How to Print T-Shirts

How To Print T-Shirts

Printing T-shirts can be a fun hobby or even a lucrative side hustle, depending on your prerogative, but no matter how you choose to approach T-shirt printing, you must take the same steps in order to properly get started. 

Getting Started

Before you can learn how to print on T-shirts, the first step is to decide on a design for the shirt. It could be your company’s logo, your band’s name, or a silly little cartoon. Regardless of what you ultimately choose, this is the time to really let your creativity run wild. 

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Choosing Your Printing Method

Once you’ve chosen and prepared your design, the next step is deciding which printing method you want to use. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular T-shirt printing techniques to help you learn and determine which one is right for you:

Heat Transfer Printing

Heat transfer printing is a broad term used to describe any printing method that involves transfer sheets and the application of heat to affix a design. There are several methods of heat transfer printing, but two of the most popular methods are dye-sublimation printing and plastisol transfer printing. 

Dye-Sublimation Printing

Dye-sublimation printing involves digitally printing a design onto transfer paper using dye-based inks. Using a sublimation printer, the design is then transferred onto the T-shirt by applying high levels of heat that force the ink to sublimate — go directly from a solid to a gas, skipping the liquid state — after which the ink cools and returns to a solid as it’s enmeshed in the T-shirt. 

Unfortunately, startup costs are very high for this type of printing. 

Plastisol Transfer Printing

When people think of how to print designs on T-shirts, plastisol transfer printing is actually what most people are familiar with. Designs are first printed onto plastisol transfer paper, and then the design is transferred using a heat press. Plastisol transfer printing is relatively simple and straightforward, but it is more prone to cracking and peeling since the design merely sits on top of the shirt rather than in its material.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is usually considered to be one of the best methods for printing T-shirts, which involves layering the colors of a design onto a shirt one at a time using specialized stencils called “screens.” Each screen deposits a specific color where it is needed in the design. The final result is a crisp, dynamic, and professional-looking T-shirt. 

Although screen printing is many people’s preferred method, it requires a lot of space to properly set up. Additionally, learning how to screen-print T-shirts requires a serious time commitment. 

Professional Screen Printing near You

It may make sense to print your own T-shirts if you’re expanding your personal wardrobe or if you’re making a small batch for your business or an upcoming event, but if you need a large batch of shirts and don’t have time to learn how to screen-print T-shirts, it may make more sense to turn to a professional. 

At Groggy Dog, we are proud to provide high-quality, professional screen printing services across Texas. Contact us today to learn more or to get started on your next design.