Screen Printing vs. Vinyl Application vs. Embroidery vs. Digital Printing vs. Sublimation

In this article, I’ve collected a few of the most well-known methods that are most often used in printing.

There are numerous printing techniques for fabrics, and each one produces various outcomes. The type of fabric printing usually depends on several factors, from print runs and durability. I've collected a few of the most well-known methods that are most often used and a detailed explanation of them below.

Screen Printing

Screen printing is a method that uses a mesh used to transfer ink on the substrate, except for areas that are made impermeable to ink with a stencil. A single color can be printed once, which means that multiple screens can be utilized to create a multicolored image.

Pros

Long-lasting printing method. It is economical for large-scale T-shirt printing. Vibrant colors. Cost-effective for bulk orders.

Cons

Print runs of short duration can cost a lot due to installation costs and various color setups. Each color represents a new screen and a different layer of ink.

Vinyl Application

HTV, also known as heat transfer, is a specialized vinyl plastic applied on specific materials and fabrics to make designs and products. It is available in a roll or sheet that has an adhesive back. It means you can cut it, trim and then place it on a surface for the application of heat. The heat transfer vinyl comes in single colors. It offers different options, including glitter, flocked, patterned, holographic, glow in the dark reflective, and 3D puff.

Suggested Read: A Basic Guide to Vinyl T Shirt Printing!

Pros

Perfect for print runs of short duration. Ideal for numbers and names printed on backs of clothing and jerseys. It can add extra effects to clothing, for example, reflective, holographic, luminescence in darkness.

Cons

It is not recommended for designs that have numerous minor elements. Take extra care when washing.

Embroidery

Machine embroidery is a method of embroidery that uses a sewing machine (also known as an embroidery machine) to design patterns on fabrics. It is used commercially in branding products, corporate advertising, and uniform ornamentation.

Pros

A durable design that won't fade with time. Professional design and feel.

Cons

The cost of setting up can be expensive. Every project requires a digital design that could cost an additional charge.

Also Read: The Art of Embroidery; Origin To Present

Digital Transfers

Digital printing, heat transfer, or print technology, the graphic you wish to print is printed digitally on unique heat transfer papers using solvent ink. This kind of ink permits the design to transfer onto the printed object after it is heated and pressed.

Pros

Best for detailed and full-color designs. It is a good option for short print runs.

Cons

When washing, special care is necessary. Images might not last longer than other applications. The image isn't stretchy, so it is not ideal for spandex or polyester fabrics.

Recommended Read: Digital Printing vs Embroidery: Which Is the Right One for Your Workwear?

Sublimation

A dye-sublimation printer can be described as a type of printer for computers that utilize the printer's heat to transfer dye onto various materials such as card, plastic, paper, or fabric.

Pros

Colors vibrant that won't fade. The material is dyed to ensure that the design possibilities are endless and lasting. Great for all-over designs.

Cons

Ideal for high polyester count materials. There is no volume discount, so it's not suitable for large orders.

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