T-Shirt Printing in the Modern Times
T-Shirts come in a variety of designs with collars, round necked, sleeveless, long or short sleeves, V-Necked ones. Decorating a T-Shirt or printing it according to the choice, can open scope for the designers to explore their creativity and to prove their versatility.
As the craze for T-Shirts grew, advanced techniques of T-Shirt printing came into use. With the invention of a more durable ink plastisol, T-shirts with a lot of varieties could be produced. Later the tie-and-dye process and the silk screen printings also came into use for printing T-shirts with different designs and motifs going with the contemporary facts and trends.
Nowadays, silk screen printing on T-shirts has become most popular. In this process several individual colors are chosen for the design. Then the plastisol is applied through meshed screens on the T-shirt, limiting the area to be designed on the shirt. Wide range of colors can be used, depending upon the process printing or stimulated printing. Process printing is effective in light colored T-shirts and for the dark colored ones Stimulated process is the best. Most of the companies are opting for Plastisol for its durability, and varied colors can be used without major color adjustments at the basic level. Going by the trend or fashion, one can add puff, shimmer and chino based inks to create new and attractive designs. If a metallic foil is pressed and added to plastisol, along with the shimmer ink it gives a dazzling mirror effect on the T-shirt giving out a gorgeous look. One can use special inks for this screen printing, but the cost involved is higher.
Other T-shirt printing techniques are also adopted depending on the situation and the investment one has made. For small business purpose Heat Transfer printing is a better choice. In this process a design is pressed on the fabric by heat transfer method. The fabric gives a smooth feeling, but it cracks often and doesn’t last longer. Still it is effective in where small quantities are produced and faster than the screen printing. Moreover the space occupied is less. But this method restricts the use of colors. This is best applied on white T-shirts, as heat press on colored T-shirts doesn’t give the desired effect.
Vinyl Transfers gives the option to choose multiple colors and high quality after prints are produced. With a vinyl cutter a logo or print from a sheet is cut out. Then it is pressed on the T-shirt by the process of heat transfer. This process is not suitable to go for mass production. It goes best with single print T-shirts, and for its high quality print lettering on the fabric stands best.
Sublimation printing is suitable for light colored fabrics. The ink jet is turned into gas on heating and the output of the printing is better. But due to its limited availability and used only in synthetic fabrics, this process also finds limited use.
With the help of laser printers and sublimation dyes of special tones, designs are made on plain paper and printed on the fabric by simple heat transfer method.