How To Print On Tees?

How To Print On Tees?

Printing on tees has become a popular way to express individuality and creativity. With the rise of custom apparel, more and more people are looking for ways to put their own designs and ideas onto t-shirts. But how exactly do you go about printing on tees? Let's explore the process and discover how you can bring your designs to life on this versatile canvas.

Printed t-shirts have a long history, dating back to the early days of screen printing. This technique involves creating a stencil or mesh screen, applying ink to the screen, and then pressing it onto the fabric to transfer the design. With advancements in technology, there are now various methods for printing on tees, including direct-to-garment (DTG) printing, heat transfer, and vinyl printing. Each method offers its own unique benefits and considerations, such as the level of detail, durability, and cost. Whether you're a business looking to create branded merchandise or an individual expressing your personal style, understanding the different printing techniques can help you achieve the desired outcome for your tees.



How To Print On Tees?

Understanding Different Printing Techniques

If you want a unique and personalized look for your t-shirts, printing your own designs is the way to go. But with so many printing techniques available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. In this article, we will explore different printing techniques for tees and guide you on how to print on them successfully.

1. Screen Printing

Screen printing is one of the most popular and traditional methods of printing on t-shirts. It involves creating a stencil (also known as a screen) and using it to apply layers of ink on the fabric.

To print on tees using the screen printing technique, you will need the following:

  • A screen with your design stencil
  • A squeegee to apply the ink
  • T-shirt blanks
  • Ink in your desired colors
  • An exposure unit or a light source for curing

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to screen print on tees:

  • Prepare your artwork and create a stencil on a mesh screen.
  • Secure the t-shirt onto a flat surface.
  • Place the screen with the stencil on top of the t-shirt.
  • Apply ink to one end of the screen.
  • Using the squeegee, pull the ink across the screen, pressing it through the stencil and onto the t-shirt.
  • Repeat the process for each color in your design.
  • Cure the ink by exposing the printed t-shirt to heat to ensure it sets permanently.

Screen printing is best suited for designs with limited colors and large quantities of t-shirts since setting up the screen can be time-consuming.

Advantages of Screen Printing

Screen printing offers the following advantages:

  • Durable and long-lasting prints
  • Ability to print on various fabrics
  • Cost-effective for large quantities
  • Allows for vibrant and opaque colors

However, it may not be the best option for intricate designs with many colors or small print runs.

Disadvantages of Screen Printing

The limitations of screen printing include:

  • Time-consuming setup process
  • Not cost-effective for small quantities
  • Not suitable for detailed designs with fine lines

2. Heat Transfer Printing

Heat transfer printing, also known as heat press printing, involves using heat and pressure to transfer images or designs onto t-shirts. It is a popular choice for DIY enthusiasts and small-scale businesses.

To print on tees using the heat transfer printing technique, you will need the following:

  • An image or design to print
  • Heat transfer paper
  • A heat press machine
  • T-shirt blanks

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to heat transfer print on tees:

  • Design or select the image you want to print.
  • Print the image onto the heat transfer paper using an inkjet printer.
  • Preheat your heat press machine to the recommended temperature.
  • Place the heat transfer paper with the printed design onto the t-shirt.
  • Apply even pressure and heat by closing the heat press machine.
  • Wait for the recommended time, then open the press and peel off the transfer paper.

Heat transfer printing allows for full-color designs, gradients, and intricate details. However, the prints may not be as durable as other printing methods and may fade over time with repeated washing.

Advantages of Heat Transfer Printing

Heat transfer printing offers the following advantages:

  • Ability to print complex and detailed designs
  • Flexible for small print runs
  • Allows for full-color prints and gradients
  • No setup time required

Additionally, heat transfer printing is perfect for personalized or one-off designs.

Disadvantages of Heat Transfer Printing

The limitations of heat transfer printing include:

  • Less durable prints compared to other methods
  • Possible cracking or peeling over time
  • Not suitable for large quantities
  • Can be more expensive per print

3. Direct-to-Garment (DTG) Printing

Direct-to-garment (DTG) printing is a modern technique that allows digital images to be printed directly onto t-shirts using a specialized printer. It offers high-quality, full-color prints with intricate details.

To print on tees using the DTG printing technique, you will need the following:

  • A DTG printer
  • T-shirt blanks

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to DTG print on tees:

  • Prepare your artwork in a digital format.
  • Pre-treat the t-shirt with a coating to enhance ink absorption.
  • Load the t-shirt onto the DTG printer's print bed.
  • Send the digital file to the printer and adjust the print settings if necessary.
  • Start the printing process and wait for the print to finish.
  • Cure the ink by either air drying or using a heat press machine.

DTG printing is ideal for complex and vibrant designs, as it can replicate intricate details accurately. However, the cost per print may be higher compared to other methods, and it is not as suitable for large-scale production.

Advantages of DTG Printing

DTG printing offers the following advantages:

  • High-quality, detailed prints
  • Vibrant and accurate colors
  • Ability to print complex designs
  • No setup time required

Moreover, DTG printing allows for customization and on-demand printing.

Disadvantages of DTG Printing

The limitations of DTG printing include:

  • Higher cost per print
  • Slower compared to other methods
  • Not as suitable for large-scale production
  • Possible color limitations on dark fabrics

4. Vinyl Cutting and Heat Press

Vinyl cutting and heat press is a popular technique for creating custom designs on t-shirts. It involves cutting shapes or letters from vinyl material and then using a heat press machine to transfer them onto the fabric.

To print on tees using the vinyl cutting and heat press technique, you will need the following:

  • A vinyl cutter
  • Heat transfer vinyl (HTV)
  • A heat press machine
  • T-shirt blanks

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use vinyl cutting and heat press on tees:

  • Design or select the shape or letters you want to cut from the vinyl.
  • Load the vinyl into the cutter and set the desired cutting settings.
  • Send the design to the vinyl cutter and let it cut the shapes.
  • Weed out the excess vinyl, leaving only the desired shapes or letters on the backing.
  • Preheat your heat press machine to the recommended temperature.
  • Place the cut vinyl onto the t-shirt with the adhesive side down.
  • Cover the vinyl with a heat-resistant sheet or parchment paper.
  • Apply even pressure and heat by closing the heat press machine.
  • Wait for the recommended time, then open the press and remove the heat-resistant sheet.

Vinyl cutting and heat press allow for durable and long-lasting prints, making it suitable for sports jerseys, promotional items, and personalized designs. However, it may not be as versatile for complex designs and multi-color prints.

Advantages of Vinyl Cutting and Heat Press

Vinyl cutting and heat press offer the following advantages:

  • Durable and long-lasting prints
  • Ability to print on a wide range of fabrics
  • No color limitations
  • Perfect for small quantities and personalized designs

This method is great for creating custom names, numbers, or unique designs.

Disadvantages of Vinyl Cutting and Heat Press

The limitations of vinyl cutting and heat press include:

  • Less suitable for complex and multi-color designs
  • Additional cost for purchasing vinyl material
  • Time-consuming for intricate designs

Exploring Different Printing Techniques - Continued

In the previous section, we discussed four popular printing techniques for tees. In this section, we will explore four more techniques.

5. Dye Sublimation Printing

Dye sublimation printing uses heat to transfer dye onto synthetic fabrics, including polyester. This technique allows for high-resolution, full-color prints that are long-lasting and durable.

To print on tees using the dye sublimation printing technique, you will need the following:

  • A dye sublimation printer
  • Sublimation ink cartridges
  • Special sublimation transfer paper
  • A heat press machine
  • Polyester t-shirt blanks

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to dye sublimation print on tees:

  • Prepare your artwork in a digital format.
  • Print the mirrored design onto the sublimation transfer paper using the dye sublimation printer and sublimation ink.
  • Preheat your heat press machine to the recommended temperature.
  • Place the sublimation transfer paper, design side down, onto the polyester t-shirt.
  • Cover the transfer paper with a heat-resistant sheet or parchment paper.
  • Apply even pressure and heat by closing the heat press machine.
  • Wait for the recommended time, then open the press and remove the heat-resistant sheet and transfer paper.

Dye sublimation printing is ideal for polyester t-shirts or fabrics and provides vibrant and long-lasting prints. However, it is not suitable for cotton or natural fibers.

Advantages of Dye Sublimation Printing

Dye sublimation printing offers the following advantages:

  • High-resolution and vibrant prints
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Great color accuracy
  • No visible ink texture or feel on the fabric

Additionally, dye sublimation printing allows for all-over prints and complex designs.

Printing on Tees: A Professional Guide

Printing on tees is a popular method of customizing apparel. Whether you're a business owner looking to promote your brand or an individual wanting to express your creativity, learning how to print on tees can be a valuable skill. Follow these steps to get started:

Step 1: Design

Begin by creating or selecting a design for your tee. Consider the colors, size, and style of your desired print. Keep in mind that simplicity often works best for effective tee designs.

Step 2: Prepare the Tee

Before printing, ensure your tee is clean and wrinkle-free. Place a cardboard or heat-resistant material inside the tee to prevent ink from bleeding through.

Step 3: Choose Your Printing Technique

There are various printing techniques to choose from, including screen printing, heat transfer, and digital printing. Research each method and select the one that aligns with your design and budget.

Step 4: Print the Tee

Follow the instructions for your chosen printing technique to transfer your design onto the tee. Ensure accuracy and precision during the printing process to achieve the desired outcome.

Step 5: Cure or Dry the Print

After printing, cure or dry your tee according to the specific requirements of your printing method.

Key Takeaways - How to Print on Tees?

  • Choose the right printing technique for your design and fabric.
  • Prepare your design by converting it to a printable format.
  • Use high-quality heat transfer paper for heat press printing.
  • Screen printing is ideal for large quantities and detailed designs.
  • Invest in a good quality heat press machine for long-lasting prints.

Frequently Asked Questions

Printing on tees can be a great way to add personality and style to your wardrobe. If you're new to the world of tee printing, you might have some questions. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about how to print on tees.

1. How do I choose the right printing method for my tees?

When it comes to printing on tees, there are several methods to choose from, including screen printing, heat transfer, and digital printing. The right method for you will depend on factors such as your design complexity, desired durability, and budget. Screen printing is ideal for large quantities and vibrant colors, while heat transfer is great for smaller orders and intricate designs. Digital printing offers a high level of detail and is suitable for smaller quantities.

Consider your specific needs and consult with a professional printing service to determine the best method for your tees.

2. What type of ink should I use for tee printing?

The type of ink you use for tee printing can greatly affect the durability and quality of the print. Depending on the printing method you choose, you will have different options for ink. For screen printing, plastisol ink is commonly used, as it provides vibrant colors and excellent opacity. Water-based ink is another option for a softer and more eco-friendly print. Heat transfer often requires special inks designed for use with this method.

It's important to select an ink that suits your design requirements and the printing method you're using. It's always a good idea to consult with a professional printer to ensure you're using the right ink for your tee printing needs.

3. How can I ensure the longevity of the printed design on my tees?

To ensure the longevity of the printed design on your tees, proper care and maintenance are essential. Always follow the care instructions provided by the printing service or manufacturer. Generally, it's recommended to wash your printed tees inside out in cold water and avoid using harsh detergents or bleach. Hang dry or use a low-heat setting in the dryer.

Avoid ironing directly on the printed design, and if possible, turn the tee inside out before ironing. By taking these precautions, you can help preserve the quality and longevity of your printed tees.

4. Can I print on any type of fabric?

The printability of a fabric may vary depending on its composition. While most tees are made of cotton, other fabrics like polyester and blends can also be suitable for printing. It's important to consider the fabric's composition and its ability to absorb or retain ink.

If you're unsure about the printability of a specific fabric, it's recommended to consult with a professional printer or test a small sample before committing to a larger order.

5. Can I print multiple colors on my tees?

Printing multiple colors on tees is possible, but the method and cost may vary depending on your design and printing method. Screen printing is commonly used for multi-color prints, as it allows for vibrant and opaque colors. Each color in the design requires a separate screen, which can increase the setup cost for multi-color prints.

If you have a complex multi-color design, it's advisable to consult with a professional printing service to determine the best method and cost for your project.



Printing on tees can be a fun and creative way to express yourself, whether it's for personal use or for a business venture. By following a few simple steps, you can achieve professional-looking results. First, choose the right type of ink and printing method that suits your needs and budget. Consider factors such as durability, washability, and color vibrancy. Next, prepare your design and make sure it is properly sized, aligned, and centered on the tee. You can use software or online tools to create your design or hire a professional designer for more intricate designs. Once your design is ready, transfer it to a stencil or screen, and apply the ink onto the tee. Use a heat press or iron to set the ink and ensure it lasts through multiple washes.

Don't forget to choose high-quality tees made of natural fibers like cotton, as they tend to hold the ink better. Experiment with different printing techniques such as screen printing, heat transfer, or DTG printing to achieve the desired effect. Take your time and practice, as printing on tees requires precision and attention to detail. Finally, always follow the manufacturer's instructions for washing and caring for the printed tees to ensure their longevity. With a little practice and creativity, you can master the art of printing on tees and create unique, customized designs for yourself or your customers.