Now that you have decided to get into the t-shirt printing industry, but you are unsure of where to start. You will also have to decide which printing method you will use for your shop. Obviously the choice will be either DTG or screen printing because they are the most popular and efficient printing methods available today.
Plus, the right printing method also depends on a few factors such as your budget, material to print on, number of colors you’re printing, the number of prints you will be making. So here we are today with a comparison between DTG and screen printing to help you choose the best one for you.
Screen Printing Process
In screen printing, first, the design is created and is then turned into a stencil by burning the image onto a screen using a light source. The screen mesh is then placed on the press over fabric and ink is applied using a squeegee to ensure an even and consistent color distribution.
The squeegee is used to press the ink onto the garment through the press. However, with screen printing, only one color is applied at a time.
Hence for multiple colors, multiple screens needs to be prepared and be printed in layers. Creating each layer of color takes time and resources, therefore making it a labor-intensive process. It also raises the cost significantly.
Therefore, screen printing is best for printing simple designs where you need to run large print runs for single color design.
Screen printing is suitable for one-offs and once the screen is prepared the design cannot be changed, which call for preparation for another screen. Screen printing is suitable only when you need to produce thousands of prints using automatic presses.
Once you get familiarize with the process of screen printing and its equipment, you can grow your business while helping others promote their business as well. The possibilities are endless and you can set your own pace for your business.
High-Quality Large Scale Orders
When you want to cater to large scale orders with high-quality prints, screen printing is perfect for you. You have the ability to cost-effectively produce printed materials from medium to large runs.
However, you can also produce small runs but that would be expensive both for you and your customers. It creates a long-lasting print on the garment of your choice is considered a standard in the print industry for creating a professional look on the fabric.
Screen Printing Roadblocks
Starting a screen-printing business is not easy as it would require you make a significant initial investment to buy space and printing equipment. However, you will find numerous payment plans and financing options to make it easier for you. If you will be taking large scale orders, you can get the return on your investment relatively quickly.
Secondly, it is a labor-intensive process which demands skilled staff. Even for a single print, you have taken many steps from artwork to preparing the stencil and printing it on a garment. The print setup takes time and consideration. Here, its application is limited only to simple designs, whereas high-resolution photographs may not be easy to create.
Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing
It uses an inkjet printer in which ink is applied directly to the garment. It uses special inks that get absorbed in the garment. It can produce prints in greater detail than any other printing methods and can print nearly unlimited color pallet. It doesn’t require any initial setup and the design can be changed at the last moment.
The artwork is fed from a computer to the printer and is design gets printed on the fabric, much like printing a document from your personal computer. It may not be as popular as screen printing but it is definitely growing fast among print shops.
It is perfect when you need just a few shirts to be printed because it requires little setup time. It leaves no wastage of ink and is a clean process compared to screen printing. It produces a natural feel and detailed design, even sharp photographs on the fabric, which is loved by their customers.
DTG Printing Roadblocks
Firstly, DTG printers are expensive and then it can print only one garment at a time, which demands print shop to have multiple inkjet printers. Therefore it takes relatively longer time than screen printing to create multiple prints. Even a manual screen printing shop can handle larger production runs that DTG.
Moreover, DTG ink is also expensive and some ink has issues printing high-definition colors on dark-colored garments. Being an expensive and slow process, DTG is a poor choice for creating large orders.
Today, both screen printing and DTG are important t-shirts printing processes. Screen printing is suitable for large production runs whereas DTG is perfect for niche and small print runs. The choice of printing process depends on your business demands, production scale, and future plans. The choice is now up to you.
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