T shirt printing basics

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    The truth behind designer T shirts

    In reality most of the designer T shirts you buy from the shops that cost around £25 will only cost £4 to actually make. The truth is making designer clothes especially T shirts isnt really that expensive at all.

    Take for example designer T shirts made by Superdry or Hollister, these companies are extremely popular due to their cool and original designs. Most of their T shirts will be Screen printed a process that is not very expensive at all.. the biggest cost is the T shirt with inks and printing only taking up a small percentage of their overall costs.

    So what is screen printing?

    Screen printing is the process of taking a template, placing it onto a shirt and “screen printing” the design straight onto the T shirt. Screen printing gives the best quality of t shirt by far. Screen printing once everything is set up can create designer fashion within seconds and is very cheap.

    Despite the advantages to screen printings there are a lot of drawbacks that make screen printing unrealistic especially for designs that are more than two colors.

    The way screen printing is done means that you must screen print each individual color onto a t shirt each time using a different template for each color. This means the more colors in your design can cause the screen printing process to become very complicated and time consuming. Even just having a one color design time and effort needed to set up the templates for printing can be very long. This means quick custom t shirt designs are off the tables for t shirt printing.

    Screen printing can be complicated and must be done right… screen printing the design onto the t shirt with the right pressure and angle and knowing how to dry the t shirts is a must to avoid poor quality prints.

    Big fashion brands such as Superdry and Hollister can afford to create production lines to minimize costs when screen printing and have everything set up ready to go with a number of trained workers to quickly and efficiently screen print without wastage and mistakes which can cost money.

    Alternatives

    Not all T shirts designs are done using screen printing there are other ways.

    DTG

    Direct to garment printing (DTG) is done using a printer that prints directly onto your t shirts. Dtg printing requires little effort however their are a few disadvantages to this method such as

    Not being as higher quality as Screen prints

    Ink costs are a lot higher than using screen print ink

    The dtg printer must be constantly running to avoid the printer heads from clogging and the printer ink from drying up and ruining. Dtg printers are also extremely expensive to maintain and fix.

    Dtg printers have problems printing on certain materials and the quality struggles with white on black prints.

    DTG are extremely expensive to buy a good one will cost at least £10, 000

    Heat transfers

    Heat transfers involve printing a heat transfer sheet using a heat press onto you t shirts. A good way to quickly print high quality personalized t shirts for customers however with this method there are quite a few drawbacks including:

    The main cost with this process is the heat transfer sheets which can cost upto £2 per sheet alone and can only be used once.

    -A good but expensive inkjet or laser printer is needed to print onto the heat transfer paper.

    -You need to use compatible inks and transfer paper.. get this wrong and your prints will turn out rubbish.

    -You need to cut around your design (very time consuming) each time you print to avoid blank white space from printing onto your t shirts.

    -Heat presses can be very dangerous machines so you must know what you are doing be fore using one. It takes skill and knowledge to know exactly what heat and pressure is needed to print a good quality t shirt.

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