Many people think that when they order a custom printed t-shirt that there isn’t much to think about. A t-shirt is a t-shirt right? Well it might surprise you to know there are a lot of aspects to t-shirt printing that require expert knowledge of fabrics and printing techniques. Here’s a list of little known facts that can seriously affect the way your printed tee looks while it’s new and after a few washes.
- Fabric Counts
The type of product you choose for your t-shirt print is truly important as there is a difference in what types of ink will adhere to the fabric. This is why it is difficult to get a t-shirt printer to accept customer supplied goods. We don’t know if the fabric was treated with chemicals that interfere with screen printing. Rock bottom priced e-Bay deals on bulk tees may end up being made from fabric that is not ideal for screen printing. Performance wear typically contains synthetic materials that require expert handling and may impact the cost of the printing. These are reasons why we encourage customers to speak with our knowledgeable customer service staff before deciding on any specific apparel product.
- Printing Light Colors are Dark Fabric
When we print a light colored graphic on a dark fabric, in most cases, this requires an underbase of white ink so the graphic colors remain vibrant. Without the underbase, we would need to apply the colors with a heavy hand resulting in an undesirable thick print. This is one of the reasons that darker colored t-shirts will be priced higher than lighter ones.
- Why Quantity Lowers Price Per Unit
This is really economies of scale at work. Every color used in a screen print order requires an individual screen to be burned that represent the areas of the image that will print in a specific color. Setting up a screen printing press takes time and expertise too so when a lot of effort goes into a small job, there is less opportunity to make a profit. Bigger orders have the exact opposite effect, that’s why we reward our customers with a lower price per unit until we hit the law of diminishing returns.
- No Minimum Required T-Shirt Orders
We don’t require a minimum purchase on many of our products and that’s a big hook for many of our customers that just want to give one t-shirt as gift or to commemorate a special occasion. However, since screen printing requires a great deal of setup time we cannot offer that method on very small orders. Instead, we use a technique called direct to garment printing. It’s basically like a single print from any printer but using techniques and inks that are specific to the garment industry. While digitally printed t-shirts look fantastic, the graphics have a tendency to fade over time. When printing using the digital method, only 100% cotton t-shirts may be used as is dictated by the specialized ink used.
- Size Matters
When choosing a t-shirt product, it’s important to pay attention to sizing guidelines. This is an invaluable resource to gauge how well a t-shirt will fit if you are not familiar with the product. A large in one product brand may fit you like a small in another. Particularly pay attention to descriptions that include “slim-fit or junior fit.” This is a great indicator that the shirt will run smaller than you expect. Likewise, if you plan to squeeze yourself into a size that’s smaller than you normally wear, you may experience some distortion of the print area. This is particularly true of any ribbed fabric.