8 Easy Ways to Print on Fabric: Which One Is the Best for Your Needs?

The possibilities are almost endless when you are getting creative with your design and there are all sorts of different applications and reasons why you might want to print your finished masterpiece onto fabric.

As well as being only limited by your own imagination as to what you decide to print onto your fabric there are also a surprisingly diverse number of ways for you to print on fabric, from using silk screening services to using printable sheets and plenty of ideas besides.

Here is a look at some of the methods to consider so that you might be able to decide which one is best for you.

Consider screen printing for a professional finish

It is truly amazing how you can transform an inexpensive T-shirt into an ambassador for your brand when the quality of the printing is up to gold standard.

It is easy to understand why custom apparel is such a popular choice for business owners who want to achieve a good level of visibility for their company without it costing a fortune.

You can even use an online screen printing service where you can design an image or upload one of your own before arranging to have it professionally printed onto your T-shirt.

Screen printing is a specific method of direct fabric printing that involves the use of a porous mesh screen which has been stretched over a frame. There are two distinct types of screen printing, flatbed, and rotary screen.

Rotary screen printing tends to be more popular commercially as it is a mechanized system and normally costs less than flatbed printing.

You can design a T-shirt for a promotional event or as smart work apparel and when you use screen printing a lot of the hard work is done for you.

Using your own printer

If you are looking for a quick and easy printing on fabric solution it is will be hard to beat the idea of using your own printer to get the job done.

If you have not done this before the first thing to say is that you won’t have to worry about the logistical challenge of putting the fabric through your printer, as it doesn’t work like that.

If you have a nice old-school inkjet printer you could print on fabric using some self-adhesive laser label sheets and then peel the back off an apply firmly to the fabric once you printed your image on the label.

Iron on

Another easy option is to buy a printing pack that is designed for the job of creating a transferrable image on a typical fabric item such as a T-shirt or something similar.

All you have to do is print your image onto the right side of the special sheet and then follow the instructions by turning it face down and using the heat of your iron to transfer the image permanently directly on your fabric.

Try engraved roller printing for a pro finish

If you wondered how a lot of the colorful fabrics are created on some of your favorite clothes the answer is probably engraved roller printing.

This method of fabric printing involves applying dye through an engraved roller that has been prepared beforehand and the reason why this system is used so extensively amongst apparel manufacturers is that it is easy to achieve a decent level of consistency with this process.

Knowing that your printed fabric will look good every time is a big plus and if that is what you are seeking, engraved roller printing might need to be on your agenda.

A very easy way to print on fabric

Next up on the list is stencil printing, which is an easy but effective way to print onto fabric.

The way it works is you cut stencils in the shape of your chosen design and then apply the color dye of your choice in the spaces created inside the stencil.

Stencil printing is really so simple to do and the finished effect can be quite impressive, however, it can be quite a labor-intensive and time-consuming method, which is why it is normally only considered for single print jobs.

Get yourself a spray gun

Another fabric printing method to consider is spray printing, and as the name suggest you will need a spray gun to achieve the desired result.

This is not a fabric printing that is for beginners but if you want to enjoy a good end result with your finished item you could invest in a specialized sprayer which you then use to force the color onto the fabric through a screen.

Achieve a vivid finish, but at a cost

It is always worth exploring all options if you are looking for a professional-looking solution and that is why sublimation transfer printer is worthy of a mention.

This method involves using a sublimation dye which you transfer onto the fabric using heat.

You will need to invest in a heat press machine and some sublimation ink for this process and although this type of printing is going to prove costlier than a thermal transfer method, the end result will be very noticeable for how vivid and attractive the colors on your fabric are.

Direct to garment

Finally, you might want to consider a process which involves printing directly onto your fabric using a purpose-built inkjet printer.

Direct to garment digital printing has a number of advantages once you have accounted for the setup costs of buying an inkjet printer for the job.

You can achieve great results with this process and if you intend to print multiple copies of the same image onto your chosen fabric it is worth considering direct to garment printing as an option.

However, you should note that there are some fabrics that are not suited to this type of printing and for best results, the best combination is often the use of a lighter colored fabric for your base and dark ink colors. As you can see, there are a number of distinct ways to print onto fabric and there is bound to be a solution that meets your needs.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, CEO of Inspired Marketing, Inc., is a small business marketing coach who teaches women entrepreneurs how to monetize their message so they can make more money from their expertise. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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