• Sumo

From t-shirts to tote bags, printing has endless possibilities. An array of products with a vast selection of versatile results can be created through a variety of different methods as detailed below.

Screen Printing
Created in China during 960 AD, screen printing is one of the most popular techniques of printing, and is the most cost effective for large orders. The process involves using mesh which is stretched across a frame, which light sensitive emulsion is then applied to. The screen is then prepared with the design by exposing the screen to ultra violet light with the desired design on top. This screen is then washed thoroughly so that the area that was unexposed to the light washes away. This leaves a stencil of the design on the mesh where the ink will now be able to pass through. After drying, and checking there are no unwanted holes in the emulsion (which could lead to unwanted marks), the screen is then ready for printing. The screen is then placed over the desired surface, be it paper, cloth or any other number of materials, and using a squeegee, the ink in then forced through the tiny holes in the mesh, onto the surface, creating the desired design. The squeegee must be dragged from the top of the screen to the bottom, with constant pressure to achieve a smooth bold result. Multiple stencils can be used to create layers of different colour by preparing multiple screens using different which can create a stunning and effective design.

T-Shirt Printing Methods
Digital/Transfer Printing
This is a technique most of us are probably familiar with. A very simple method which involves printing the desired design onto heat transfer paper. The design is then cut out and applied to the chosen surface, a large heated plate is then applied with constant pressure, and left until the heat transfer paper is applied to the fabric. The materials used in transfer printing differ depending if you’re printing onto light or dark garments. As inkjet printers do not have white ink, a special type of transfer paper must be used so the design doesn’t just face into the garment and disappear. Dark transfer paper stays white where there are areas of unprinted ink, the unprinted areas on light transfer paper become transparent when heat is applied. Sometimes the design has to be printed back to front as the design is applied in reverse to the garment.
This method of t-shirt printing isn’t considered a permanent solution, as after multiple washes (even with extreme care) the ink eventually fades.

Embroidery
Embroidery is a hardy and substantial method of T-Shirt customisation, creating an effect of quality and style. The design must first be digitalised using specialised software, before it is programmed into computerised embroidery machines. However on small designs detail can be lost, so small text and imagery may have to be enlarged so the detail remains. Embroidery is perfect for personalising garments with names, or as personalised gifts. It is popular to use on workwear, school wear, and other clothing where quality and durability is required.
Almost any garment can be embroidered, and once a design is digitalised, it can be used multiple times.

Other Methods:
Metallic Foil Printing
A rare specialised form of printing only offered by a limited amount of printing companies. The process is not much different from the transfer printing method, as it can also be used on both light and dark garments. A special clear ink is printed onto the chosen garment, foil is then placed over the design and a heat press applied. The colour of the design depends on what colour foil is used and therefore is limited in colour palette. The result is a very effective and eye catching product, and works very well on designs which have strong and bold line work.

Flock Printing
A similar process to foil printing, flock printing uses velvety material which creates a 3D effect on the garment which is very aesthetically pleasing. Designs are cut out of sheets of flock material, and then any excess fluff is then picked away to ensure a crisp design. Heat is then used to seal the material to the garment.

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