How to print custom shirts
Whether you’re starting your own custom t-shirt business or gathering your loved ones for an annual family reunion, there are plenty of reasons to design your very own custom shirt. Those who are less artistically inclined may be wondering: how can I do it myself? Buying a screen printing machine can be rather expensive, so you’ll have to get creative if you’re hoping to dodge unnecessary costs associated with professional screen printing services.
For those family reunion attendees and business owners hoping for a custom design that will unify their team or group of loved ones, here’s a look at the step-by-step process of designing and ordering your very own custom shirts. Before you begin the printing process, you’ll need to acquire a set of top-of-the-line custom t-shirts that you find through retailers like ShirtSpace.
Choosing the design
If the design you’re looking for isn’t readily available on the market, printing your own custom t-shirts can be a great solution. Instead of settling on a run-of-the-mill design, you should carve out time to meditate on what you want your design to convey.
For example, if you’re creating a design for your business, then you need to make sure the shirt encapsulates both your brand image and your company’s core values. Investing time in the design process will help ensure that you’re 100% satisfied with the end results.
Know how much you need and how much you can pay
Custom printing isn’t always doomed to be expensive. If you’re strategic in your ordering, printing custom shirts can be a relatively affordable option. Therefore, taking the time to determine the number of shirts you’ll need and how much you can afford to pay upfront is an absolute must for the t-shirt printing process.
This step is especially important if you’re looking to create shirts for a charitable event. It’s safe to assume that you don’t want to spend too much of the money being raised, so it’s very important to calculate how many volunteers who require custom shirts will be attending the event before submitting your order.
Decide on the printing method
Even if you’re looking to order your custom shirts from a professional screen printing company, you’ll still be presented with the options for the type of printing method and materials used. Some of the options you’re provided with will have a variety of pros and cons. Screen printing is considered to be the gold-standard in the industry. Although initially very affordable, this method can become enormously expensive if you or your company is in need of multiple designs as a new screen needs to be made each time.
As an alternative, direct to garment printing can be an excellent choice as it has quick turnaround time, production time, and no minimum order quantities are required. Another advantage to this newer printing method is that it offers more precision, allowing you to print designs with a high-quality level of detail. If you do opt for this method, consider investing in the number-one-selling direct-to-garment printer, the Epson SureColor F2100.
In the shopping phase, you may also be offered a vinyl cloth graphics option. Vinyl cloth graphics are great if you’re planning on wearing and re-wearing the shirt for several days, as these graphics are often more durable than screen printing. The only drawback to this option is that it leans towards the expensive side and tends to work better for smaller orders. If you’re hoping to gift a large team of volunteers or staff with custom shirts, screen printing may be in your best interest.
Vetting the companies
If you’re planning on ordering from a local retailer, then you’ll need to understand the logistics of the service being provided. Don’t be afraid to contact each business of interest both online and bricks and mortar, to request sample orders. This will allow you to determine if the material and graphic quality are up to your standards. Before landing on a final decision, research each company’s printing time, the price per shirt and any discounts they offer.
Should you go for cotton?
Perhaps the most popular option in terms of t-shirt material is 100% cotton. The material is incredibly versatile, feels great and can be washed multiple times without wear-and-tear. If cotton is a little too heavy for your outdoor event, then your next option would be a 50% polyester and 50% cotton blend. This fabric blend will feel silkier and will maintain its structural integrity during washes.
Understanding file sizes
Most people who want to order custom shirts will do so online as higher quality and affordable products are more readily accessible on an online platform. However, ordering online poses the challenge of providing the right size files to the printing company of choice.
For example, if you send a file that’s too small, the printer won’t be able to enlarge that file without distorting the image. Therefore it’s incredibly important to communicate with your preferred custom t-shirt company about the specific file size requirements. This information must be requested within the early stages to avoid any miscommunications and mishaps later on.
Review, review, review
A responsible company will provide you with a sample order before diving into mass printing. Take the time to inspect your shirt carefully. Make sure your custom design is printed on the correct material, using the right printing method and colour schemes. If you’re satisfied with the sample order, you can approve the design for final printings. Weeks or even days later, your very own custom t-shirts will be ready for pick up.
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