Custom Screen Printing verses DTG printing

Phil Brown  •  Design T-shirts Online  •  

Choosing screen-printing process or digital printing process, Custom Screen Printing is easier than ever before.

Each technique offers unique advantages, so make sure to consider all factors before choosing screen-print or digital printing.

6 color automatic t-shirt press for Custom Screen Printing

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Screen Printed T-shirts

The screen-printing industry is continually growing and improving. Press and equipment companies are developing new machinery and technologies every year. This revolution has led to ground-breaking technology that has led to increased efficiency and quality. 

 

Inks play into the screen printing process with so many types of fabrics used now. While water base is a great ink for 100% cotton shirts, it’s not so great for tri-blend fabrics or polyester/cotton blends. Also, too many colors in a design using water based inks slows down the process and can cause drying in the screens.Polyester fabrics and even polyester / cotton blends, printers need to consider dye migration. 

Dye Migration on Red Shirts when Custom Screen Printing

Dye migration happens when the temperature of the fabric exceeds 330 degrees. 

So instead of having a nice bright white ink on a red shirt, you get a pink ink on a red shirt. After Custom Screen Printing on the garment, this “dyeing” effect can take up to 12 hours to show up so when it does happen, it’s usually too late to fix.

 

One of the newest inks is Silicone ink for polyester garments. While it’s more expensive than traditional Inks, the benefit outweigh the extra cost. 

Silicon ink for Custom Screen Printing

When Custom Screen Printing on polyester fabrics, Silicone inks allows the printer to dry the ink at a much lower temperature (300 degrees) not allowing dye migration to take effect. Silicone inks when fully cured, is almost indestructible. The feel on the shirt is amazing.

 

Digital-Printed T-shirts

Epson DTG Printer for Custom PrintingDigital printing, aka direct-to-garment (DTG), is a newer form of printing that involves a different kind of process. Screen-printing is generally used for larger jobs, digital can be considered when running small-to-medium sized projects.

 

Digital printing is best known for its speed when it comes to color separation and artwork – especially on dark garments. As attractive as digital printing may sound, a stone-cold reality is that screen-printed T-shirts can be considered the more desirable option when factoring in size, touch, appearance, and range of garments. Philip Brown, The Art Department‘s president, sums it up nicely, “Custom Screen Printing on shirts is far less expensive if fewer colors are used even at 12-24 garments. But, if you have less than 12 (or 1) with multi color designs, DTG is the way to go.”

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