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Tee Shirt Printing – Whether to Make Your Own Custom Printed T-Shirts Or Have Them Printed For You
If you are considering getting t-shirts printed for a project you are considering, one of the options you may have come up with is researching your options. This article will explain the options between doing it yourself and getting a t-shirt printer to make your custom t-shirts.
An important consideration is what color of t-shirts will you use to print your t-shirt? There are no major problems when printing on white t-shirts.
But when making custom t-shirts with bright colors, remember that there is no white ink in your printer, so if you had a picture with three people dressed in white t-shirts and there were white clouds on sky then every white area in the image would be the same color as the t-shirt. If you have light blue t-shirts, the t-shirts of the people in your picture and the clouds will be light blue.
Another factor to consider when printing on light colored t-shirts is the ink from your printer will blend somewhat with the color of the t-shirt. A while back I printed light blue ink on bright yellow t-shirts. That area turned green. It’s like when we were young and wanted to take yellow with red crayons to get orange. This only occurs with light ink colors on bright light t-shirts. The shading is usually not significant, but it is something to be aware of. Darker ink colors really aren’t a problem.
The t-shirt transfer paper you would buy would be for white or light t-shirt printing. If you want to print on black or any dark t-shirt, you will want 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. However, before you print your image, flip the image to flip it so it can be viewed correctly when printed. With some software programs this is easy as they have a “flip” or “mirror” setting. With programs like Word, this is usually a bit more difficult. To make sure you’ve flipped the image correctly, print a copy and place it in front of a mirror. This is how it will look on your personalized t-shirt.
You must be sure to set your printer to the correct paper type. Usually you will set it to heavy or cardboard.
For the best look, trim around the unused image. E.g; if you had a picture of the earth and “Save Our Planet” in writing directly below it, you would trim around the outside of the entire print. Often with t-shirt transfers there is a yellowish tint around the print. This is due to the coating on the transfer paper that binds the ink to the shirt.
A good t-shirt printer will remove this excess, but more importantly will have a printer/t-shirt transfer combination such that when the t-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, follow the instructions for best results.
When I first started 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 bought a heat press. A heat press is a machine designed specifically for specially designed t-shirt printing. You can select 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 t-shirt printers use allows you to set the temperature, time and pressure. This provides perfect pressure every time.
It should be noted that the transfer paper used by professional t-shirt makers must be applied with a commercial heat press. You cannot iron these transfers on.
The supplies you will need to make your custom t-shirts besides a computer and a printer will obviously be t-shirts. You will probably want to use 100% cotton t-shirts that are pre-shrunk or 50/50 t-shirts.
You will 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 use an inkjet printer, make sure you get paper suitable for an inkjet printer and also if you have a laser printer.
Follow the instructions that come with your transfer paper. The more closely you follow the instructions, the better your finished t-shirt will look.
To sum things up, designing and printing your own t-shirts is not only fun, but it also gives you the opportunity 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 using images, use a resolution of about 300 dpi (dots per inch) at full print size. If you’re not sure what it’s about, make a print of your image on a piece of paper and see if your image looks clear.
You probably already have a program on your computer that will get you started.
I have had designs sent to me in Power Point, Word, Publisher, Excel, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, jpegs, bmps, pdf, Photo Shop, eps, pretty much every format there is. So use one of the programs you have.
If you decide to have a t-shirt company make your custom printed t-shirts, make sure you tell them all the details they need to know in order to give you a quote. They need to know what you want printed, where you want it printed, the color of the shirts, how many shirts you want, zip code, where you live and when you need the shirts. This will allow them to give you an accurate quote.
T-shirt companies can buy the supplies they need wholesale and in bulk, so it’s likely that your T-shirts can be printed for less or about the same as if you could produce them yourself.
You will get better quality t-shirts printed from an experienced commercial printer as 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.
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