If you are in need of a custom-printed t-shirt, you need to know your options for how to have it created. If you are in need of only one shirt, and have a bit of artistic ability, you can buy some fabric paint and make the shirt yourself. However, if you need a number of shirts, you should consider having them screen printed, digitally printed, or have them made on a heat press. Here is a bit of information on each technique.
Screen printing is done by forcing ink through finely woven mesh screen – often made of silk. Each screen is created to add only one color of the design to the shirt. However, most colors can be made by using only four colors, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Once all the colors have been added, the shirt is sent through a hot dryer to set the ink. This technique allows for vibrant colors that can be seen on dark t-shirts. However, because of the amount of time it takes to create the screens, it is not the best idea if you are only looking to have a few t-shirts made.
Digital printing is done by a computer and special printer. The design is created on the computer and then printed directly onto the t-shirts. The ink is not applied as thickly as when screen printing so the colors are a bit less vibrant on darker colored shirts. However, the design can be more intricate and detailed because it is not being done by hand. The design can be stored on the computer and shirts can be printed as needed. The process is much easier than screen printing.
A heat transfer can be done using colored vinyl pieces that have been cut out according to the desired design, or it can be done digitally with printer paper and a special ink that will adhere to the shirt when heat is applied. The transfer will need to be made for each shirt you want to make. However, creating the transfer is not difficult, even the vinyl ones can be made using a computer and a special printer. The main drawback to a custom t-shirt made with a heat transfer is that the design may peel off if not cared for properly.
If the design you want is something you drew by hand, consider having the shirts screen printed if you will be ordering more than a few. However, if you will only need a couple of shirts, go with the heat transfer, creating the transfer by hand instead of the computer. For a finely detailed design, regardless of the number of shirts you want, create the design on the computer and have it added to the shirts digitally. Contact a business, such as Absolute Screen Printing, for more information.