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Cotton T Shirt Printing: Ultimate Guide in Making and Selling Quality Products for Your Business


More about T shirt Printing: T Shirt Printing Singapore

Article that may interest you: Which is best for Cotton T Shirt Printing?

Are you thinking about starting your own printing business or selling your brand of custom cotton t shirts? If yes, then you should be aware of the difference between the various printing techniques. Why? Because there are printing methods that are suitable for particular fabrics, and it would also depend on the quantity ordered. Additionally, the technique you will choose will be influenced by how many colors you have in your design that you want to print. Some variables and factors need to be considered before you begin printing.

Digital technology has created a huge impact on t-shirt printing choices, and there are new emerging techniques today. However, the traditional way still is staying as one of the best options there is. A printing method called plastisol transfers uses the combination of pressure and heat, which is an awesome choice, depending on the needs of the client.

Let’s dig a little deeper to get a better understanding. This is your ultimate guide to make and sell quality custom tees.


Cotton T Shirt Printing Methods for Quality Tees


Did you know that this is the most common and well-known technique for shirt printing? It has been used for ages! Now, it can be done by hand or with the use of machines. It is famous for the screen printing inks it uses because they are thicker, which will make the printed design last longer with more vibrant and true-to-life colors. High-quality links are very crucial to ensure they won’t fade instantly.


This is a preferable option for those who require bulk printing. Factors you need to watch out for are the size of the design, the squeegee pressured applied, the number of strokes and mesh count to know the number of shirts you can print on using one gallon of ink for screen printing. It is very cost-efficient.



  • The ink is absorbed by the shirt deeply, achieving bright and vivid colors with extreme durability.
  • Once everything is set up in place, hundreds of shirts using the same designs can be printed quickly.
  • It is well-suited with almost all types of fabrics using the right inks and screens.



  • It’s messy, not recommended to do it in a small space at home.
  • It needs a huge space to set-up a good screen printing area.
  • Space must be dust-free and dark to preserve ink and screens.
  • The artwork placement is limited.
  • The learning curve is steep.



           It is an inkjet technology that can print full-color, excellent quality, and photographic prints on a t-shirt directly. It is compatible with artwork or designs that are too complicated for other printing methods to take on, like screen printing, for example. DTG method uses a machine that has a big color mixing potential, which lets it print even the most little details.


If you only need one to five shirts, this is the best option. It’s easy to load up a blank t-shirt and print the design right away without having to do multi-steps to complete the printing process.



  • You can print as many colors that you need.
  • Compared to screen printing, the set-up time for DTG is low. The printed cotton shirts can be done in less than 30 minutes.
  • The machines are not that big, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space, which allows more mobility in your workspace.
  • The ink cartridges the machine has won’t allow any spillage, unlike screen printing.
  • The DTG machines print on the fabric directly. You will not feel the “print” on the cloth when you try to touch it.



  • It is only suitable with 100% cotton shirts or fabrics containing high amounts of cotton. The cottony the shirt is, the more intense the printing result is.
  • DTG machines can be super costly.
  • Over time, the colors wash out.
  • Artwork placement is limited.
  • The machine for DTG printing needs maintenance.




One of the most famous variants of heat transfer printing is the Dye-Sublimation Printing. It is done by digitally printing the graphics and after that, it will be heated so that the dye will be transferred to the t-shirts.


Dye-sublimation printing works with the use of dye-based ink, which when heated, turns into a gas. It differs from other heat transfer techniques for the reason that using heat, time, and pressure causes dye-based inks to go from solid to gas then back to solid all over again. It’s very unique in the sense that the gas joins the polyester, which turns out to be part of the material and not only a layer on top.


Dye-sublimation printing outdoes screen printing nor DTG printing in terms of all-over print effect. Hence, the distinctive design in

all-over print t-shirts let stylists wholly express themselves and make unique




  • The ink becomes part of the shirt, making it last longer.
  • It is soft to touch and is breathable at the same time.
  • The printed designs won’t crack, deteriorate, or peel.



  • The folds and pleats or parts under the sleeves stay undyed.
  • It only works with poly-blend shirts.
  • The method is expensive.




Heat press printing works like dye sublimation, of course with little variances. It is very effective in smaller numbers of t-shirts. It is reasonably an easy way to do it if you want to test with your design. One of the main benefits of this process is that it can copy very intricate designs. The result is a soft, nice shirt with a durable a bright design. You have the option to utilize the full range of colors to achieve the preferred outcome.


One thing you need is the transfer paper. After the design has been printed on this type of paper, heat and pressure are applied to copy it on the t shirt. Once done, the transfer paper is removed, and the excess dye is stripped off. It is a simple process, and this type of replication is also done for ceramic decoration.


It is an economical option that can be great for home production. Quality is high, and no limitation in design. It works great on lighter fabrics but is not recommended for materials with low heat sensitivity.



  • A cost-effective process for small quantities.
  • A process that is fairly simple to perform.
  • Great for home production or starting a business in shirt printing.
  • Reproductions are of excellent quality.



  • Not great on darker materials.
  • Not suitable with t shirts that cannot handle high heat.
  • Printing takes longer.



The main thing in this option is the cutting process. Unlike the other methods mentioned, it has very precise cutting for the material, the pattern will then be applied after on the fabric. It is good for minimal and bulk quantities. But, it is primarily utilized for small designs like logos and brands. You can commonly find this type of printing process in the sports industry.


To tailor the preferred design, it starts with utilizing a professional CAD cutter. To transfer the design on the t shirt, it will need the heat press method.


You can play with various colors since a vinyl cutting machine will be used. It is mainly used and great for small designs because the shirt will lose its flexibility after the design has been applied.


It can be the best substitute to screen printing in terms of mass quantity production because the process is fast and simple. However, it needs a special kind of printing equipment. A professional CAD cutter is needed to create the patterns.



  • Great with small and large orders.
  • Wide range of colors and designs available.
  • The shirts are very durable.
  • Design won’t crack.



  • Needs a CAT cutter.
  • Best for small designs only.
  • The flexibility of the shirt is reduced.



           In high-tech times, machines have been mainly an option when printing on fabric. But the old ways of printing continue to exist. This process is mainly preferred by hobbyists since they have all the freedom to express and experiment with their ideas. But the outcome will greatly depend on the skills.


It may be one of the most basic printing methods. A spray or fabric paint is used to color the shirts. Checking the quality of shirts in advance is crucial in terms of choosing the colors.


The process is straightforward, the color is directly applied or sprayed on the t shirt. All you need to do is to wait for the paint to dry up. One issue here is the color’s durability, which may fade away in time.


This is a perfect method for artists who want to have a more unique style in their clothing brands.



  • Design choices are unlimited.
  • It is cheaper.
  • Experience in creating the designs on the shirt manually.



  • Fewer results in durability.
  • The design quality is lower.
  • Not a great option for bulk orders.


Highlights of Each Method 


           Here are the highlights and some examples of which printing method fits best:

  • Best for large orders – Screen Printing
  • Best for Organic materials and inks – Screen Printing, DTG, Transfer Printing
  • Best for any type of fabric – Screen Printing, DTG
  • High print quality – Screen Printing, DTG, Transfer Printing
  • Complicated designs – DTG, Transfer Printing
  • Versatility in the placement of design – Screen Printing, Transfer Printing
  • Unlimited Colors ­– DTG, Transfer Printing
  • Print Durability – Screen Printing, DTG, Transfer Printing
  • Minimum orders – would depend on the printing company.
  • Soft-to-touch finish – DTG


Although not all printing methods are shown in the highlights, at least you have an idea of what might work best for you. You can also clarify with the printing company the different printing techniques that they offer.


How to Market Your Shirts Effectively


Are you thinking about waiting for your stocks or printed shirts to arrive before marketing your t shirt business? You don’t have to! There are several ways for you to promote your brand in advance. This way, you’ll know what to expect in terms of quantity, the design that’s preferred by your market, and other factors. However, you still have to make sure that your stocks are on your way so that you will not be delayed with your delivery.


Tip #1: Use Mockups on Your Site


You can post the attractive designs of your shirt on your website. You can have models wear them. But not all have the time and budget to hire models and do a photo shoot. T-shirt mockups help in marketing your shirts more professionally and elegantly without having to leave the comforts of your home or office.


Tip #2: Promote with Shirt Ad Mockups


You can use social media in promoting your business, like Facebook or Instagram, for instance. It will be easier to target your market through these platforms. You can add shirt mockups with texts like “Summer Sale” or “Discounts” to convince or entice your market to go to your website and shop.


Tip #3: Purchase Affordable Video Marketing


Video marketing is not expensive. Even in the comforts of your home, you can make videos with people or models that are wearing your custom-designed shirts. You can upload the videos to your social media business pages and advertise there.


The Best Technique

Choosing the best technique will depend on several factors. You will want to take note of the following.


Best Price-Quality Technique – the best technique in terms of price versus quality would be screen printing.


Best Technique for Large-Scale – the best method for large or bulk orders is screen printing.


Best Technique for Printing Fast – the best process in printing quickly is transfer printing.


Customer FAQs


Here are some common questions from customers asking about shirt printing.


Pricing FAQs

How do you calculate the price?– It will depend on the type of garment, quantity, colors, location.


  1. How can I reduce the cost of my order?

– You can print using white t shirts. Use fewer colors. Increase the quantity of your order. Fewer printing locations on the shirt.


Printing FAQs

  1. What printing method is best for me?

– Screen printing is preferably used in 6 or more pieces. DTG is mostly an option for those who have less than 6 pieces or if you need to use more colors.


  1. What is my design’s maximum print area?

– Adult shirts (standard size): Full Front: 12” wide; Max – 13.5” x 17”. Full Back: 12” wide; Max – 13.5” x 17”. Left or Right Breast: 4”. Upper Back Neck: 4”

– Youth shirts (standard size): Full Front: 9”. Full Back: 9”. Left or Right. Breast: 3”. Upper Back Neck: 3”


  1. Can I print on the sleeves?

– Yes.


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