Print on demand is a printing technology business that deals with printing designs, logos, or words on materials such as mugs, sweatshirts, hoodies, t-shirts, shawls, and many others.
There are various ways to operate a print-on-demand business in terms of production. Customized t-shirts are the new norm all around the globe.
T-shirts can be printed for different intentions. For example, while campaigning for a respective candidate in elections, while promoting a company’s product, for a funeral, and many more functions.
While starting a print-on-demand business, there is some factor that you should consider.
Such factors include the method of printing, the kind of designs you will be dealing with, the items you are to specialize with, the best custom t-shirt design software among others.
There are various t-shirt printing methods revolving around the print-on-demand business. Such methods include:
1. Direct to Garment printing method (DTG)
In this method, inkjet printers are used since they print high-quality and full-color designs. Inkjet printers are also relatively cheaper compared to laser printers.
Inkjet printers have a plus advantage whereby they can be used on various fabrics such as silk, polyester, cotton, viscose, wool, and linen.
This printing method is eco-friendly and does not pollute the environment as such. The inkjet printers print the designs respectively, according to the software on pre-treated fabric or t-shirts. This method is best for complex designs.
Well, this is the most common method used in the print-on-demand business. Screen printing can be done by either using your hands or using a machine.
This method has the best quality prints since the inks used are thicker, allowing them to last longer and produce vibrant colors due to the deep absorption.
This method requires enough space, and you should be aware that it gets messy when screen-printing.
Screen printing is also a good option for mass production of t-shirts with the same design at a high speed.
Moreover, it has some variations that compliment screen-printing which includes
- Gel printing- this is where a clear gel layer is added over screen printing
- Glow in the dark- in this case, the ink absorbs light and thus glows in the dark.
- Crackle finish- the ink breaks after drying and results in an appealing cracked effect.
- UV glow- the ink glows when exposed to UV rays.
- Glitter finishing- glitters are added to the designs
- Suede finish- suede inks are used to produce an appealing textured finish.
3. Dye sublimation
This method involves a computer printing technique that uses heat to transfer dye onto fabric. Once heated, the solidified inks used become vaporized into gas.
It is different from screen-printing since it involves dying on the fabric directly, while screen printing involves printing on top of the fabric.
Beware that this method only works on light fabrics like polyester and not cotton. The designs last for a long.
4. Heat press printing
This method uses the process of heat to transfer an image created in wax to fabric.
Technically, a heat press is a machine used to imprint a design on the fabric under the principle of heat and pressure.
You can easily replicate designs using this method. It is easy to understand and use this method for sure.
You should keep in mind that it does not work well on dark fabrics, since the dye is translucent.
5. Vinyl cutting method
This method has the following steps: cutting a special soft cloth into shapes and designs, then transferring it to a shirt, the special designs are placed onto the shirt by use of the heat press method.
This method is favorable for both mass and small-scale production. Logos are best made using this method. You are also assured of high-quality products since the design does not crack.
6. Plastisol transfers
This is a simple version of screen printing. Inkjet printers are still used whereby the design is printed on plastisol transfer paper, then heat press the design on the t-shirt. It works with both full colors and few color designs.
You can choose the method that will meet your requirements. You should consider the following while choosing a method:
- The rate of production – this is important since one wants a method that will not be exhaustive while making mass productions.
- The cost incurred – you should weigh all the methods at hand and figure out the one that will be favorable to your budget, same time giving good service.
- The compatibility – it is better to choose a method that can be used on various types of fabrics instead of just one or then again the fabrics you want to specialize in.
- The printing quality – printing quality also matters in this case, since it will determine if the printed design will be durable or not.
You could also try doing some online research to find out the frequently used methods by other people in the print on-demand business and follow up such conversations.
It is therefore essential to think through this matter well to avoid flaws in the future due to bad decision-making. You should work with a “High-quality products, more customers” mentality.
The printing method you choose will also determine your printing quality, since they are all different. A method that can serve various functions could be the best option, even though it might be costly, at least it will pay back within no time. You should also remember that print on-demand business requires creativity too to be able to survive there.