Learning how to design a shirt is very important and being familiar with different types of t-shirt printing is a part of that learning. Dealing with a riot of colours and advanced printing machines is indeed a big mechanism. 


It would help if you had a strong idea of the types of top-notch, available shirt printing methods. Even before you go for a shirt printing machine, you better learn the types of t-shirts printing. Do you know why? Simply because it will help you come up with a better decision.


Let’s say you are a t-shirt printing london startup. Then it is a must for you to get familiar with all the available types so that you can smartly meet your customers’ demands. And even if you are a customer just trying to secure sound knowledge to get the best result with your small or bulk t shirt print order, this guide is also for you. 


Let’s go!


Types of T-shirt Printing


This guide will help you understand what a wide range of t-shirt printing methods is there! Just go through them one by one to see which one is ideal for you. 


1.  Screen Printing


Want to know how to screen print t shirts? 


Well, for printing in bulk, screen printing or silkscreen printing is the most popular printing method. This method uses screens to apply ink to the t-shirts. It requires a stencil and a nylon mesh to work. The nylon mesh holds the stencil in position. You need to press up against cloth to place paint onto t-shirts one colour per screen. 


The equipment you require is screens, exposure unit, press, and dryer to create screen printed t shirts. 


You may wonder about the variations oft shirtscreen printing techniques. These are- 


  • Crackle finish

  • UV glow finish

  • Glitter finish

  • Gel printing

  • Glow in the dark finish

  • Puff Print technique

  • Suede finish


This is a cost-effective solution for tshirt printing provided that you have to be efficient in using it. However, screen printing is not favourable for multi-colour designs for a small run. In that case, it costs a lot.  


2. Direct to Garments (Dtg) 


Make your own t shirt. You will need DTG Printer and Heat Press for this. It is the most get-at-able system to print shirts. If you are thinking of colourful designs for small lots, then DTG is the best way for you. You can easily do it yourself. 


It works like a paper printer where the ink goes into the fabric directly. You will find its primary usage for cotton blend t-shirts. It greatly works with complex or super complex designs. Hobbyists are in love with this t shirt printing! 


3. Heat Press Printing/Laser Iron-on Transfer


Do you know how to design t-shirts with multi colours and super complex details? Or, how to put a picture on the shirt?


Well, The Inkjet or Laser Iron-on Transfer can pave the way for you. It is an apt solution for small orders. Along with inkjet, you will need transfer paper & heat press as your t-shirt printer. You will have to use the inkjet or laser printer for the selected design. You can even print digital photographs with this! 


This method is popular for the best custom t shirts, to be more exact customized graphic t-shirts. Also, this method will reduce your printing cost and time. Just remember that it doesn’t work with dark fabrics adequately. 


4. Dye Sublimation Printing


This is one of the major types of t-shirt printing. Haven’t you seen any big design spread onto a whole t-shirt? It is indeed the magic of dye sublimation!


Perhaps you’re craving something like, “I want to design my own shirt!” Then you better have a sound knowledge of dye sublimation and t shirt printing machine handling.


Or let your tshirt print by this method through a printing shop. It uses white polyester t-shirts for printing shirts. It’s even workable on 50% polyester blend t-shirts and pre-treated fabrics. You’ll need a sublimation printer, heat press, inks, and release paper for this clothing printing. Despite being expensive, dye sublimation is popular for sharp and crunchy production.


5. Cad Cut Vinyls


This is popular for its sustainability in printing t shirts with logos, numbers, and names. This is a cheap and quick t shirt printing solution. 


This method uses a vinyl cutting machine to make a unique piece of clothing and ultimately to have t shirts printed. The cutouts of vinyl or film are matt or gloss finish. You will have various types of prints and patterns of vinyl out there. The standard equipment for this method is Cutter or Plotter, Vinyl, and Heat Press. 


During this procedure, the printing experts cut a special vinyl to give it a shape or design; then, they use heat to place it on the t-shirt. You better use an iron box to make the best use of this t shirts printing technique. 


It allows you to use different layers to print different colours of a design. It is widely used to design a tee shirt, slogan, sportswear, or small graphics. However, the cutting of designs one after another is a bit time-worthy. So, it would be wise to rely on a printing and design hub like Print Britannia to print t shirt by this method. 


6. Plastisol Transfers


For professional t-shirt printing, the Plastisol Transfer technique is also handy. It is called indirect screen printing, for being similar to screen printing. You know why? Because you need to transfer the ink to plastisol into a transfer paper instead of transferring it to the t shirts directly.


You just need a heat press and transfer sheets, but we recommend having premium heat transfer paper.


7. Belt Printing


Here is another substantial printing practice among the types of t-shirt printing. Do you need to print shirt all around?


Well, the belt printing is praiseworthy for large prints. It covers the whole t-shirt along with the seams in the printing machine. You can print the whole front or back or both parts of your t-shirt. 


You can design a t-shirt of top-notch quality. However, this is not a cheap tshirt printing method. The t-shirt printing machine it uses is expensive. That’s the reason for it’s being uncommon too! 


8. Resist Dyeing


The resist dyeing is adorable for custom shirt printing.


In resist-dyeing, professionals do use batik and tie for tshirt printing. It creates a tremendous pattern upon the t-shirt in the clothes printing machine. You need to shroud the t-shirt in threads. Then select the space you want to colour and do not want to colour. Afterwards, put it into dyeing as your t shirt material. 


9. Stencil Printing


You might be thinking- what is the t-shirt design or t shirt print shop near me! 


Then let us introduce you to the best DIY custom tshirt printing. And it is none but the stencil printing. This method requires-


  • A durable stencil

  • Brushes

  • Best paints and 

  • The exact placement of the design


The most challenging part is connecting the design areas. Some designs won’t allow you to do so easily. So here you need not only a shirt printing machine but also an expert. 


10. Cut & Sew


Learn how to make your shirt on a  tshirt printer. 


Perhaps you lust for a custom printed fabric, or you want to please your customers. Then use the cut and sew technique. 


After printing the chosen design all over the shirts, you need to sew the garments. You will have RGB colours to apply to the fabric. Let the t shirt print simply!  


11. Discharge Printing


Let the t shirt print in a different reverse system. You need to bleach the shirt by discharge inks to separate the dye. It will ensure imprint on the exterior part. Besides, a reliable shirt printer prefers cotton to print tshirts this way. 


Final Words


There are numerous advantages of t-shirt printing both from user and business perspectives; they are versatile, easy to produce, comfortable, and comparatively far cheaper than other garments. So, whether from the customer or producer end, you must have been acquainted with its necessity and popularity. Especially as a producer, you may have an upgraded printer for shirts, but a sound knowledge of different types of t-shirt printing was a prerequisite. Hopefully, you have got that down right here!