Heat Transfer VS Silk Screen

Heat Transfer VS Silk Screen

  • Write By: admin
  • Published In: Type of Printing
  • Created Date: 2016-12-29
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Before customizing your t-shirt, you may see a lot sounding printing types available online. And you would probably be wondering what is/are the difference between those printing options.

In this article, we will help you decide which printing process is best for you by breaking down the differences between Heat Transfer VS Silk Screen Printing.

Screen Printing vs Heat Transfer


When a design is produced using Silk Screen Printing Method, actual screens was used in the process, so it is call screen print! Essentially, the screen is cut just to make a template for the design. Ink is then spread over the screen, passing through to the clothing underneath, the areas you have placed.

One screen can only be used for one color (can be use multiple times)- so depending on the number of colors in the design, multiple screens may be used to produce the final item.

Heat transfer printing method however, it applies custom designs to items like t-shirts or larger clothing through a process that uses a combination of heat and pressure. Common kinds of heat transfer printing include vinyl heat transfer and digital print heat transfer.

With the vinyl heat transfer process, a machine is used to cut out designs and letters in pieces of colored vinyl. A heat press is then used to transfer each vinyl color of the design onto the object being printed. By using this method, it makes the color last longer on darker clothing.

With digital print heat transfer, the desired graphic is first digitally printed on special heat transfer paper using a solvent ink. This type of ink allows the design to be transferred from the paper to the item being printed when pressed with heat.

With both these types of heat transfer, a heat press machine will be needed to transfer the graphic, either vinyl or digitally printed, from one surface to another.

Yet, each shirt needs its own paper printed individually. Eg. 100 t-shirt with heat transfer print method used, they will need 100 paper for it.

So Which Printing Type Should You Choose?


The best printing type for you depends on what type of item you are customizing and how many you would like in total. Because unique screens need to be cut for each color of a screen printed design, it is more cost effective to produce a larger number of items with this method, versus just a few at a time. Conversely, the heat transfer process is the same with every print made, so you can order just a couple items at a time without costs ballooning.

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