Silkscreen Printing vs Digital Heat Transfer Printing
Updated: Apr 7
There are now lots of different ways to print a tshirt in Singapore. Silkscreen printing and digital heat transfer printing are two of these methods that Provision Print offers. So what are the differences between these methods?
Silkscreen printing requires a number of different tools to create the final product. First a stencil, then the print, then attaching to a screen and placing this on the shirt and finally using ink to create the print. Tools include everything from a silk screen, squeegee and inks to exposure units, vector artwork, carousel and heat tunnel. With digital heat transfer printing, you need a trusty computer with Photoshop, Illustrator, the digital artwork, heat press, a t-shirt and the right ink and you’re good to go!
Silkscreen printing is most efficient if you are printing a bulk quantity with artwork of a few colours. Even though time is taken to set up and clean up, the time to screen print larger orders can take a third of the time to print a job in comparison to digital heat transfer printing.
Digital heat transfer printing is a super quick method for one-off print jobs or artwork with a lot of colour. This is because the set up and clean up time when screen printing can be time consuming if you only need one shirt or a print with a wide range of colours.
There are some artworks you just can’t silksceeen, such as photograph images. The quality of prints for digital printing and screen printing vary in feel and longevity, with different methods for different purposes.
Screen printing is great as it allows you to match your pantone colour. It’s also a method that enables you to print on almost any surface. The prints also generally last forever!
Digital heat transfer printing machines can process a beautiful range of colours, but like your printer, at home, you aren’t able to print metallics, neons and Pantone colours. Like all digital prints, the print will fade over time and wear with the fabric.
There is also a difference in the feel of the prints. General screen print inks will sit onto of the fabric and, depending on the type of fabric printed on, will be very smooth or a little rough. Digital prints on white garments will typically feel part of the fabric and very soft, but smooth and more prominent on darker or coloured garments. Check out some examples of silkscreen printing and digital heat transfer printing here.
If you’re looking for some bulk quantity printing with simple artwork, you should choose silkscreen printing, which is much cheaper per piece for large quantity orders. The more colours you have in your design, however, the higher the screen set up fee will go hence bring the per piece cost higher.
Digital heat transfer printing doesn’t require any screen set up fees, so for smaller quantity order, it is much more economical. However, the price doesn’t drop too drastically if you are needing hundreds of pieces.
At Provision Print, we understand the benefits of both screen printing and digital heat transfer printing. Contact us to find out more about our tshirt printing services!