Everything You Need to Know about T-Shirt Printing

So you’re thinking about printing a t-shirt, but you don’t know where to begin. Maybe you tried searching t-shirt printing on the internet, and now you feel even more confused. Or perhaps you read an article that was less than helpful.  Well, whatever the case, we are going to tell you about everything you need to know about t-shirt printing.

First, off there are two types of t-shirt printing: silk screen printing and DTG.

Silk Screen Printing

Silk screen printing was first patented in 1907 by a man named Samuel Simon. However, historians believe the practice has been used as early as 960 CE. This technique has been modified and improved ever since. Screen printing uses a mesh stretched out on a frame. The mesh has had a stencil of the t-shirt design printed on it. The ink is then run over the screen and is placed on the shirt. This screen makes it so that the ink can only pass through the stencil part. This is what gives the shirt its different designs. Here at Alexander’s we have a machine that can print hundreds of designs in just a couple of hours.

alexander's t-shirt printing tee screen printingAlexander's t-shirt screen printing


DTG stands for Direct to Garment. It prints designs directly onto the t-shirt. While the ink from screen printing sits on top of the garment, the ink with direct to garment printing is absorbed into the very fibers of the garment. It is kind of like just a regular printer, only instead of putting paper through you put the shirt in. Did we mention we have one of these too? Check it out!

T-shirt printer

printed T-shirt

What are the differences?

There are pros and cons to both screen printing and DTG printing.

The pros to screen printing is that it can be more cost effective in large quantities. The design will also last longer without fading, and it is faster. However, as with everything there are some cons. Even if you just want to print one t-shirt a screen has to be made. That means that the initial start-up cost is high. Also, if there are many colors in the design, a separate screen has to be made for each color. This can also make it less cost effective for designs with lots of colors. Screen printing is ideal for team names, logos, limited colored designs, and many more.

DTG has many of the benefits that screen printing does not. First, because the colors are printing directly on to the garment it doesn’t matter how many colors are in the design. Second, it prints one shirt at a time so if you just want to print one shirt the unit price will cost just as much as printing two shirts or 50 shirts. The disadvantage to screen printing is that the design fades easier. The ink is absorbed by the t-shirt fibers and as those fibers go through the wear of daily life they can lose the color.

Let us help

alexander's t-shirt printing special

Both techniques are used extensively to print on shirts and other apparels of clothing and look great. When designing and printing your t-shirt you simply have to look at the benefits and see what would be best for you. Still confused about the entire thing? That’s OK that is why we are here. Our team is an expert in both design and t-shirt printing. We have machines that are capable of printing however many t-shirts you want. Give us a call at 801-224-8666 or contact us below to ask any questions or get help from our creative team.

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1 Response

  1. Thank you for this easy explanation of the difference between screening and direct to garment. If I may, however, what exact "ink" do they use for screening? Are there different types of screen materials, or are they all the same? Thank you in advance for explaining it a bit further for me!

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