Heat Pressed vs. Screen Transfer: What’s the Difference?

Is it a good idea to use fabric printing in your promotional strategy? Considering that 85% of consumers have been shown to remember advertisers who gave them a shirt or hat, the answer is almost always yes. After all, being remembered is often half the battle to making a sale.

However, as you shop around for custom printed banners, custom designed tee shirts, and embroidered hats, you may not know the jargon used in the business. For example, what exactly is the difference between heat pressed tee shirt printing and screen printing?

Here, we’ll break down the differences between these two common types of fabric printing, and help you decide which variation is going to be best for your needs.

Screen Printing vs. Heat Pressed Printing

For a screen printed tee shirt, a screen is cut to make a stencil for the fabric design. The ink only touches the fabric where the stencil, or screen, allows it to. After the ink is spread over the screen, the screen is removed, leaving just the shape in the color the client specified. Only one color can be applied at a time with screen printing: a new stencil will be needed for each additional color.

In the heat pressed method, custom designs are applied to fabric using a combination of heat and pressure. Common variants of this procedure include vinyl heat transfer and digital print heat transfer. In the vinyl heat transfer process, a machine cuts out designs and letters using pieces of vinyl. Then a heat press is used to transfer the vinyl colors onto the object being printed. With digital print heat transfer, the design is first printed digitally on a special heat transfer paper using solvent ink. This kind of ink permits the design to be transferred from the paper onto the object being printed when pressed with heat.

With both kinds of heat press printing, a heat press machine is required to transfer the graphics from the vinyl or paper onto the fabric.

Choosing Between Heat Pressed Tee Shirt and Screen Fabric Printing

Generally, the best printing type for you will depend on what kind of item you’re customizing and how many you need.

Because a new screen has to be cut for every color in the design, screen printing only really makes sense when you have a lot of tee shirts to manufacture: say, around 500 of them. This way, the same screens can be used multiple times for every one of the tee shirts ordered.

On the other hand, heat press printing involves the same process for every item made, regardless of whether you order two or two thousand. So it’s possible to order just a handful of heat pressed tee shirts without seeing costs rise.

Hopefully, this information will help you navigate the world of fabric printing so you get the exact fabric printing services that meet your needs. When you have more questions, don’t hesitate to contact Austin Instant Tee today.

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