run (large quantity) of T-shirts for any specific event or club, and want to assure yourself of the quality of the final printed product, ask to see previous samples at the printer’s premises, or check around for personal referrals to obtain the best recommendation.
MINIMUM ORDER IS 10 TEES
Tips on Eco-Friendly T-Shirt Printing
However, as people are becoming more environmentally #woke, products that are eco-friendly and sustainable have been popping out here and there. If it’s right up in your alley but you don’t know where to start, this article will guide you. Here are some tips to help you get immersed with custom t-shirts in an eco-friendly way.
Right now, many eco-friendly shirts are sold in the market. All, you have to do is choose what kind of shirt you want. Listed below are some of the popular choices.
Organic cotton shirts are safer to wear because they’re pesticide-free and easier to wash. Simultaneously, cotton shirts are hypoallergenic and durable so it lasts a long time.
Bamboo-based apparels are soft to touch and is more absorbent than cotton. These kinds of shirts are perfect for winter and summer.
Also known as Lyocell shirts, it is a great choice for t-shirt printing. It’s compatible with most water-based inks and is blended with cotton, produces a lustrous silky feeling.
Select a sustainable printing technique
Water-based screen printing
Rather than opting for plastisol inks, try using water-based ink. Even though plastisol inks are inexpensive and good for mass production, there is still a risk of PVC and phthalate mixing in with your shirt. Water-based ink, however, is a greener alternative. Output wise, printed shirts using water-based inks produce a softer and sharper print and at the same time is more durable.
Besides, water-based inks are easier to clean and much less messy than plastisol.
Opt for environment-friendly packaging
Since you’re going green, then make sure you are consistent. Whether you’re starting a printing business or just handing your shirts as gifts, don’t forget to wrap them up nicely and sustainably.
Instead of buying new gift wrappers or bags, you can recycle the ones you may have kept in your drawers. If you’re doing business, make sure that the suppliers you’re working with have the same vision and beliefs as you have.
Ensure proper filtration systems
Never drain your wastewater down the drain. Well, not directly. Invest in a proper filtration system. Even though you’re using toxic-free materials, it doesn’t mean that when it’s mixed with other chemicals, it would stay the same. So, make sure to properly observe proper waste disposal so as not to harm other people.
It’s good to be environmentally aware and involved. Not only can you benefit from it but also your loved ones and potential customers as well. Being creative and being eco-friendly can be done at the same time. Printing eco-friendly shirts not only makes you look good (businesswise and reputation-wise), but look good as well.
Contact Same Day Print Team
Same-Day Print is a well-established t-shirt printing company in Pretoria. A very popular method of printing T-shirts is Heat Transfer. This is done using a printable media called Video Flex which can be digitally printed and then cut out in various shapes and sizes, the media is then heat pressed onto a garment or material such as shirts or bags.