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Our Different T-shirt Printing Processes

T-shirt Printing Processes…

If you’re looking for a t-shirt printing company then please take a few minutes to check out TshirtsCanada.

Our focus has always been on producing excellent t-shirts using the latest innovations in t-shirt transfer technology. We have a number of methods that we use in our printing processes.

Our primary method is to use t-shirt transfer paper that is printed using a colour laser printer and then that transfer is applied to the t-shirt using an automated commercial heat press.

Different colours of t-shirts require different applications.

For example if you wanted to have a full colour photo of a dalmatian (remember “101 Dalmatians”?) printed on a white t-shirt, that’s pretty straight forward since we have a white background to print on.

However, if you wanted the same photo on a daisy yellow t-shirt… (I’ll get back to this in a minute)


The Printing ProcessesYellow haze t-shirt with graphic art

The t-shirt example on the right (Marshal – 2011) uses the same printing paper that is used on white t-shirts.  This t-shirt is yellow haze which is a pastel yellow. The only difference between printing on a white t-shirt and a light coloured t-shirt is on a white t-shirt any areas of the photo or artwork are transparent since there is no white ink in a colour laser printer. So, on a white t-shirt any white areas are white. On a yellow haze t-shirt the unprinted white areas are transparent and take on the colour of the t-shirt.

When I printed the t-shirt transfer for the shirt on the right there is some yellow printing for the sun and the text that you can sort of see to the left of 2011 but that is the only yellow in the printing. The word Marshal was actually white however it has taken on the colour of the t-shirt.

So, this means we can get full colour results (except for white) on light colour shirts. In this instance having white isn’t crucial.


When White Ink is Crucial for Your Printing

There are times when having white is crucial. So we have a different process (a different t-shirt transfer paper is used)

The analogy that I use is this. Let’s say that you wanted to print your dalmatian picture with your photo printer. Your photo is a picture of your dalmatian at the beach on a sunny day. In his mouth he has a red bucket.

If you were to print this photo on a daisy yellow shirt using the same process as printing on the white shirt a few things would happen. and this would be the same if you printed your photo on a sheet of yellow paper.

Daisy yellow is a bright, strong yellow. The ink on the transfer paper is somewhat translucent.

If the dalmatian photo was printed on a daisy yellow t-shirt the dog would be yellow with black spots. The red bucket would still be red. The sand would still look like sand, however, the clouds in the sky would be yellow. The water and the sky would take on a green hue (remember when you were a kid and used yellow and blue crayons to make green?).

Daisy Yellow T-shirt with printing on the frontSo the photo on a daisy t-shirt would take on a different characteristic. It might even look cool but it certainly isn’t a black and white dog anymore.

This t-shirt to the left was printed using this special paper where white is crucial.

Notice that all of the checkered flag is black and white and all of the white areas are white. However, also notice that there is no text outside of the main printed area.

This method can be used on any colour of shirt providing the image has a perimeter to allow the excess paper to be trimmed away.



Printing on Mid Colour T-shirts

With the advances that have been made in t-shirt transfer papers we now can print on a number of mid colour shirts. Using this procedure we can achieve screen-like printing. It used to be that when attempting to print on darker t-shirts you would see an ugly polymer window. Not any more. I have an example on this page. Click here to view. There is also a list of the t-shirt colours and a price list.

Now this printing works great. The only thing is that the ink colour must be darker than the t-shirt colour. We can print red ink on daisy yellow shirts but if I try to print yellow ink on red shirts the ink is no longer yellow. In fact on red shirts the only colour of ink that works is black. But the black ink on red shirts looks excellent.


Screen Printing

There are times when you want white printing on black shirts and it is text white a clipart. For a case like this, screen printing is the best solution and sometimes the only solution.


T-shirt Printing Summary

I hope this added some clarity for you.

We have a video that has the same image printed on different colours of shirt. Click here to go to that page and view the video.

If you have an idea or project that you would like printed on a shirt and aren’t sure the best way to go about it, just send us an email and either describe what you have in mind or attach your artwork. Send your inquiry to [email protected]

At Tshirts Canada we’ll let you know the best tshirt printing procedure along with a price quote and a mock-up.


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