When printing graphics on T-shirts and other clothing, “screen printing” is often used as a general term. However, screen printing is really just a specific method. If you are looking for large-scale printing, there are other methods to consider. This is a comparison of screen printing and another common method called sublimation printing. Complete sublimation printing has no color limit, you can use as many as you like, print realistic images, and ink will never fade, crack or peel.
Sublimation Printing Benefits
Sublimation ink is a special process that requires the use of special transfer paper and ink for the sublimation printer. Sublimation printing is a popular alternative to inkjet transfer. Inkjet uses a backing sheet to transfer the ink to the top of the shirt, while the sublimation ink becomes part of the garment.
The Process Followed
The process begins with dye-coated sublimation transfer paper. When the transfer paper is pressed onto clothing, it heats up to a certain temperature and then the ink turns into gas. In this process, the heat serves two purposes: first, it converts the ink into gas, and second, it opens the pores in the fabric on which the ink is pressed. After heating up, the sublimation printer will continue to press the transfer paper into the garment. The pressure will then be released and the garment will cool down. This allows the sublimation ink to return to its solid state while the pores of the garment are closed, trapping the ink within the polymer coating of the garment. It may seem complicated, but sublimation printing has many advantages. Advantages of sublimation printing So far, one of the biggest advantages of sublimation printing is that when the process is successfully completed, your transferred image will never fade or disappear. As long as the substrate (the garment itself) is intact, it will look like new. A major advantage of sublimation printing is that the design is proportional to the size of each shirt. This helps create a consistent look and position across all shirt sizes. Another advantage of is that sublimation printing results in an extremely flat design, giving a smooth feel. Because the ink is already attached to the substrate and not just on top, it feels smooth to the touch. Since comfort is the main consideration for consumers, this helps to make sublimation printing stand out. Through this process, you can also perform a full color transfer, which is a great advantage over traditional screen printing because you do not need to prepare a new screen for each color in the design.
Limitations That Are Applied
Due to the working principle of sublimation printing, it can only be used for 100% polyester garments or garments with special polymer coatings. Another limitation to consider is the use of transparent inks for sublimation printing. This means that it works best on white or light-colored substrates. Since all shirt sizes in your order use the same set of screens (unless you order separately for each shirt size), specific design positions and proportions often vary by size.
The Process That Follows.
When preparing the design, each color in the design is layered and a screen is created for each corresponding color. This means that for a 6-color layout, 6 separate screens must be made. Then the colors are printed layer by layer, making the process very time-consuming. Nevertheless, most of the work is done in the initial setup, because designing different displays may take a considerable amount of time. This is why most screen printing designs are limited to 6 colors, but generally 1-3 colors can be used, making screen printing ideal for simple designs. Of course, once the initial setup is complete, you can easily use screen printing to make shirts in bulk.
Screen Printing Benefits
The flexibility offered by screen printing is unmatched. You can use the screen printing method on almost any surface, as long as it is flat. When it comes to fabrics for your clothing project, this also gives you a lot of versatility. Also, if you plan to print a lot of the same design, screen printing is definitely one of your most cost-effective options. The more you print, the lower the cost per garment. This process is also suitable for simple designs that do not use a lot of colors or have a lot of small details. This makes it a great choice for logos, names, and graphics, but not for photographs or other very complex designs. However, you can achieve gradation through screen printing, and the right technology will result in a crisp, clear design. Compared with digital design and hot pressing, Plus screen printing can achieve a very durable design. Because screen printing deposits a thick layer of ink and the material absorbs these inks, screen printing can withstand direct sunlight and years of use.
Limitations That Are Applied
The biggest limitation of all screen printing is the high output required to offset installation costs. If you choose to print in small quantities, you will end up paying too much for each piece of clothing, which is why our brand VizApparel online clothing manufacturer facilitates with minimum order quantity of 30 pieces per design or color. Another consideration is to set the display time, which will extend the turnaround time of your order. Screen printing projects may take longer than other printing methods to deliver. Compared with the limited level of detail and limited colors, this has led many customers to consider our other printing methods.
The Final Comparisons
Both screen printing and dye-sublimation can produce prints that are smooth to the touch. Sublimation ink essentially penetrates the substrate, so the final printed product does not have significant weight, allowing you to wear more comfortable clothing. This can also be achieved by screen printing with discharge or water-based inks, which will also penetrate the fabric (Plastisol screen printing inks are on top of the fabric and produce heavier prints). If done correctly, both methods will produce long-lasting print results that will not crack or fade after repeated washings. Sublimation prints are cured using a hot press during the design and application process, while screen printing ink must be heated after printing to cure properly. This means that to produce any amount of screen printing, you will need a conveyor belt dryer. Screen printing and sublimation are both valuable and versatile methods for apparel and promotional decorators. Both of these processes have positive and negative sides, the projects they are most suitable for and the ones that don’t work. It may be a good idea to consider providing these two services in your printing plant so that you can use each service to provide your customers with any number of high-quality prints while keeping your profit margins as low as possible. Still have questions? We will be happy to answer them and offer you specific suggestions based on your project. Just leave a message to get in touch with our team. VizApparel Screen Printing or Sublimation Printing will be your best suited option.