Screen printing or direct printing on fabric. Determining the best way to print on t-shirts.



So you've created your design and want to print your own line of T-shirts. The first decision you must make is which way to print better. There are currently many different methods available. Among the most popular options are direct fabric printing (DTG) and screen printing.


Wall31 uses the DTG method for printing, but our partners are happy to print your design using stencils.

We will try to compare these two types of T-shirt printing so you can easily choose the best one for you, based on your design and the number of copies printed.


Screen printing: how does it work?

Screen printing (silkscreen) is a print using a form (stencil) made on a special grid. The imprint is created by pushing the ink through the printing elements of the mold onto the fabric while the squeegee or blade is moving in shape. When printing designs with multiple colors, each color must be applied separately.


What you need to know about screen printing 

You must create a separate stencil for each color in your design, and apply each color individually. Each additional color requires more time, an additional screen to place a T-shirt and stencil. This, in the end, leads to additional costs. Therefore, the number of colors on the T-shirt is limited. Screen printing is a good option for simple designs with a limited number of colors and a large number of printing units. The most optimal is printing up to 2 colors and 30 t-shirts. In this case, you will not have the extra cost of stencils and printing.


Direct Digital Printing (DTG): how does it work?

With DTG printing, the printer prints ink directly onto an inkjet T-shirt. It's similar to print on paper, but made on fabric. A special printer uses water-based inks that are absorbed by the fibers of the garment. After inking, the fabric heat press for 30 seconds at a temperature of 150 degrees and the ink stays in the fabric fibers.


Things to know about direct to garment printing  (DTG)

As  a DTG printer is as good as a regular  printer is, the detail of your image will be better than that of a screen printing. The DTG printer can print up to 60 million colors. You don’t need to limit your colors  on one design. You can simply send the design to the printer. Plus, you can print gradients and photos.

This is a good option for those who do not want to invest in printing of large batches of T-shirts. You can print from one copy to your customer's individual order. You do not need to guess how many t-shirts and what size you need to print so that they do bagged up in storage. You will not have unsold T-shirts and you will not need to sell them at great discounts to vacate your premises.

Which printing method is better?

Screen printing and DTG have  the same print quality, but they differ in method. On the one hand, screen printing is one of the oldest technologies, while DTG is a new technology. Screen printing consists of extruding ink onto fabric, and DTG uses a printer to print ink directly on garment.

The solution ultimately comes down to the complexity of your design and the amount you need to print. If your design is simple and you need to print more than 20 copies - we recommend to use a silk-screen printing. If you need to print single copies, the design is complex and contains more than 5 colors - definitely choose direct to garment printing.

You can see the main pros and cons of each type of print below:

Screen printing


- economically advantageous for large amount

- Ideal for simple designs with limited colors

- the ability to print at the seams

- The more you print, the cheaper each print


- economically unprofitable when using more than 4 colors

- Only simple designs can be printed without clear detail

- significant investment in stencils and the need to print large batches

- printing only one design per batch and the need to change the stencils to change the design

Direct to garment printing  


- a large unlimited color palette

- You can print detailed images, gradients and photos

- Ideal for small batch  and single copies- minimum initial investment


- not cost effective for extremely large batches of simple designs

- limited placement of design and inability to print at the seams


How can Wall31 help you? 

Wall31 prints, packs and ships orders to your customers. What does it mean? We print and distribute print products on behalf of online stores and individuals. We do not in any way indicate that we have completed an order on your behalf and that everything we do is under your control.

The advantage of working with Wall31 is that it is very easy for any user to start a business at no cost to start up. There is no registration or subscription fee. You only pay for the completion of your order. As we print single copies, you do not need to order a large batch of prints and to guess  how many t-shirts you will sell.

If you are still unsure about the printing method - contact us. We will evaluate your design and will be glad to help you with the best solution for your business.