DTF Insider

Different Types of Shirt Printing: A Comprehensive Guide

Dec 14, 2023

Different types of tshirt printing

When it comes to creating custom-designed t-shirts, the choice of printing method plays a crucial role in determining the final product's quality and appearance. From traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies, there is a wide array of methods available.

In this blog post, we will explore various types of shirt printing, ranging from the classic to the contemporary, helping you make an informed decision for your next t-shirt project.

What are the different types of t-shirt printing?

Direct-to-Garment Printing (DTG)

Direct to Garment Printing

Direct-to-Garment Printing, commonly known as DTG, is a modern technique that involves printing designs directly onto the fabric using specialized inkjet technology. This method is ideal for intricate designs and detailed artwork, as it allows for high-resolution prints with a soft feel. DTG is best suited for small to medium-sized orders and offers a quick turnaround time.

Also Read: How to Press DTF Transfers on T-shirts

Screen Printing

Screen Printing

Screen printing is one of the oldest and most traditional methods of t-shirt printing. It involves creating a stencil (screen) for each color in the design and then using it to apply ink onto the fabric. Screen printing is cost-effective for large quantities and offers vibrant and long-lasting prints. However, it may not be as suitable for intricate designs due to the complexity of the process.

Heat Transfer Printing Methods

Dye Sublimation or All-Over Printing (AOP) 

Dye sublimation is a method where heat is used to transfer dye onto the fabric, resulting in a permanent and high-quality print. All-over printing (AOP) allows for designs to cover the entire garment seamlessly, providing a unique and visually striking appearance. This method is popular for sports jerseys and activewear due to its breathability and durability.

Direct-to-Film Printing (DTF)

Direct to Film printing

Direct-to-Film Printing is a relatively new technique that involves printing designs onto a special film, which is then heat-pressed onto the fabric. DTF provides excellent color vibrancy and is suitable for both light and dark-colored garments. It is a cost-effective option for small to medium-sized orders, combining the benefits of DTG and traditional screen printing.

Plastisol Transfers

Plastisol transfers involve printing designs onto a special transfer paper using plastisol ink. The transfer is then heat-pressed onto the fabric, resulting in a smooth and durable print. This method is advantageous for bulk orders and offers a wide range of color options. Plastisol transfers are known for their vibrant prints and flexibility on various materials. 

CAD Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing 

CAD heat transfer vinyl printing

CAD Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing involves cutting designs from colored vinyl sheets and heat-pressing them onto the fabric. This method is popular for simple and bold designs, offering a textured and layered appearance. It is commonly used for creating personalized t-shirts, sports jerseys, and promotional items. 

Other Printing Techniques



Embroidery is a classic technique that involves stitching designs onto the fabric using thread. While it is not a traditional printing method, embroidery adds a tactile and premium feel to garments. It is often used for logos, monograms, and intricate designs on high-quality apparel.


Air Brushing

Airbrushing is a manual technique where an airbrush tool is used to spray paint onto the fabric. This method allows for custom and artistic designs, making each t-shirt unique. Airbrushing is popular in the world of custom apparel and streetwear due to its creative possibilities.

Also Read: How to wash DTF graphic tees without Cracking or Fading

Which T-Shirt Printing Methods Should You Choose?

Choosing the right printing method depends on various factors, including the complexity of your design, the quantity of shirts needed, and your budget. For intricate designs with a high level of detail, DTG or DTF may be the best choices. Screen printing is excellent for large quantities, while heat transfer methods like dye sublimation provide versatility and vibrant prints.

How to Create T-Shirts with DTF?

DTF printing involves several steps, including preparing the design, printing it onto a special film, and heat-pressing it onto the fabric. Here is a simplified guide to creating t-shirts with DTF:

  • Design Preparation: Create or choose a digital design suitable for DTF printing.
  • Printing on Film: Use a DTF printer to print the design onto a special film using appropriate inks.
  • Film Application: Place the printed film on the garment and secure it with heat-resistant tape.
  • Heat Press: Use a heat press machine to apply heat and pressure, transferring the design from the film onto the fabric.
  • Peeling: After the heat press process, carefully peel off the film, leaving the vibrant design on the t-shirt.


DTF Transfers


What are types of t-shirt printing?

There are various types of t-shirt printing, including DTG, screen printing, dye sublimation, DTF, plastisol transfers, CAD heat transfer vinyl printing, embroidery, and airbrushing.

What is the best type of shirt printing?

The best type of shirt printing depends on your specific needs. For intricate designs, DTG or DTF may be suitable, while screen printing is ideal for bulk orders. Dye sublimation offers vibrant all-over prints, and embroidery adds a premium touch.

What are the 8 types of printing methods?

The eight types of printing methods discussed in this blog are DTG, screen printing, dye sublimation, DTF, plastisol transfers, CAD heat transfer vinyl printing, embroidery, and airbrushing.

What is the cheapest type of shirt printing?

Screen printing is often considered the most cost-effective method for large quantities of shirts. However, the overall cost can vary based on factors such as the number of colors in the design and the complexity of the artwork.

In conclusion, the world of t-shirt printing offers a diverse range of methods, each with its unique advantages and applications. Whether you're creating custom merchandise, promotional items, or personalized apparel, understanding the different types of shirt printing can help you choose the method that best suits your needs and brings your creative visions to life.

Related Articles
How to Heat Press Custom DTF Transfers on Polyester

How to Heat Press Custom DTF Transfers on Polyester?

Read more
Accessories You Need for Your Heat Press Machine

Accessories You Need for Your Heat Press Machine

Read more
Can we use sublimation ink for DTF transfers

Can You Use Sublimation Ink for DTF Transfers?

Read more
What are UV DTF Wraps

What is the Difference Between UV DTF and DTF Printers?

Read more

1 comment

  • Sam Andrews
    Jan 22, 2024 at 02:29

    I suppose you made your point regarding how screen printing should be our choice in case we have too many T-shirts to customize. My only hope is for my sister to consider this alternative when consulting a supplier afterward. She plans to send some nice T-shirts to her friends this Christmas. https://www.shirtsonsite.com/services-3


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.