Printed Clothing

Alongside embroidered clothing there is an alternative method of branding – printed clothing.

This is normally associated with perhaps t shirts produced with a screen printed slogan. In fact there are several different printing methods, each having its own specific benefits.

Clothing Printing Methods

1) Screen printing

Most garments can be screen printed, with each colour being laid down one after the other. A separate “screen” is required for each colour and this can increase the cost of setting up a screen printing job, as each is charged separately resulting in it only being economic to use this method in quantities greater than about 50.

This type of printing is great for high volume promotional items such on printed t shirts and printed polo shirts.

2) Vinyl or polyester film printing

This is ideal for smallish quantities using only generally one colour but up to 3 or 4 can be used. The logo or graphics are first cut on a cutter plotter. This produces a reversed image on a mylar carrier sheet, which is then applied to the garment using a heat press, the carrier sheet being removed after pressing. The results of this printing method are very durable allowing for hot machine washing.

Important applications are sports clothing – such as cricket and football kit numbers and names and the branding of corporate clothing and workwear with logos and names.

3) Sublimation Printing

Special inks are used in ink jet printers to produce a reversed out image onto chemically coated transfer papers. The paper is then applied to the garments using a heat press. As it does so chemicals are released from the paper producing a complete 4 colour image on to the garments. Only certain types of
specially treated clothing will take sublimation images properly and so applications can be restricted. Also used on solid objects such as mouse mats and mugs with excellent results.

4) Transfer printing

Similar in many ways to sublimation printing in that the special ink from the ink jet printer is “transferred” directly into the fabric of the cloth. There are several variations on this method using proprietary materials from companies such as Magic Touch.

Popular applications are for short runs producing full four colour images including photos onto t shirts etc.

5) Direct to garment printing

Direct to garment printing is becoming more widely available but high capital equipment costs is restricting take up of this rapidly evolving technology by many companies.

As there are so many options to consider when buying printed clothing, do contact us for advice on the best method to use for your particular application.

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