How are clothes printed? 4 ways to print on fabric

How are clothes printed? 4 ways to print on fabric


You won’t surprise anyone with clothes with a pattern printed on it. Prints are made on completely different things and in completely different ways. It is about the methods that we want to talk about, because its quality largely depends on how the pattern is applied to the fabric. There are also technology features that need to be considered when printing on different materials. So, 4 main ways to print on fabric.

Silk screen printing

Perhaps the most common way that occurs at every step. You probably have things in your wardrobe, the pattern on which was applied using the silk-screen printing method.

Silkscreen printing is the application of a design using a stencil. Most often it is used when there are no more than 6 colors in the drawing, since it is too expensive to make stencils for more colorful prints.

One of the main advantages of this method is the printing speed. It only takes a couple of seconds to draw a picture. In one day, you can print a huge batch of T-shirts or other things.

The disadvantages include the cost of producing stencils. This is a labor-intensive process, so screen printing is used only for large batches.


It is also a fairly popular way of applying images, although it is gradually losing its appeal. With sublimation, the pattern is applied using a special thermal paper, which is soldered to the fabric. This paper can only be applied to synthetic fabrics.

As a result, the drawing is very colorful, there are no restrictions on colors. However, it is not without limitations: you can’t iron the pattern with an iron, and with each new wash, the risk that the pattern will crack increases.

Thermal application

In this case, the pattern is applied using a special flex film. There are many advantages to this method. Firstly, it is the high resistance of the printed image to all types of impact. The drawing does not fade, it survives washing well and does not lose color.

Secondly, the image is applied very quickly, a couple of seconds and the print is ready. Also, iron-on is suitable for batches of any size, even thousands of items, even a dozen.

Of the minuses, one can only distinguish restrictions on the color palette and image detail. This method is ideal for printing simple patterns, lettering, and logos, but not for complex designs.

Direct printing

Finally, we got to the most modern and convenient way to print. Such printing is also called digital, and it allows you to apply even the most complex, bright and detailed patterns to the fabric. Moreover, you can print images in this way both on cotton and on synthetic materials.

As a result of digital printing, a pattern is obtained that is as resistant as possible to external influences. The paint seems to be absorbed into the fiber, so it withstands washing perfectly and does not suffer from ironing in any way.

Naturally, it is not without its downsides. Direct printing is a long way. Drawing a picture takes much more time than when using other technologies, so large batches of things will be processed for a long time.

If you are looking for a reliable print supplier who will do a good job, you can always find one in China. Contact us by phone or e-mail, and we will definitely select a supplier in China for your tasks and production volumes!
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