Heat Press VS Screen Printing: The Actual Difference

Thanks to the recent innovations, you can print a t-shirt or even mass produce it for a short time.

Visit any site that sells apparel t-shirt; you won't miss to find common printing methods like heat press and screen printing. They look cute and appeal.

But, how do you know which methods is the best for your current t-shirt printing project. In this article, you will learn the difference and what makes them special.

This difference will help you determine which printing solution is excellent for your project. Both printing methods are perfect, but it will depend with the purpose that you want to achieve with the project.

Screen Printing:

Screen printing involves application of ink-blocking stencil to a nylon mesh or screen. The stencil will have ink, which is in liquid form. You will then take the stencil and transfer it to the fabrics and voila!! you've got your t-shirt.

Screen printing doesn't work in for all designs. Unlike heat press, screen printing needs more chemical and equipment for it work. It is best for apparel companies. For screen printing to work, you will need.

  • Tape
  • Films
  • Squeegees
  • Scrubbers
  • Printers
  • Screens
  • Plastisol ink

Pros:

  • Screen printing is cost effective if you have large projects, let say like you need to print 1000 units. It doesn't have any size limitation like other methods of printing.
  • Screen printing produce bright fabric with a better soft-feel on the hand. Garments produced through screen print method tend to be durable and can endure roughness from any washing machine.

Cons:

  • Screen printing is not suitable for printing small orders, if you have an apparel company, you will see that it is expensive. For that reason, screen printing is best if you are printing 500 units.
  • The limitation I see with screen printing is that it can't take on complex multi-colored designs. It works with one or two colors in most cases. That explains why you need to take one color per screen.
  • If you were to work with several colors, you will need like 20 screens and the machine has to pass through them to get the desired print.
  • Screen printing can really delay your turn around time if you are working with complex colors.

Heat Press

It is the latest innovations in the t-shirt print design. In a layman language it involves pressing you design into the material using a heat transfer machine.

Then you can apply pressure of between 40 to 80psl and temperature of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit to embed the design into the fabrics.

Before using heat press machine reviews to do the heavy lifting, you have to design the artwork first on a piece of paper. Then transfer that piece to your fabric using a heat press machine.

Heat press is used to create custom designs like table cloths. They are several kinds of heat transfers. Here are there short descriptions.

Vinyl heat transfer:

Heat transfer vinyl reviews involves cutting small pieces of shapes or designs then transferring them into a shirt. For this to work, you will use a heat press machine. It will allow you to print on-off designs or even produce them in mass numbers.

Unlike the screen printing method, the vinly heat transfer allows you to print different colors. It is best suited if you are printing jerseys of sportswear, slogans or small multi-color graphics.

Garment printed from the vinyl heat transfer are durable and stay longer.

Digital print heat transfer:

The desired print is first design and then printed on special transfer paper using a solvent ink. If you have visited a site called t spring that is what they use to make their t-shirt.

First, you design the artwork using a computer, then the company transform that artwork into a special paper using a solvent ink. If you want to mass produce t-shirts of similar design, the digital print heat transfer is cost effective.

In fact, most companies that are into printing business are adopting the digital print heat transfer method.

Garments printed through heat transfer methods are of high quality and they tend to have high resolution images. Heat press methods can take you 2 to 3 minutes to print a single fabrics.

If you are going to deal with complex color stature, then heat press will is ideal for you than screen printing method.

Pros:

  • Unlike screen printing method, heat press is clean and environmental friendly. Screen printing methods involves lots of chemical combinations that may be dangerous if you are health a conscious person.
  • You are guaranteed a high-quality garment because the heat press method uses specialty ink with advanced graphical software packages. This makes work easier and gives you flexibility.
  • Unlike screen printing method that utilizes one color, with heat press method, you can use an array of colors.
  • Heat press is affordable and easy to set up. It is a printing method that you can do it at home. Screen printing is expensive, and you will need equipment and chemicals that are cost.

Cons.

  • For mass production of garment, the process is going to be time-consuming.
  • Most of the garments produced won't last long. You won't be able to lay multiple colors because you t-shirt will feel bulky.

Conclusion:

There you have it, the difference between heat press and screen printing. Screen printing is old school although better tools and equipment are coming out to help you design the fabrics.

For multi-color designs, heat press is ideal; however, you will need to inspect the quality of machine. However, most of its designs are fairly durable.

For quality and long-lasting designs, screen printing is ideal but one problem. You can produce multi-color graphic designs on print. It is not ideal for sophisticated designs. If you were to go this route, you will need lots of screens.

With improvement in technology, this will change. Unlike heat press, screen printing produce lots high quality garment when used with a single color design.

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