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In order to make the most of fabric printing, it is important that you have some basic understanding of what it is really about. Here, we are going to give you some background details to help you in making your decision.

With fabric printing, you can revolutionize your business and we are going to show you how. This guide will show you everything you need to know about fabric printing to guarantee that you will get exactly what you need.

What is Fabric Printing?

Simply put, fabric printing is all about applying color to the fabric. The idea of the color application is to make sure that it becomes permanent. That is why it is important that it can resist friction and washing. Repetitive patterns will be printed into several lengths of fabric, or it might be a single design such as the ones that are printed on the front of t-shirts.

When it comes to fabric printing, it is essential that you have to broaden your mind. Perhaps you want an exclusive design with your company logo for your employees. Or you might want some clothing to be printed for your business. Fabric printing involves all types of transmissions of various designs into the fabric. You can even get imaginative and creative with it rather than just having a logo printed into a cap.

How Does Fabric Printing Work?

There are various ways of printing into the fabric. At the same time, it offers various levels of quality, various finishes, and various prices. Hence, the first thing that you have to do is to determine the appropriate type of printing that fits the task that you want to fulfill.

The printing method that will be used may vary depending on several factors and there is no obvious method. The best method of fabric printing will likely depend on the fabric that you will be working on, the quality of finish you desire, the quantity of fabric as well as the important details of the design.

Generally, there are five preferred printing methods that are commonly used. This includes sublimation printing, heat transfer, direct to garment (DTG), screen printing, and block print. The following is detailed information about each of these printing methods.

Sublimation Printing

This is a type of digital printing method. However, rather than printing the design directly into the fabric, it will be printed first on a special type of paper. Afterward, it will be transferred into the fabric with the use of heat. With sublimation, you can obtain unique designs and better colors. It is also great for synthetic fabrics.

However, this technique cannot be used on cotton, and it is more costly compared to DTG. Most likely, this process can be used for polyester products. Hence, you can save on the cost of the fabric while compensating for the money that you spend on the printing process.

Heat Transfer

Just like the sublimation printing, the heat transfer printing process is done by printing the design into the special paper first. Then, afterward, the design will be transferred into the fabric by using heat. This is an excellent way of transferring labels and logos into the fabric since the result will be so vivid and clean.

You can use this on swimwear and sportswear, wherein you don’t have to embroider the label. Although it works best on synthetic fabrics, yet this method tends to be slow and more expensive as well. This method is commonly used for specific specialized fabric printing, however, if the technician feels that it is appropriate to use, then it will be offered.

Direct to Garment (DTG)

As the name suggests, DTG will take the design and print it directly into the fabric by using water-based inks and a specialized inkjet printer. The fabric should be pre-treated first to guarantee that the color will be absorbed neatly and quickly. The design will then be transferred to another machine where the design will be fixed using heat and steam. Afterward, it will be washed and dried to eliminate any excess chemicals.

This method is ideal for complicated designs that include intricate details and several colors. For instance, if you want a certain photo printed on the front part of the t-shirt, then it is recommended that you should use DTG. To obtain the best outcome from DTG, you should use lighter fabrics like 100% cotton.

This method is the cheapest since it only requires a small amount. It seems that this type of printing has revolutionized promotional clothing for companies since it is a cost-effective way of generating low-cost items that are personalized for companies and can last longer compared to paper-printed products.

Screen Printing

There are two kinds of screen printing. These are the rotary and the flatbed. Flat-bed screen printing can either be partially or fully automated, or you could choose to do it manually. Regardless of what you choose, this process can be a bit slower.

In flat-bed printing, a squeegee will be used for transferring the ink paste via an engraved screen. Also referred to as cylinder printing, rotary printing is accomplished by using pressure in forcing the ink paste through the screen. This process could take some time since you can only apply one color at a time. However, the nature of the design is much easier and simpler compared to DTG and sublimation methods.

Screen printing is the best method for large orders since you can obtain a more consistent outcome compared to the other printing techniques. Usually, this technique is ideal for simple designs that only use solid colors instead of having a lot of shading.

If you require a lot of printing into the fabric, then this is the most affordable technique. Although the cost for the initial set-up might be high, however, this is where most of the cost lies. Hence, if you are printing lots of fabrics, then the set-up costs can be distributed across all the items. Keep in mind that the more colors you use for your design, the more expensive it will be. This is because the fabric will be repeatedly transferred to the machines.

Block Print

This technique is more or less a blast from the past. In fact, it was originally used in the Far East, way back in the 5th century BC. Block print uses wooden blocks with hand-carved designs. The block will be covered with ink before it will be pressed into the fabric.

A chemical will be used in fixing the design. Ideally, this method only fits the artisan. And it is unlikely that you will be using this for your business except if you wanted to have a crafted, organic finish. The block printing method is only worth knowing if you desire something extraordinary since it generates a finish that would be impossible to accomplish using modern technology.

Tips For Fabric Printing

Most likely, the type of printing that is used by businesses is digital fabric printing. This process is done by transferring the digital file into the fabric with the use of specialized machines such as a large desktop inject printer. This is commonly used by standard business print requirements since it provides the appropriate quality levels at a reasonable cost. The following factors can help you in making your decisions when it comes to digital fabric printing.

Choose The Right Dye

Be sure to choose the proper dye for the proper fabric. Generally, there are four kinds of dye. These are reactive dye, pigments, acid dye, and dispersed dye. Pigments are more versatile since they can work on all materials however, they can be costly.

The most commonly used dye is the reactive dye which is often used on linen, cotton, silk, rayon, and wool. Acid dye is perfect for wool, sink, and nylon. And finally, the dispersed dye can be used for polyester. Most likely, businesses will use reactive dye digital printing due to its versatility. However, if you are printing on polyester, then it is best to use sublimation techniques.

Determine The Finish You Desire

When it comes to the design, the clearer you are with what you want to achieve, the more you will feel satisfied with its outcome. In other words, you have to choose the fabrics and colors carefully. With regards to the colors, you can have some fun in choosing since there is no limitation when using digital fabric printing. Unlike screen printing wherein the more colors you use, the higher the cost will be. While sublimation and DTG techniques permit various colors without affecting the end cost.

It is also important that the fabric should be matched to the end-use of the item. For instance, if it is a scarf, then you can use silk. Or if it is a curtain, then you can use heavy linen. You should consider the cost and practicality as well as the quality of finish that your customer desires.

Prepare The Digital File

Keep in mind that if it can be printed on paper, it can also be printed into the fabric. Therefore, the way you prepare your digital file for printing on fabric is just the same as the way you normally do when printing on paper.

Spandex Warehouse offers different varieties of fabrics including fabrics for printing. If you are looking for fabric for sublimation, then you can get in touch with us at telephone number 213-629-7416 or send us an email at [email protected].