T-shirt Designs: Screen Print Or Heat Transfer?

The t-shirt is arguably one of the most popular articles of clothing out there. You don’t go a single day without going outside and seeing someone wearing a custom t-shirt. These shirts can have literally anything printed on them – whether it’s a favorite band, movie, a funny slogan, a favorite vacation spot… you name it, it’s probably printed on a shirt somewhere. So what’s the best way to get the design onto the t-shirt?

Screen printing vs. Heat transfer: what are they?
The screen printing technique means that a stencil is transferred onto a t-shirt via a screen, special paint blocking ink, and screen printing paint. The end result looks clean, high-quality, and will last a long time, provided proper care is given. This is a very popular option for high-quality shirts. It could cost a little more than heat transfer, but it will last longer, and is generally of a higher quality.

The second option for custom t-shirts is the heat transfer technique. You print the design onto a piece of heat-transfer paper, cut it out, and then iron it onto a t-shirt. This is certainly easier, and a lot less expensive. However, it’s not as long lasting and attractive as a screen printed design, and it doesn’t look as good.

When should you use each technique?
So when is each option appropriate? A screen printed tee is good if you are trying to make a high quality shirt. If you’re trying to sell these shirts in a shop, or online, then this is your best bet. This is the option you pick if you’re trying to make a fashionable shirt of great quality, that you plan on wearing often. Most band t-shirts, or t-shirts with art on them, are screen printed. Shirts that you see in upscale boutiques, or in clothing stores online, use this technique as well. It usually looks the best.

An iron-on shirt is still good, even if it isn’t for high quality shirts. It’s a useful technique if the shirt is being handed out for free at an event or if someone with limited skill in making clothes needs to make a bunch of shirts. You can’t expect these shirts to last forever – most of the time, the print on the shirt gets damaged and worn in the wash rather quickly. However, it’s great to put a brand name on, or hand out free at an event to get the name of your company or business out there.

Which one to pick?
So which technique is better? It depends on what you’re using it for, in the long run. If you want some t-shirts quickly and easily, and don’t have much money to spend, try iron-on transfers. If you have a little more time, money, creative skill, and want the end product to look like wearable art, then try to screen print your custom t-shirt. It’s not that one is better than the other – they are just both for different things.

Sarah Moore understands the importance of custom shirts and what they can do for your business. When it comes to a Toronto t-shirt printing company, she always chooses the professional work at Champions Print Studio. They offer a variety of custom shirts, bags, shorts, and much more! Visit their website today to learn more!