Has your company decided to customize t-shirts for employees? Or, do you want to print t-shirts for sale or for personal use? Whatever is your goal, whenever we need to decide on a print, the question arises: how to choose the best technique for my product. In this post we have mentioned the advantages and disadvantages of the two most used options: Sublimation vs screen printing. Check out some advantages and disadvantages of these processes below, in addition to better understanding how to choose which technique to use according to your goal!
Know a little about the technique of sublimation vs screen printing
Screen printing, also known as silk screen , is a printing technique in which printing is done on a screen. The ink is placed on a screen in contact with the shirt and, through a handle, this ink is spread. In specific places, the ink leaks through the canvas, stamping the fabric.
Nowadays, these screens are made of polyester or nylon. However, at the time the technique was developed, it was made on silk screens and that is why it takes the name of serigraphy – from the Latin sericum (silk) and the Greek graphia (to write, engrave or draw).
The sublimation technique uses another process…
Instead of the ink going directly to the fabric, the print is first printed on a special paper and, when subjected to high temperatures, the sublimation ink changes from a solid to a gaseous state, marking the fabric below. This marking is what gives shape to the pattern.
And that’s why the technique takes the name of sublimation, since this word refers to the change from the solid state to the gaseous state.
However, it is not only at the time of printing that the techniques differ. Both have peculiarities.
sublimation vs screen printing? Which is best for your custom shirt
Now that you understand that the stamping process of both are different, it’s time to know the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
Advantages of Screen Printing Technique vs Advantages of Sublimation
Serigraphy is one of the most resistant techniques in the world of stamping. It has low equipment cost, easy handling and screens can be reused.
One of its biggest advantages over sublimation is the possibility of printing on dark fabrics, since the sublimation technique is only suitable for light colored fabrics.
In addition, the fabrics used in screen printing can be made of 100% cotton and also with polyester in the composition, which makes a big difference in relation to sublimation. Sublimation can only be performed on fabrics with at least 80% polyester. For polyester and dry fit shirts, sublimation is the most suitable, as the ink used can fix better in this process.
Speaking of the print itself, the arts of the silkscreen technique must be traced and with well-defined colors. In sublimation, it is possible to make a personalized shirt with chromia arts, such as a photo, for example, as the print of the image can capture more details.
In sublimation, the print can be made from high resolution files and can be applied in A4, A3 and 38×48 sizes. The same logic in the process used to print these sizes can also be used to print the entire shirt, called full sublimation. ( Learn more about total sublimation here ).
Disadvantages of Screen Printing Technique vs Disadvantages of Sublimation
Screen printing is not a very suitable technique for prints with many colors, as each color refers to a canvas. In addition, it is more suitable for orders with large quantities of personalized t-shirts, to compensate for the expenses with screens.
One of the biggest disadvantages of sublimation is that the fabric composition is limited to at least 80% polyester. Another disadvantage of this technique is the issue of the color of the fabrics, which must be light.
Digital printing: technology and printing go hand in hand
More and more technology has advanced and improved the stamping processes. And, in addition to the silkscreen and sublimation technique, it is possible to create personalized shirts with several other techniques that you can also find at Dimona .
For example, nowadays it is possible to find digital printing techniques, in which the art is printed directly on the shirt by a printer, without the need for screens or special papers.
This type of process is called Silk Digital and currently there are two types: Silk Digital and Silk Digital HD. Both have incredible quality and definition.
The two most popular printing techniques are sublimation and screen printing. And it is very common to have doubts about which one is the best option. The truth is that both techniques have positive and negative points. In this way, we must analyze the design to be printed and also take into account the number of t-shirts to be made, before defining which printing technique is most recommended for your situation.