Iron-Ons, Digital Printing Or Screen Printing: Which Custom T-Shirt Process Is Right For You?

If you are interested in designing your own t-shirts, it is helpful to know about the different processes available for making them. Whether you are making shirts for an entire elementary school, a baseball team, or just for yourself, you have options. Three popular processes for making custom t-shirts are iron-ons, digital printing and screen printing.

Iron-ons, also known as heat transfers, are designs that are printed from your own home computer directly onto specialty paper. This paper is then placed on top of the t-shirt and the image is transferred with a hot iron. This process for creating your own custom t-shirts is a good option if you have a design with a lot of different colors or if you are only making one or two shirts with the same design. If you are making more than that, it may be more cost effective to go with digital printing or screen printing. Keep in mind that an iron-on design may not hold up very well in your washing machine. The ink may bleed or fade after a few washings. This process is appealing because it is relatively quick and can be an inexpensive choice if you are only making a small number of shirts of the same design.


Digital printing is the process of printing a design directly onto a t-shirt. This is done by professionals who have the equipment necessary for the process. Digital printing is a good option if you have a design with a lot of complex colors and details. For example, if you want a photo to be printed on your shirt, it will most likely be done by digital printing. If you are only printing a few shirts of the same design, most t-shirt design companies will use digital printing because it is easier and faster than other options. This is a great alternative to heat transfers because instead of having a stiff feel, a shirt made with digital printing will move and bend. Digital printing can also be done on dark colored shirts; iron-ons cannot.


Screen printing is a popular choice for bulk orders. Ink is applied to your custom t-shirts over screens, or stencils. A new screen is used for each color that is applied. Because of this, t-shirt design companies that utilize screen printing may limit the amount of colors you are able to have on your custom t-shirts. Screen printing can be superior to a heat transfer because it usually will last through twice as many washings, if not more more.

Find a wide range of custom T-shirts with The Tdesigner at affordable prices for any occasion or event.

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