PEOPLE ALWAYS ASK: "WHICH IS BETTER? DTG OR SCREEN PRINTING?"
The quick answer is IT DEPENDS. It depends on the effect your are trying to create. In some cases, a DTG print will look more realistic, have more definition, and is much cheaper. In other situations (depending on the image, the garment, and the desired effect), DTG will result in a clumsy, tourist t-shirt sort of print. Color matching is an issue with DTG because the technology uses RGB or CMYK to create colors. In screen printing, we can mix Pantone colors that are true to life. With DTG there is no pressure pushing the ink into the fabric. The ink will either absorb into it (light color) or rest on top of it (dark color shirt). This is the difference between printing with waterbase inks via screen printing and the DTG process. Screen printing equipment allows the printer to pass more or less ink by adjusting pressure, squeegee angle, speed of printing, etc. Screen printing also offers the option of using discharge inks which print on dark fabrics without leaving a thick hand (DTG with a white base produces an iron-on feel despite it using water base inks). The cost is another issue. Screen printing set-up fees are expensive. If you wanted to print any of the full-color images shown on this page, the cost would be $200-250 just for setting up the screens, and it would take a couple of days to create the first sample. With DTG, you can have a sample done in about 15 minutes for only $25. On the other hand, once the screens were ready, it would take less time and cost per print to produce the screen printed shirts. One should take RESOLUTION, COLOR, HAND/FEEL, COST, TIME into consideration when choosing between DTG and traditional screen printing. In some cases, there is very little difference. Below are some examples of DTG vs. Screen Printing.
DTG machines and supplies are quite expensive (inks cost about $.35 per mL. Furthermore, each shirt must be printed one at a time, so there is no cost savings for printing 200 shirts vs. printing 2. Finally, each print requires a "rip" or set-up time and must be heat pressed. Our prices reflect these input costs.
DARK SHIRTS (white base + CMYK inks)
1-6 SHIRTS: $25 per print
LIGHT SHIRTS (just CMYK inks)
1-6 SHIRTS: $20 per print
*these prices are for printing only and do not include t-shirts/garments
Our press can print up to 12" x 18" (wide x tall) on flat garments. We cannot print over seams or do continuous all-over prints with this machine.
DTG inks work on organic fabrics only such as cotton, rayon, hemp, modal, and organic/synthetic blends (like 50/50). We cannot print on 100% synthetic fabrics like nylon or polyester.
DTG prints are not as vibrant as screen printing, but they are washfast and do not fade over time. Because the ink is water-based, it absorbs into the fabric - thereby having a softer hand than normal oil-based tshirt inks.
Artwork should be provided as a 300 dpi PNG file without any background color. Please size your graphic to scale. You can provide other formats and resolutions, but the print quality is only as good as the artwork.
Digital printing (aka Direct to Garment or "DTG" printing) is a technology that works similarly to a computer printer. The DTG press has a computerized print head that prints water base CMYK inks at a high resolution (up to 1440x1440). This type of printing is great for doing samples, small quantities, and one-offs. It's also great for full-color prints at small quanitites that would otherwise require four-color process screen printing. Just provide us with the digital file of your image, select a t-shirt, and the DTG press can complete your graphic t-shirt in less than 15 minutes. Watch the video to see how our press works.
Our press can print on dark fabrics, too! Many DTG presses only print on white or light colored garments. Our press prints a white under-base and then full-color on top. Check out some samples that we printed below.