Digital T-Shirt printing refers to the process of printing your graphic/photo/text or any type of design onto a T-Shirt using either an inkjet or a color laser printer. There are a few ways to accomplish this however we are going to focus on printing with T-Shirt transfers.
This method begins by using T-Shirt transfer paper. This is a special, coated paper that is designed to be printed on and then pressed onto the T-Shirt Comme des Garçons . There are essentially two types of this paper; one for using on white and light colored fabrics and another designed for dark color shirts.
This is the same process where you can buy T-Shirt transfer paper at places like Staples and Wal-Mart, and then press it onto the T-Shirt yourself. The difference is, good T-Shirt printers use commercial grade transfer paper and apply the transfers to the T-Shirts using a commercial heat press. This combination plus the expertise of the T-Shirt printer gives an excellent looking and durable T-Shirt.
There are numerous advantages and a few disadvantages to digital custom T-Shirt printing using transfers.
The first benefit is that if you need one unique or simply a few T-Shirts then this method is perfect. You print just what you need. Many T-Shirt printing processes like screen printing require a minimum number of shirts.
The next advantage is that you can have full color printing. Since your design is printed with a color laser or an inkjet printer you are able to have as many colors as you like. This allows photos or graphics with gradient fills (blending from one color or shade to another color or shade) to easily be used.
Third. There is no setup involved. Unlike screen printing there is no additional preparation needed in the printing of digital T-Shirt transfers. You just make your image the size you want on the T-Shirt. You then “mirror” or “flip” your print job so that when it is printed onto the T-Shirt it will be correct. Then print and press.
And probably one of the greatest advantages to this type of T-Shirt printing is that the T-Shirts can be personalized. If you are looking for personalized T-Shirts for a wedding you can print one for the bride, one for the mother of the bride, one for the maid of honour and two or three for the bridesmaids and any other people involved.
If you have a team you can have your team logo on the front of all the T-Shirts and then each players name and number on the back. Or if you have a company and you want your logo with the persons name or position incorporated into the logo, this is easy to do.
However, the biggest negative is that there is no white ink in this printing method. So, if you were to print the Canadian flag on a light blue T-Shirt the flag would be red and light blue instead of red and white. However, there is a T-Shirt transfer paper designed especially for printing on dark T-Shirts that solves this problem.
Another disadvantage is that if they a not washed properly, the image can fade. The easiest way to avoid this is to turn the T-Shirt inside out and wash the T-Shirt in cold water with a mild detergent, no bleach or bleach additives or fabric softener. Then hang the T-Shirt to dry.