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The Fine Print: Let's talk about tees!

Examples of T-shirt Printing Methods

Print Methods Header

Ever wonder how a particular t-shirt printing method is performed or the reasons behind choosing a certain print method for specific designs? Here is a breakdown of apparel decoration techniques we offer and the occasions of use.

Screen Print with Under Base

Screen printing is the go-to print method for many reasons. It’s affordable and in most cases, will last the life of the apparel product. It’s most advantageous when printing a simple, single spot color design on a large amount of t-shirts. Screen printing works on all types of apparel materials including cotton and poly blends. The color is more vibrant than other print methods but it can feel heavy on the material. Adding a white under base to the design increases the layers of ink but helps to maintain the brightness of the colors.

3 Color Screen Print

Simulated Process

This is a high end printing process for complex designs that are not able to be reproduced using traditional spot color applications of ink. Usually halftones or any type of tonal design like photography-like images can be produced using simulated process printing.

Simulated Process Example

Four Color Process

This is the oldest form of decorating apparel using a similar method as an ink jet printer by blending the four process colors of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black to create the full spectrum of colors. Four color process printing works best on white or light colored garments.

Four Color Process Example

Halftone Photo Print

The use of halftones is an excellent way to simulate shadow and gradients without increasing cost by using a single color instead of multiple colors. Halftones are made up of tiny dots. The bigger the dots, the more saturated the color appears. Smaller dots are used for “lighter” areas of the design. These dots blur together when viewed from a short distance to create the illusion of tones, depth, and shadow to emulate photography quality imagery.

Halftone Photo Example

Discharge Water Base Print

Discharge water base printing is desirable because of the soft feel of the print. Instead of lying on top of the fabric like plastisol inks, the discharge process actually removes the dye color of the shirt and reveals either the natural color of the cloth used to make the garment or replaces the color of the garment when mixed with another color.

Discharge Water Base Example

Digital Printing

This method of printing revolutionized the apparel printing industry by making it economical to print a single t-shirt or other garment for a customer. Instead of applying ink through the use of screens on a press, the image is transferred much like a home printer with the ink being injected directly into the fabric then cured with a heat press. It’s also a very economical choice when looking for full color photography reproduction on garments.

Digital Print Example

Full Color Digital Transfers

These are ideal for full color image reproduction that can be applied to almost any type of material including performance wear, spandex, and even nylon. It is sometimes used to replace the embroidery method if the image contains a lot of fine detail. The images are adhered with the application of heat and pressure onto the garment.

Digital Transfers Example

Glow-in-the-Dark Printing

The go to method for specialty low light graphic impact on apparel for glow runs or other night time events. Glow-in-the-dark inks must be exposed to a light source to charge the glow-in-the-dark ink. Longer exposure to light will brighten and extend the life of the glow effect.

Glow-in-the-Dark Example

High Gloss Clear Ink

Great for subtle tone on tone effects particularly on black garments or can be used as a “top coat” over spot colors for a high gloss finish.

High Gloss Example

Glitter Transfers

Glitter transfers for apparel offer high impact for any design that needs razzle dazzle and brilliance. Glitter should not be used for designs that require a lot of fine detail because the design is cut out of a solid sheet of glitter material that requires the excess to be peeled away. Color choices are limited to what is available by manufacturer.

Glitter Transfers

Metallic Ink Prints

Metallic ink printing offers an eye catching effect for custom designs on t-shirts and other apparel. Choose from shimmer and regular metallic for different looks.

Metallic Ink Example

Crystalina Prints

Crystalina ink is usually added as a second coat on top of regular plastisol ink colors to add a shimmery sparkle to the design and adds an element of texture. The color of the ink is diffused by the top coat so a bright red will be muted as seen in the example.

Crystalina Example

Puffy Prints

Puffy printing offers a retro puffed up look to any custom design on apparel. An additive is mixed in with the ink which is activated when heat is applied.

Puffy Print Example

Sugar Printing

Sugar print effects are the result of applying a wet adhesive to an apparel piece and then pressing the wet print into a bed of sugar glitter. Since the sugar glitter is on top of the design special care should be used when washing.

Sugar Print Example

Interested in trying out something other than traditional screen printing or digital printing? Contact us at the phone number above or start a chat with one of our customer representatives below.

Discharge Printing Custom T-shirts for a Soft Hand and Fresh Style

Discharge Printing

Discharge printing is a method where the ink application actually removes the pigment in a shirt similar to bleach but in much more controlled way. Nothing like the bleaching videos you’ve seen on YouTube where the lines are not crisp and are typically done freehand.

The desaturation of the t-shirt fabric is executed by a special discharge ink with an activation agent and the application of heat to cure it. Some fabric colors can be problematic such as the infamous color red. Red is the bane of most screen printers and a testing of the fabric beforehand will be the deciding factor on whether the product can be used.

What makes discharge print so desirable is the soft feel of the print. It’s very different from traditional plastisol ink which has a considerable structured feel. Discharge ink is water based and contrasts from plastisol because it sinks into the garment removing the original color of the fabric instead of being laid down on top of the fabric. It’s basically re-dying the fabric so it works best on darker garments. Discharge print is also very desirable because it’s fashionable.

Discharge Print Example

Discharge printing does not work really well on certain colors like royal blue, Kelly green, and purple. Instead of discharging down to a whitish color, you will get a lighter hue of the original color. Some manufacturer’s products work better than others for these colors.

For a great discharge print, you need to print on 100% cotton t-shirts. Cotton poly blends are not ideal since the discharge process will not react with polyester fabric. You cannot remove the color in plastics which is what polyester consists of. However, if you’re good with a very vintage look and muted colors in your design, cotton poly blends can be used but no two shirts will look exactly alike. Some heathered blends will accept discharge well and are consistent with the soft hand and vintage look that make discharge so enticing.

Colors can be used in discharge printing through the addition of pigment to the ink; however color matching such as Pantone Color Matching cannot be done due to the exact precision expected from PMS colors due to the nature of the process.

Discharge Ink Printing

Don’t expect a crisp white color from discharge since the color revealed during the process is the natural color of cotton which is an organic look. Fans of discharge print consider this part of the attraction.

Discharge printing in multiple colors is done by printing the darkest colors first then layering the lighter colors on top with a wet-on-wet technique. Since discharge ink doesn’t actually begin to appear until heat is applied, the screen printer will need to depend on years of experience and confidence in his or hers ability to know if the outcome will look right.

A final note, this printing process will absolutely require washing the garment before wear to get rid of the smell and residue left by discharge printing procedures.

Are you interested in trying this fashionable print application for your custom t-shirt order? Hit chat below or give us a call at the phone number above for your custom quote!

Custom Printed Safety Vests and Tees

Construction Header

If you have an organization with employees performing duties that can sometimes be considered hazardous you know the importance of high visibility safety apparel. In fact, since there are many laws governing the health and safety of employees, you may have a bigger need for safety wear than ever before. Since OSHA requires employers to supply safety apparel, as a business you might as well take advantage of these requirements and use the opportunity for some business branding!

Custom printed safety vests and tees can function in the capacity of protecting your employees in dangerous situation and also become an avenue to advertise your business to passersby. The public can understand more clearly what projects your company is capable of undertaking through your logo and tagline on the safety apparel they are wearing. Visibly demonstrating the kind of work you do with your employees wearing your logoed apparel creates an advertising package that’s hard to beat through other forms of advertising.

Safety Orange Vest

For example, you might have a contract to do road repair but with branded workwear, the public can understand your specialty is asphalt repair. This kind of exposure can lead to new business if someone has a private drive that needs a specialist’s attention. Anymore, the need for safety vests is becoming more prevalent for all types of businesses such as event management, construction, and heavy transport.

Safety Vest Review

Printed safety vests will protect your employees and comply with safety regulations but will also create a structured appearance for your employees. A cohesive look for your crew creates unification and cohesion and of course the ever important element of branding for your company.

Safety Yellow Vest

The safety vest product we carry is 100% polyester oxford with 2-in. wide 3M™ reflective taping on front and back in compliance with ANSI/ISEA 107 standards. It comes in both Safety Yellow and Safety Orange with room for custom printing on the back. The bright colors and reflective taping are to make sure your workers are highly visible during the daylight hours and also when visibility is poor in lower light situations.

A safety vest can easily be worn over the workers personal clothing or company provided uniform or it can be worn in conjunction with other customizable safety apparel such as Safety Green or Safety Orange tees for even more protection in dangerous environments.

Safety Orange Vest with Logo

Due the high visibility of safety wear, which is the nature of the garment, it’s an ideal opportunity for branding. The only restrictions when printing on a safety vest is there can be no printing on the reflective areas. However, there is ample space to include your company logo and other information you would want to the public to see.

It makes a lot of sense to use safety vests to promote your business as they are a required piece of apparel for your workers to do their job so they will be worn and seen.

Not all hazardous jobs will require a safety vest but do require apparel in the safety colors of green or orange. For those needs we carry Gildan products including t-shirts and sweatshirts. It’s important to note that due to the fabric composition of the color Safety Green, these only come in cotton-polyester blends and require the screen printing method of print and thus the smallest order will need to consist of 6 tees or sweatshirts.

OSHA compliant Safety Orange tees are represented with Hanes products including the Hanes Tagless Tee and for sweatshirts, we offer the Hanes ComfortBlend EcoSmart Crew 7.8oz Sweatshirt . Both of these products come in Safety Green as well.

The need for custom safety vests and tees has grown considerably since there are industry positions which require it from government legislation. But there are many situations when they can be useful in making your employees feel safe. Hazardous working environments like event traffic management would benefit by wearing branded safety color apparel and can cut down on the chaos event attendees might feel during the parking portion of their visit when their directed by someone wearing highly visible and officially branded garments.

Some job conditions make it beneficial for your workers to see each other such as in factories, forestry work, commercial fishing, and mining operations. High visibility of other coworkers can reduce the potential for jobsite accidents. Industries where work is not performed in the public eye can still benefit from branded employee apparel as advertising because your workers run typical errands on their way home after work such as grocery shopping and getting gas.

With all the potential for improved safety, compliance with regulations, and the bonus of company branding, custom printed safety vests and safety t-shirts and apparel should be in your company’s advertising budget.

Remembering Loved Ones with Memorial T-Shirts

memorial t-shirts

Losing a loved one is a life altering experience that changes your perspective. Shock, grief, loneliness, and anger are emotions many people describe feeling immediately. It’s normal to feel protective of their memory as tangible connections have been lost.

Showing love and gratitude to the deceased is traditionally realized through flowers, elaborate burial arrangements, wakes, and celebrations. Some people create more permanent memorials in the form of statuary, memorial plaques, or even donating to charities on their loved ones behalf as a way to share and amplify the memory of their loss.

These are not always viable options for limited budgets though. Memorializing loved ones with t-shirts may be something that is more popular with millennials and even younger generations as the loss of someone in that age group is more likely to be unexpected and unusually tragic.

In these cases we often see people scrambling to raise funds for funeral and other expenses related to unexpected death. Fundraising for funeral expenses with t-shirts is one avenue people consider. This may be particularly successful if there is a large network of family and friends that can be tastefully enticed to give more in exchange for a memorial t-shirt.

When pricing memorial t-shirts for fundraising efforts, it’s important to recognize that full color pictures are not typically done with screen printing. Full color images are created with digital printing and are not the most cost effective option for fundraising.

There are creative possibilities for recreating the deceased portrait on a t-shirt without paying the cost of digital printing. Using a halftone image for screen printing is one of the most cost effective ways to use a photorealistic image on a shirt. Halftones reproduce tonal effects with varying sizes of dots.

halftone for screenprinting

These can be printed using only one ink color which saves a substantial amount of money without sacrificing the appearance of a photograph. This method will allow you to use most of the raised funds for the cause at hand.

Another low cost option is to use a simple memorial slogan with tasteful clip art, the name of your loved one, and the dates of birth and passing. Some templates of tasteful memorial designs can be found here. Everyone has their own viewpoint on what is tasteful and it may be defined by personality of the deceased.

Choosing to print on a white t-shirt versus any other color including the traditional funerary black will save money as well. While many people believe that black denotes respectful grief, you may not realize that white is the symbol of purity, heaven, hope, light, and spirituality.

plain white t-shirt

Funerals are not easily planned and the timeline is not of our choosing. If memorial t-shirts are needed quickly, we will do our best to accommodate and keep costs down.

Some people choose to include a quote familiarly used by their loved one or a quote from a famous author or a religious theme. Here are a few very popular ideas for an in loving memory t-shirt.

  • In Loving Memory
  • Love is Eternal
  • Life is not Forever, Love is
  • Forever in our Hearts
  • Too well Loved to Ever be Forgotten
  • Asleep in Jesus’ Arms

For those left behind, the anniversary of a loved ones passing holds special meaning. After the initial grieving period is over and friends and family go back to their normal lives, it’s natural to feel the need bring your loved ones passing back to mind.

We’ve seen instances where a loved one’s art was printed on t-shirts and given to friends and family on the anniversary of the passing. Or if an illness took the life of a loved one, custom t-shirts for memorial walks and runs can bond participants together while memorializing the person that was lost.

Rush Order T-Shirts - How did it come to This?

At some point in your life you may have need to buy something in a rush for various reasons. Normally, going to a store and purchasing ready-made merchandise is no biggie; it’s designed to be an off-the-shelf purchase. However if you need anything custom made-to-order, requiring production in a rush situation will cost more than it normally would. Here’s why. When you order rush t-shirts or any other personalized product, it doesn’t just require a rush shipping charge.

together we create

Prioritizing orders and making a production schedule is how t-shirt companies are able to make deadlines consistently. A disruption in that order requires careful evaluation of the orders on the schedule to make sure the balance can be maintained to fulfill all orders as promised. When rush orders require t-shirt companies to bump other orders, production has to over compensate to make up time. It may require screen printers to switch orders to other screen presses which involve more labor and possibly paying overtime compensation to employees.

Product availability is another factor that impacts rush t-shirt printing prices. To allow for a wide range of product choices, these apparel products will not be stored in-house. Rather the apparel product is ordered from the supplier in the amount needed, colors needed, and sizes needed specific to each and every order. Pulling these items from a warehouse shelf in front of other standard orders causes an upset in the supplier’s workday. Shipping the items sometimes same day or even within hours will incur charges that are passed onto the screen printer.

Of course the actual shipping costs do come into factoring rush order t-shirt pricing. If a customer needs shirts in 3 days, making that happen often requires overnight shipping which can be a substantial cost. Adding up all of the things that can impact the cost of rush order t-shirts certainly makes a good argument for avoiding postponement when ordering t-shirts. However, sometimes life gets in the way and it becomes a necessity. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons we see customers needing to order t-shirts using our rush option.

Qualifying Athletes for Nationals
qualifying athletes

Sometimes a short turnaround time is unavoidable. One instance we see is when an athlete qualifies for a national athletic competition and that competition is less than 10-days away. The customer won’t know the quantity or sizes needed until the qualifying athletes place high enough to move onto the next round. In this scenario, the customer may already have a general design in mind but will also need to add names and numbers of the athlete to complete the team aesthetic.

Birthday Party Procrastination
birthday party

Coming up with party favors everyone will appreciate can seem like an easy task with so many options to choose from. But a truly customized experience may be at the top of the wish list for the host and the guest of honor. You might get last minute inspiration or suggestions from birthday party invitees to use a funny picture of the birthday boy or girl. Popular birthday party t-shirt themes can also relate to milestone ages like sweet sixteen, legal twenty-one, dirty thirty, and fierce at forty. Eleventh hour sparks of imagination can make the difference between bland and unforgettable when it comes to birthday bashes.

Ordering the Wrong Size

We’ve all misjudged our size from time to time. Sizing can vary from product to product. We’ve seen this issue mostly when it comes to junior and youth sizes. A junior XL can fit more like a ladies medium in some cases. If the printed shirt arrives and the fit feels like a sausage casing, you might want to reconsider the product type and size for the reprint. At times there is simply a lack of communication when ordering for a group and the wrong size may be relayed to you and ordered. It’s times like these when a rush order t-shirt printer comes in very handy.

Not Ordering Enough Shirts

If you’ve ever been tasked to order personalized clothing for a team, company, or an event, you know how easy it is to let someone fall through the cracks. Let’s say you’re ordering for a company and the new guy started after the call for t-shirt sizes went out to all the employees, now you need one shirt for the upcoming annual company picnic. While it’s not ideal to pay full price for a digitally printed shirt instead of a bulk screen print order, at least there is that option.

Totally Forgetting to Order Shirts

You’ve got your checklist, the venue’s been booked, the caterer has confirmed, the band has sent you their playlist, what else is there to be concerned about? You wake up in the middle of the night with a jolt because you just realized you didn’t order the event t-shirts! What to do? We’ve experienced this scenario many times not just for events, but for all types of occasions. The first step is to make sure all of the information required is communicated to make this quick turnaround time happen and you have your shirts in hand for the event. We’ll need the design, the apparel product choice, the number of shirts required, and the sizes. That’s it. With our lightning shipping time, we can get your shirts to you in as little as 3 business days to avoid disaster.

save the day

Whatever your reason is for requiring rush order t-shirt printing, we’ve seen it all and will do our best to accommodate your needs to save the day. Luckily our customer service team has extensive knowledge on products, pricing, printing techniques, and shipment capabilities to roll with the punches no matter how fast they come.