How many of you thought of customizing your t-shirts , hoodies and other apparels and knew what kind of print you want?
Answer will be ' NO ' for most of us. Printing for personalized outfit and merchandise is new for India. Many of us don't know which type of printing is suitable for which fabric and color combination possible.
Here at Vector Mantra , we believe to empower the customer ,so that he/she can make the decision and be part of design process as an empowered consumer.
1. Stamp Printing
This one is pretty much what it says it is. A stamp is created, and that is then used to imprint onto the fabric. Similar to making potato stamps when you were a child, to create beautiful paintings. Your design is cut into the stamp, which is then dipped into the ink and using even pressure, you transfer this from the stamp onto your textile. Although we’ve come a long way from potato stamping, the level of detail that you can get from stamp printing is limited, so this is not suitable for the more intricate designs.
No need for machines
Design is always exact
Great for small runs
Not very detailed
Can’t make large quantities
Only one design per stamp
Quality is inconsistent
2. Transfer Printing
Another method is using transfer paper. This is a specialist paper which can be bought from most stationers, as well as craft shops and even some supermarkets. You can use a standard household printer to print your design onto the transfer paper, which you can then print onto your chosen fabric by using a standard, household steam iron. This can be upscaled and done professionally on larger runs however it will leave a shiny film or surface texture on your fabric. It is not a permanent method of fabric printing as it can crack and peel with multiple washes, and often fades.
Can print with standard printer
No specialist equipment needed
Great for small runs
Easy to print and transfer
Leaves a surface texture/film
Transfers are single use
Peels, cracks and fades
Can suffer from low resolutions
3. Screen Printing
As we move towards the other end of the scale, we start to see methods which are used more and more commonly within the professional world of textile printing. Silkscreen printing is most common within the business. This method of printing uses a stencil and a nylon mesh to create the print design. A material which is waterproof will be used to block out the spaces that you want your design to appear on, and then those blocked out spaces are flooded with ink. Due to the way that this method is carried out, you can only use one colour for each screen, however, it does produce fantastic replications.
Amazing image reproductions
Ideal for sharp edges and solid blocks of colour
Cost effective for large runs
One colour per screen – not ideal for multi-coloured designs
Very labour intensive, impractical for small runs
Not great for photos/graduating colours
Creates a lot of waste
4. Dye Sublimation
This is a multi-step process which produces some of the best results of all the fabric printing methods. Designs are printed onto a thermal transfer paper, known as dye sublimation paper. This is then used to create the print on the fabric. Both heat and pressure are used to permanently bond the inks to the fibres of the fabric. This leaves your fabric as soft as it was before it was printed on. The deep infusion technique penetrates specialist water-based inks deep into the textile, which makes your print permanent. Perfect for intricate details as well as colours.
Amazing image reproduction that is permanent
Leaves no texture or residue on the fabric at all
Eco-friendly, water based inks dont fade or peel
Suitable for all size print runs
Not for use on natural fabrics, only on poly textiles
Requires specialist equipment and dyes
More expensive printing method
Requires in-depth knowledge and experience
5. Pigment Printing
Pigment printing is one of the most popular printing techniques for use on cellulose fibres, making them ideal for use on natural fabrics. It is one of the fabric printing methods which can be used on synthetic materials as well, which makes it pretty versatile. It is a localised technique which involves applying the dyes to the part of the fabric that you want your design to be seen. This is done over and over and slowly builds up the colour.
Bright printing with permanent colour
Easy to do, good colour matching
Cost effective, no high end machinery
High-speed printing technique
Not applied directly to the fabric
Uses binders whcih leave a coating on the textile
Colour lessens when repeatedly used over the same material
Dye sits on top of the fibres rather than embeds
6. Reactive Printing
Reactive printing is another of the heat activated fabric printing methods. It is done by pre-coating the fabrics and then and using a binder (similar to that of pigment printing) and a printing additive. It prints a dye or wax onto the fabric, and the heat reaction permanently bonds the image to the textile. Put simply, it is similar to coating the fabric with the design and then steaming it to create a reaction which bonds the design to the material.
Creates a chemical bond between the ink and fabric fibres
Works amazingly well on natural textiles
Wash-fast and rub-fast
Outstanding colour vibrancy
Also requires post-treatment
Not particularly easy to carry out
Not the most cost-effective printing method