Different Printing Methods to Create Custom Apparel

Different possible methods that can be used to get custom made apparel for an event, team, business, organization, fundraising, and much more.

Which method will work best depends on many several factors including quantity, type of garment, number of colors in the design, time frame of need to mention but a few.

Screen Printing

This is by far the most common way used to create custom made shirts. The process includes using a mesh screen to imprint the design on the desired surface by pushing the paint through it.

Each color in the design requires a different screen and since this process works like a stencil, the higher quantity of shirts ordered, the lower the unit price it will be.

This process uses the best quality print for a design or logo.

For large quantity orders screen printing is ultimately the better option for its speed and efficiency.


  • Vibrant colors

  • High quality image

  • Durability

  • Cost effective for large quantity orders


  • Higher set-up cost when compared to other methods

  • Requires a minimum quantity order

  • Multiple colors require multiple screens, adding to the set-up cost making small quantities more expensive

  • Shading and Many Colors

Machine Embroidery

Embroidery is the art of applying designs onto fabric using a needle and thread. Machine embroidery is accurate and designs can be produced with perfect symmetry giving an aesthetic appealing image making the work look elegant.

The benefit of using custom embroidery for a company team apparel can benefit the business in many ways and provide a significant return on the investment as it remains timeless and a popular way to brand apparel.


  • Durable

  • Long-lasting color

  • Suited for Hard-To-Print-On Materials

  • More colors at no extra cost

  • Quality look

  • Ideal for logos


  • Not suited for some designs

  • Limited to size

Direct to Garment Printing (DTG)

Direct-to-garment, or DTG, is a printing method that adds the ink onto the garment. The ink then soaks into the fibers of the garment. It is precise and a method that allows printing images in higher detail with no limit to colors. The ink remains solid and is embedded into the fabric of the shirt.


  • Full color high detail printing

  • Preserves the soft feel of the garment

  • Single shirts can be produced easily


  • In comparison to Screen Printing for large orders, this process is slow

  • Not all DTG Printers are able to print white ink or on polyester material

DTG Printing
DTG Printing

Heat Transfers

Two primary methods utilized for heat transfers.

1. Involves using a heat press to transfer custom vinyl cut out designs onto shirts.

2. Using ink to print the design onto transfer paper, which is then placed on the shirt and heat pressed to the fabric.


  • Small quantity runs allow customers to get their items faster

  • Great for numbering and names

  • Photo prints can be transferred in full color


  • Heat sensitive fabrics cannot be used

  • Heat pressed vinyl can possibly crack after several runs in the dryer

  • Prints are stiff, making the fabric firm

  • Prints appear best on light-colored t-shirts

Future of Custom Apparel and Garment Printing

There are new technologies coming out to increase the quality, speed, or feel for any of these methods. Recently, the heat press industry has been able to start selling full-color transfer at fairly reasonable prices. This allows customers that would like many colors but did not want to spend a lot of setup charges to get their t-shirt with their design on it for a lower cost.

There are also always innovation efforts to make the screen printing method more efficient, consistent, and durable. For example, new dryers or automatic screen printing methods have changed the industry for the better.

As a custom apparel product company we keep up with the industry news and all of the new innovations going on to be able to provide the best quality products for our customers. If you or your team is in need of t-shirts, apparel, promotional products, signs, business cards, or more.

Please contact me at or 713-714-6826.

86 views1 comment