Choosing DTG (direct to garment) or screen printing

Deciding Between DTG and Screen Printed Shirts

Looking to order some custom t-shirts? If so, that’s a great idea! It doesn’t matter if you want a custom t-shirt for your company or are looking to make a special memento for a loved one, custom t-shirts are a great choice. If you’ve been hunting around for t-shirts you’ve probably noticed that there are two primary ways to get your custom tees printed up: direct-to-garment (DTG) and screen printing. We’ll explain the difference between the two and also the pros and cons of each, so read on!

Historically speaking, screen printing has been perhaps the most common way to make custom t-shirts. This is especially true with bulk orders. With screen printing, a stencil is used and ink is applied in layers onto the printing surface. As a stencil must be created, there is usually a setup fee. Creating small quantities of t-shirts and other custom garments with screen printing can get pricey but once the stencil is created, printers can quickly churn out large quantities of t-shirts.

So what is direct-to-garment printing? Well the name pretty much gives it away. When you choose DTG printing, a t-shirt printer will print directly on the t-shirt itself, using a computer to control the printer and create high quality images. Basically, your t-shirt or any other cloth material will become the canvas on which the printers will create their art. The quality of the final t-shirt will depend largely on the skill of the printers you chose, but with DTG t-shirts it’s possible to get photo realistic quality t-shirts.

Choosing Between DTG and Screen Printing

DTG printing is on the newer side and is quickly gaining popularity. There are lots of pros to DTG printing, including the fact that there is no minimum order. Further, there is no setup fee. So if you just want a small number of t-shirts, make sure you consider this method of printing. You can also customize each t-shirt with names, numbers, and other things. With screen printing, usually every shirt will be identical.

DTG printing usually isn’t a good idea for large orders, however, as on a per t-shirt basis it can get expensive. The savings for bulk orders with DTG printing is usually much smaller than for screen printing. So if you are going to order a lot of shirts, screen printing may be the better option.

Generally speaking, thicker layers of ink are also used in screen printing when compared to DTG printing. Screen printing looks great on just about any color t-shirt whereas DTG printing usually works best with lighter color t-shirts. The thicker layers of ink used in screen printing also allows printers to make very vibrant colors. At the same time, a good DTG printer can add extra details and higher resolution images.

Both types of printing processes can produce high-quality custom t-shirts. If you are trying to decide between the two, you should first figure out what you need and why. For example, if you’re ordering t-shirts for a graduating class at a large high school, screen printing is probably your best bet. On the other hand, if you just want t-shirts for a small student group, DTG printing may be a better option.

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