If you are thinking of getting tee shirt printing for a project you are deliberating, one of the options you may have come up with is to investigate your options. This article will explain the options between doing it yourself and having a tee shirt printer make your custom printed t-shirts.
A main consideration is what color of t-shirts will you be using for your tee shirt printing? There are no major issues when you print on white tee shirts.
However, when you are doing custom printed t-shirts using light color shirts remember that there is no white ink in your printer so if you had a picture with three people who are dressed in white t-shirts and there were white clouds in the sky then every white area in the image would be the same color as the tee shirt. If you have light blue t-shirts then the t-shirts on the people in your photo and the clouds would be light blue.
Another factor to consider when printing on light color t-shirts is the ink from your printer will somewhat blend with the color of the t-shirt. A while back I printed light blue ink on bright yellow t-shirts. That area became greenish. This is like when we were young and would take yellow with red crayons to get orange. This only occurs with light ink colors on bright light colored t-shirts. The shading is not normally significant but it is something to be aware of. Darker ink colors are really not a concern.
The t-shirt transfer paper you would buy would be for white or light color tee shirt printing. If you want to print on black or any dark t-shirt you would want to have t-shirt transfer paper that is specifically for printing on dark colors.
Printing your transfers can be done with a laser or an inkjet printer. But, before you print your image you must flip the image to reverse it so that when it is printed it will view properly. With some software programs this is easy since they have a "flip" or "mirror" setting. With programs like Word this is normally a bit more difficult. To be positive that you have properly reversed the image, print a copy and put it in front of a mirror. This is the way it will look on your personalized t-shirt.
You need to be sure to set your printer to the correct type of paper. Usually, you'll set it to heavy or card stock.
To get the best look you need to trim around the perimeter of the image that is not used. For example; If you had a picture of the earth and "Save Our Planet" in writing directly underneath it, you would trim around the outside of all of the printing. Often with tee shirt transfers there is aa yellowish hue around the printing. This is caused by the coating on the transfer paper that bonds the ink to the shirt.
A good tee shirt printer will trim away this excess but even more importantly will have a printer / t-shirt transfer combination that when the tee shirt is printed the unprinted parts are essentially transparent and do not have this problem.
When you are ready to press your transfer onto the shirt, if you are pressing with a hand iron you need to follow the instructions to get the best results.
When I first began making t-shirts back in the '90s it took me eleven minutes to press the shirts with an iron and even then about half of them still had ink left on the paper. Because the results were not to my satisfaction I purchased a heat press. A heat press is a machine designed specifically for custom tee shirt printing. You can choose the desired temperature you need and then press the shirt for the number of seconds required.
The heat press that I and several other commercial tee shirt printers use permits the temperature, time and pressure to be set. This gives a perfect press time after time.
It is to be noted that the transfer paper used by professional tee shirt makers need to be applied with a commercial heat press. You are not able to iron these transfers on.
The supplies that you'll need to make your custom printed t-shirts in addition to a computer and a printer, obviously will be t-shirts. You'll likely want to use 100% cotton t-shirts that are preshrunk or 50/50 tee shirts.
You'll also need t-shirt transfer paper. You can buy this specialty paper at places like Office Depot, Staples, Office Max, craft stores like Michael's and Wal-Mart. If you are using an inkjet printer make sure you get paper suited for an inkjet printer and likewise if you have a laser printer.
Follow the instructions that come with your transfer paper. The closer you follow the instructions the better your completed t-shirt will look.
To sums things up, designing and printing your own tee shirts is not only fun but it gives you the added ability to make personalized t-shirts.
There are websites that allow you to design your shirts online or you can take one of your computer programs and design it on your own computer.
If you are using pictures you'll want to use a resolution of about 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the full printing size. If you are not sure what this is about then do a print of your image on a piece of paper and see if your picture looks clear.
You probably already have a program on your computer that will get you started.
I've had designs sent to me in Power Point, Word, Publisher, Excel, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, jpegs, bmps, pdf, Photo Shop, eps, virtually every format there is. So use one of the programs that you have.
If you decide to have a t-shirt company make your custom printed t-shirts, be sure to let them know all of the details they'll need to know to give you a quote. They will need to know what you want printed, where you want the printing, the color of the shirts, how many shirts you'd like, the postal code where you live and when you would need the shirts. This will allow them to give you an accurate quote.
Tee shirt companies can purchase the supplies they need wholesale and in bulk so it is more likely that your tee shirts can be printed for less or about the same as you could produce them yourself.
You will get better quality printed ts-hirts from an experienced commercial printer since the norm is to use quality t-shirts such as Gildan "Ultra" or similar and as I mentioned earlier the t-shirt transfer paper is a commercial grade and it is applied to the t-shirt with a commercial heat press which would be set to the correct amount of heat, time and pressure.