Clothes printing methods

Clothes printing methods

Successful clothes printing is about the expertise of the printer however choosing the correct process and equipment can be confusing, fortunately we have the equipment, technology and the skill base to guide you through the best process.

DTF  is a relatively new technology but is very versatile and enables us to decorate lots of different garments regardless of colour and material.

The process uses a latex based ink which we print onto a roll of carrier paper using a high quality fine art printer, the carrier paper is them transferred into a temperature controlled powder unit where an even coating of adhesive is applied and then cured in a tunnel drier.

The final process is to then heat press the image onto the garment of choice, the results are flawless, the colour are vibrant and the final print has a super soft feel.

DTF is our preferred method of printing onto clothing due to its low set up cost and flexibility.

Pros of direct to film printing (DTF)

No machine set up fees or minimum order quantity

Can print full colour on a wide range of products so perfect for photographs and designs with many different colours.

Clothing can be produced on demand

Suitable for both light and dark garments

Suitable for most fabric types

Cons of direct to film printing (DTF)

Extra care is required with washing at high temperatures

Not cost effective for larger run lengths (500 plus)

Special colours and metallic effects cannot be achieved

Direct to garment digital printing

Direct to Garment Printing, or digital printing as it’s sometimes known, is the process of printing full-colour images onto garments. DTG printing can be used on both light and dark coloured garments. unlike screen printing which has higher set up fees this process is perfect for shorter runs up to 100.

Pros of direct to garment printing (DTG)

No machine set up fees or minimum order quantity

Can print full colour on a wide range of products so perfect for photographs and designs with many different colours.

Clothing can be produced on demand

Suitable for both light and dark garments

Cons of direct to garment printing (DTG)

Garments need to have a high cotton content above 85% ideally 100% cotton

Dark clothing required a pre treatment/under base layer for the ink to sit on top

Extra care is required with washing

Polyester garments cannot be printed using this method.

Screen printing

Screen Printing is one of the most popular T shirt printing techniques available in the Personalised Clothing industry. It’s a process that applies ink directly onto clothing and fabric using mesh screens. It is a great option for companies who need to produce promotional merchandise or personalised workwear with their exact brand colours.

Various techniques and inks are used in screen printing onto clothing these include:

Water-based screen printing (Eco-Friendly option), Discharge Screen Printing, Metallic Inks, Foil Ink, Puff INK, Glow in the dark Ink, Reflective Ink.

Pros of Screen Printing.

Produces designs with multiple spot colours

High quality and long lasting durability

Professional finish

Competitive prices on larger volumes

Pantone and exact colour matching.

Suitable for different fabrics.

Cons of Screen Printing.

Initial set up costs including screen costs

Higher minimum order quantity over 25

Precise artwork preparation is required artwork needs to be vector or raster graphics (convert all strokes to paths or outlines and convert all text to outlines before supplying artwork)

Longer lead time is required.

Not suitable for colour photos

Sublimation printing

Sublimation printing is a process where the ink it printed onto a transfer paper then with the use of heat and pressure the ink is turned to gas and absorbed into the fibres of fabric. Like DTG there is no minimum order quantity however the print can only be applied to 100% white polyester garments.

Cons of die sublimation printing:

Potential White Crease marks in the print: Due to the printing process for dye sublimation, it is normal that the print leaves white marks and imperfections where there are creases. These white marks are commonly found around the armpit area. The garment must be made of white polyester for standard dye sublimation.

True black cannot be achieved with dye sublimation as the T Shirts can only absorb a certain amount of ink. Therefore, black can often not be as saturated as some other colours and may appear off-black.

Printed garments are more sensitive and need extra attention when it comes to washing. To preserve the print and the garment, it is recommended that you wash it inside out on a cold wash.

Do not use a tumble-dryer and do not iron over the print


Embroidery is the perfect way to personalise your clothing and ensure that your brand name and logo is represented perfectly and remains durable.

The low cost of embroidery makes it ideal for start-up companies and organisations with a larger workforce. Polo shirts, sweatshirts, hooded tops and jackets are the most common items that we embroider.  If your company involves staff working outside, in harsher conditions then you can customise a wide range of different winter work clothing and accessories including hats, jackets and trousers – you name it we can embroider onto it.

Pros of Embroidery

There is an extensive range of coloured treads available and we can match to most pantone colours.

Stitching is very durable and will often outlast the garment.

High quality finish

Looks stylish and sophisticated.

Cons of Embroidery:

Artwork needs to be converted to a digitized (stitch file) so has a set up cost.

Different threat required for each colour process colour (photograph) is not possible


Hot Vinyl Transfer (HVT)

Often referred to as cut vinyl printing the different types of vinyl allow for different specialist effects that your designs can be made from or that could be added to certain elements of your design to make it stand out from the rest.

Pros of CAD Cut Vinyl Printing

  • No machine setup costs
  • Can be used on virtually all types of products
  • Can print up to A3 sized transfers
  • Perfect for letters and numbers
  • Fast to produce
  • Perfect for plain colour designs
  • Perfect for sports kits (such as football and rugby)


Printed Hot Vinyl Transfer

This is a similar process to HVT although we print the white vinyl before cutting the allows us to produce multi colour and full colour designs.