The Best T-Shirt Printing Methods

Mockup Featuring Two Customizable T Shirts Hanging From A Metal Clothing Rack

Get Set to Succeed with this Practical T-Shirt Printing Guide

Whether you are starting your own custom printing company or you just decided to start selling custom t-shirts, you need to know the difference between the different t-shirt printing methods/techniques.

Some printing techniques are best suited for specific fabrics, and at the same time, a certain printing technique might be best suited for a job depending on the job’s volume. Moreover, the printing method you end up using will also be influenced by the number of colors in the design you are planning to print. With so many variables, it gets difficult to choose a printing technique!

The truth is digital technology has transformed the world of t-shirt printing options, and many new methods of printing have emerged, but traditional printing still continues to give a good fight. Printing methods like plastisol transfers that involve a combination of heat and pressure can also be a great option depending on what you or your client need.
Either way, let’s put the t-shirt printing methods side by side so that you can put your designs on t-shirts and have your designs ready to sell as soon as possible:
Disclaimer: YouTube videos included in this blog post were included to paint a clearer picture of the technique and only that. Placeit isn’t connected in any form with these businesses.

T-Shirt Printing Methods


Screen-Printing is the most well-known t-shirt printing method of t-shirt printing methods. Humans have used screen printing since way before you and I were born. Nowadays, screenprinting is done both by machines and by hand. Let’s decipher why screenprinting is so famous.
Part of the magic of screen printing is the screen printing inks used. Screen printing inks are thicker than the inks used in the other t-shirt printing methods allowing them to last longer and produce true-to-life vibrant colors. Make sure you or your screen printer use high-quality inks, this is so important! Low-quality inks will quickly fade away and will also feel weird.
Screenprinting is best suited for high-volume orders. Depending on how big the design is, the ink quality, how much squeegee pressure is applied, the number of strokes, and the mesh count, you can print anywhere from 200-500 t-shirts with a gallon of screen-printing ink, making it super-cost efficient. Yeah, those are all the variables to consider if you want to figure out how cost-effective screen printing is.

Pros of Screen-Printing:

✓ Screen printing ink gets absorbed very deeply giving you vivid and bright colors and maximum durability.
✓ Once set up, you can produce hundreds of t-shirts with the same design at a blazing fast speed.
✓ It is compatible with most fabrics when you use the right mix of inks and screens for the fabric you will be working on.

Cons of Screen-Printing:

✗ If you plan to do it at home, you should consider this: it gets messy when screen-printing. Keep in mind that you will be working with ink and there’s going to be spillage.
✗ You need a considerable amount of space to set-up a proper screen-printing work area.
✗ The space you need should be dust-free and dark in order to help preserve screens and ink.
✗ Steep learning curve.
✗ Limited artwork placement.

DTG Printing:

DTG (Direct-to-Garment) printing is an inkjet technology that is able to print very high-quality, full-color, photographic prints directly onto a t-shirt. DTG Printing is best suited for designs or artwork considered too complex for other printing techniques, like screen printing, for instance, which is best suited for designs with few colors. DTG printing machines have a huge color mixing potential allowing them to print even the tiniest details.
If you are looking to print just a few (1-5) t-shirts, DTG Printing is the best option too since it is as easy as loading a blank shirt into the DTG Printing machine and printing directly onto it, whereas screen printing requires you to go through a multi-step, back-breaking process to print your t-shirt.

Pros of DTG Printing:

✓ Print as many colors as desired. No restrictions on colors, woo-hoo!
✓ Set-up times are low when compared to screen printing. You can have a t-shirt printed in less than 30 minutes.
✓ DTG printing machines aren’t that big, allowing more mobility for your business.
✓ Compared to screen printing inks, ink cartridges shouldn’t make a mess in your room.
✓ You won’t feel the ‘print’ on the fabric when you touch it since DTG printing machines inject ink directly into the fabric.

Cons of DTG Printing:

✗ DTG Printers are best designed to print only on 100% cotton t-shirts (or fabrics with high amounts of cotton on them). The more cotton the t-shirt has, the more vivid the print will result.
✗ Machines can be crazy expensive.
✗ Colors tend to wash out over time.
✗ Limited artwork placement.
✗ Your DTG printing machine will require maintenance.

Heat Transfer Printing:

In a nutshell, Heat Transfer Printing involves laying sheets of transfer material on top of garments and then having them be heat pressed in order to permanently apply custom graphics to garments.
The desired graphic is first digitally printed on special heat transfer paper using solvent ink. This type of ink allows the design to be transferred from the paper to the t-shirt when pressed with a heat press machine.
The beauty of heat transfer printing is that it works on different materials and fabrics, creates almost no mess, and needs minimum maintenance when compared to other methods.
Different heat transfer printing techniques exist and it can get a bit confusing, but worry not, let me break them down for you:

Dye-Sublimation Printing:

Dye-Sublimation Printing is one of the most popular variations of heat transfer printing. The way it works is by digitally printing graphics and then heating them to transfer the dye onto t-shirts.
Different from the other heat transfer printing techniques, dye-sublimation printing works with dye-based ink that turns into a gas when heated. Heat, pressure, and time cause dye-based inks to go from a solid to a gas state and then back to solid again. It is quite unequaled because the gas joins the polyester, becoming part of the material and not a layer on top. Interesting, huh?
As seen in the YouTube video above, sublimation is an especially popular technique for all-over printing. Neither screenprinting nor DTG printing can create the allover print effect that dye-sublimation printing does. All-over print t-shirts allow designers to fully express themselves and create unique t-shirts.

Pros of Dye-Sublimation Printing:

✓ The ink becomes part of the t-shirt fabric making the print last for a long.
✓ It feels soft on the hand and is breathable.
✓ Prints will not fade, crack, peel, or deteriorate.

Cons of Dye-Sublimation Printing:

✗ Folds and creases, for instance, the area under the sleeves, will remain undyed.
✗ Only works with polyblend-based t-shirts. The more polyester on your t-shirts, the more vibrant colors you will get.
✗ Dye-sublimation printing is not cheap.

Printing Plastisol Transfers:

The Plastisol Transfer Printing process is very similar to screenprinting only that the artwork is first ink-jet printed on plastisol transfer paper and then you use this paper to heat press the design on the shirt.
As you may have inferred, this custom t-shirt printing method allows us t-shirtpreneurs to outsource part of our business if we so desire. There are companies you can send your designs to and have them printed on the high-quality plastisol transfer paper you need and then have them shipped to you. Once you receive them you can apply the designs on t-shirts yourself with a heat press. Amazing.

Pros of Printing Plastisol Transfers:

✓ Quality is similar to screen printing.
✓ You can fit several designs on a single transfer paper and then cut them and print them separately.
✓ Makes no mess.
✓ This technique is good for testing t-shirt designs. Once a design starts to sell it would make sense to move to screenprinting.
✓ Great for both full-color jobs and jobs with few colors.
✓ Allows for a variety of placements on the t-shirt.

Cons of Printing Plastisol Transfers:

✗ If plastisol prints aren’t made right, they’ll crack and wash out pretty quick.
✗ Suppliers might ask for minimums.
✗ It might take you a few runs to learn the right amount of pressure/temperature needed for this new technique, so I would suggest you ask for several prints to run some tests first. Your supplier will most likely send you instructions, otherwise, simply contact them and if they are good they should help you.
✗ Large quantity runs are expensive and time-consuming.

CAD-Cut Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing:

CAD (Computer-Aided Design)-Cut Printing is one more method of heat transferring designs onto t-shirts. This t-shirt printing technique is most commonly used for printing the numbers, names, and logos onto CAD-Cut vinyl material and then heat pressing them on sports t-shirts or jerseys.
To put it simply, this process involves using a machine to cut out designs and letters on pieces of colored vinyl. A heat press is then used to transfer each vinyl to the t-shirt.
CAD-Cut vinyl is ideal for garment printing of 1-3 colors of smaller quantities, for example, a football team’s order.

Pros of CAD-Cut Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing:

✓ Decent lifespan.
✓ Great for small job orders.
✓ Vinyl can be easily applied anywhere on the t-shirt.
✓ The vinyl can be applied to all kinds of fabrics.

Cons of CAD-Cut Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing:

✗ It takes a long time to cut the vinyl and weed it.
✗ Pantone colors can’t be matched with vinyl printing.
✗ It’s only suited for simple graphics like text-based designs with basic shapes.
PRO TIP: Google the t-shirt technique you want to experiment on + your city, to find your next printer. 😉

3 Marketing Ideas for Your T-Shirt Business

Moving on. You don’t need to wait until you print your designs on t-shirts to start marketing them. What savvy t-shirtpreneurs do is create t-shirt mockups, measure their audience’s response, and validate their new t-shirt design ideas.

This way, if there’s a positive response you can simply continue and go print your t-shirts. Otherwise, it might be a better idea to go back to the studio and optimize your t-shirt designs with a tool like this t-shirt design maker for instance.
Placeit empowers you by making it super easy to create t-shirt mockups. You just need to select a t-shirt template that features a t-shirt model that fits your brand and then upload your t-shirt design to it, that’s it.

In contrast to Photoshop, you don’t need to know how to “adhere” your design to the t-shirt on the screen. Placeit’s advanced web engines will take care of all the graphic design drama for you so that you spend your time creating new designs rather than having a hard time learning how to properly use the complicated software available out there.
Alright, let’s give you some marketing tips to boost your t-shirt business:

Tip #1: Use T-Shirt Mockups on Your Website

Have you ever landed on an apparel website and said in your head, oh what a beautiful website! Most likely, you were influenced by the attractive models wearing the clothes. Placeit can help you feature beautiful models on your website and nail that super pro look!
Placeit’s t-shirt mockups are the go-to mockup tool for both advanced and beginner t-shirt sellers. Who really has the money and time to invest in a photoshoot and hiring models nowadays? T-shirt mockups allow you to market your t-shirt business in an elegant and professional way, without leaving your warm, secure, and cozy home!

It’s pretty easy to customize Placeit’s mockups. First, choose the template that most resembles your target audience, then pick a t-shirt color, then upload your t-shirt design, and that’s it! A few examples:

Latin Woman T Shirt Mockup
Edit This T-Shirt Mockup Here
Couple Blonde T Shirt Mockup 01
Edit This T-Shirt Mockup Here
Woman T Shirt Mockup 01
Tap Here to Edit This T-Shirt Mockup

Tip #2: Advertise with T-Shirt Ad Mockups

Do you use Facebook Ads to promote your business? If not, you should! Facebook offers an excellent advertising option to capture your next client while they spend time on Facebook or Instagram.

If your research tells you that your target market is most likely using these technologies, then advertising to them through this platform makes sense. Here’s a Facebook Ads Guide for Your T-Shirt Business and an Instagram Ads Guide for Your T-Shirt Business.
The t-shirt ad mockups I’m talking about are basically t-shirt mockups with text. Adding text to the image you will be using in your ads should help you entice and convince your audience to shop on your website. Customize the text to tell your audience that you’ve added a new seasonal discount to your shop or that new stuff will come out soon! Here’s a quick image showing what you can do with Placeit’s t-shirt ad mockups tool:

Facebook Ad Mockup
Tap Here to Edit This T-Shirt Mockup

Tip #3: Leverage Video Marketing on a Budget

Whoever said video marketing is expensive was wrong. From home, you can create videos of models wearing your t-shirt designs thanks to Placeit’s t-shirt video mockups. Same as with the previously mentioned tools, you just need to select a template to start and then add your artwork, that’s it, Placeit will do all the video editing needed for you in just a few seconds.

You can then download this video and use it on your website, on social media, on ads, etc. Check out this t-shirt video made with Placeit.

To Recap

I learned a lot while creating this blog post, I hope it helped you too! New t-shirt printing methods continue to emerge, and staying informed about the available options is a must for all of us in the custom t-shirt business.

Also, if you’ve been in the market for some time, consider creating your own clothing brand, or if you are thinking ahead and want to hear more about how to sell your t-shirt designs, you can read more on our Best SEO Keyword Tips for Your T-Shirt Brand. Also, prepare your t-shirt business for any Criss that might come with our Help Your POD Business Survive a Pandemic post.

We would love to hear what you have to say about your favorite t-shirt printing method or if you mix and match. If you found this information helpful, please let us know in the comments section. Until the next one!

“Thank you for the information Placeit, now I know the best method to print my t-shirts!”
Matt Ashton 5/5

Boost Your T-Shirt Business With T-Shirt Mockups

T-shirt mockups allow you to promote your t-shirt business the best way possible. Hiring a model and getting the right amount of light and exposure needed to achieve that professional feeling is not easy to do. Placeit allows you to forget about all this drama and instead focus on what you do best. If there's a demographic or style you can't find on Placeit, please send us an email or contact us via social media and we will gladly help you out.

Visit Placeit

Hundreds of Freebies for Your Project!
Get Freebies
35 CommentsClose Comments


  • Stevie
    Posted at 7:10 am 0Likes

    Your style is unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff
    from. Thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess
    I will just book mark this web site.

  • Camilla
    Posted at 11:14 am 0Likes

    Great post.

  • Wilbert
    Posted at 9:07 am 0Likes

    I constantly emailed this web site post page to all my contacts,
    because if like to read it then my contacts will too.

  • Debra Gluskin
    Posted at 7:41 pm 0Likes

    We have recently started a printing business and came across this article. I really appreciate you taking the time to explain all the printing methods in great detail. Also, was great to learn about how to leverage marketing on a budget as we don’t have much experience here. Thanks for the guidance !

  • Mahalia
    Posted at 7:28 pm 0Likes

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site
    before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to
    me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it
    and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

  • Hung
    Posted at 12:03 pm 0Likes

    It’s so sad I can’t watch this in Denmark

  • Catharine
    Posted at 2:49 am 0Likes

    It’s an amazing post for all the web viewers; they will take advantage from it I am sure.

  • Vincent
    Posted at 12:53 pm 0Likes

    Thank you, I’ve just been searching for information about this topic for ages and yours is the greatest I have discovered till now.
    But, what concerning the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the source?

  • Ashly
    Posted at 7:31 pm 0Likes

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your web site!

  • Sunny Singh
    Posted at 6:10 am 0Likes

    This is a really awesome post and shows some really cool designs. This blog has really helped me understand the types of t-shirt printing of premium quality. It is pretty cool to have such simplistic yet elegant designs. Really loved it.

  • Kia
    Posted at 2:32 pm 0Likes

    Wonderful site you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of
    any community forums that cover the same topics discussed here?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get advice from other knowledgeable
    people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

  • Mckinley
    Posted at 9:14 am 0Likes

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put
    in penning this website. I’m hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts
    by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has
    motivated me to get my very own blog now

  • Franziska
    Posted at 3:21 pm 0Likes

    I have read so many content concerning the blogger lovers but this
    piece of writing is in fact a nice piece of writing,
    keep it up.

  • Peggy
    Posted at 2:32 pm 0Likes

    Normally I do not learn article on blogs, but I would like to say that this
    write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do
    so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, very nice

  • Myrtis
    Posted at 6:26 am 0Likes

    I am really glad to read this blog posts which contains tons of useful facts, thanks for providing these kinds of information.

  • Jackie
    Posted at 4:29 pm 0Likes

    Excellent post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more.


  • Ambrosius
    Posted at 2:03 pm 1Likes

    Placeit offers an affordable and accessible service that is tailor-made to help you get the outcome your business deserves.

  • Sandor
    Posted at 10:14 am 0Likes

    Placeit s services are essential because they are going to save you the expense of having to shell out for a professional photo shoot for your products. Instead, they offer free photo shoots as well as photo shoot tips that are going to go a long way toward boosting the visual quality of the products and design ideas you want to showcase.

  • Cathleen
    Posted at 12:49 am 0Likes


  • Yong
    Posted at 5:14 pm 0Likes

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back
    to your webpage? My website is in the exact same niche as yours and my
    users would certainly benefit from some of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you. Thank you!

  • Melva
    Posted at 8:48 pm 0Likes

    This blog is great check it out

  • Russell
    Posted at 3:34 am 0Likes

    You cannot actually do A/B testing in case you have a small email listing, or small social media following.

  • Alma
    Posted at 6:41 am 0Likes

    Hey there. we discovered your blog and thought
    that this is quite well-written!

  • Marquis
    Posted at 4:13 am 0Likes

    Hi there. my friend noticed your site and thought that
    it’s quite well-crafted!

  • Omaha Print Shop
    Posted at 1:09 pm 0Likes

    I appreciate how the article delves not only into the technical side of things but also factors in practical considerations like cost, durability, and design intricacies. This holistic approach helps readers make informed decisions when choosing the most suitable printing method for their specific needs. The visuals accompanying each explanation add an extra layer of clarity, making it an engaging read for visual learners like myself.
    I can’t recommend Omaha Print Shop enough for all your printing needs. Their exceptional services and attention to detail truly set them apart. They offer a wide range of printing services, from traditional options like offset and digital printing to modern techniques like UV printing and custom apparel printing. So, Visit and Explore.

  • Mildred
    Posted at 11:48 pm 0Likes

    Hi there, I enjoy reading through your post. I like to write a little comment to
    support you.

  • Giuseppe
    Posted at 6:17 am 0Likes

    I’d like to find out more? I’d like to find out some additional information.

  • Rory
    Posted at 7:32 am 0Likes

    Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your article. I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

  • Aleisha
    Posted at 12:40 am 0Likes

    Great delivery. Solid arguments. Keep up the great effort.

  • Max
    Posted at 10:33 am 0Likes

    Great article.

  • Juan
    Posted at 4:53 pm 0Likes

    Hi just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures
    aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking
    issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

  • Armando
    Posted at 6:30 am 0Likes

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was really informative. Your website is useful. Thanks
    for sharing!

  • Vito
    Posted at 7:16 pm 0Likes

    I am impressed with this site, very I am a fan.

Leave a comment

Scroll Up