Screen printing involves making screens for each color used in your design. These screens block out areas on the garment where you don’t want ink and have open areas where you want the ink to be deposited. The ink is then pushed through the screen using a squeegee. After all the colors are on the garment, the ink is then thermally cured to ensure long-term washability.
Screen printing is a versatile decorating technique which can be used on a variety of materials from cotton, polyester, and nylon to different substrates such as t-shirts, bags, canvases, glass, and wood.
Due to the time it takes to make the screens, to set up each screen printing job and to clean up afterwards, minimum orders are required. However, due to rapid printing and low material costs, screen printing is a very economical method when many items need to be decorated.
Embroidery starts with digitizing a design to create a stitch file which can then be used on the embroidery machine. By varying the stitch type and thread color, many types of designs can be made. Designs can range from simple monograms to complex full color photo-realistic images. Embroidery is a popular technique to use for monograms and company logos. The technique can be used on many types of apparel including polos, hats, bags, and jackets.
Another method to decorate fabrics that we use is applique. We start with a material that can be cut and sewn such as printable cotton or patterned fabric. The material is cut to size and shape and placed onto the garment to be decorated. The embroidery machine then tacks the material down onto the garment. Finally, a border is stitched around the material securing the material to the garment. This is a versatile method that can be used to create unique, personal creations and gifts.
Heat Transfer Materials
Another technique we use to decorate garments is heat transfer. Using a computer-controlled cutting machine and a heat press, we can precisely cut out a design and permanently fix the design to the garment. Numerous materials are available including many colors of vinyl, glitter and glow-in-the-dark material, printable transfer paper, and rhinestones, to name a few.
Compared to screen printing, this technique is good for designs with less detail and fewer colors. Due to the high heat and pressure needed, some types of garments are not suitable for this heat transfer. However, minimum orders typically aren’t needed for heat transfer jobs. With the many colors and materials available and the ability to create full-color transfers, heat transfer decoration is a great option for low volume, custom apparel orders. Create a shirt for yourself or give a unique, personalized one as a gift.
Finally, we can also do dye sublimation. Using special transfer paper, we can decorate different types of items with full color images. Dye sublimation can be used on many items from mugs, bottles, and photo frames to t-shirts and bags.
Compared to screen printing and heat transfer, this technique is good for both simple, bold designs and for full color images. The sublimation process only works with polyester, so the items to be decorated must contain polyester. While this sounds rather limiting, there are actually many items that are coated with polyester strictly for sublimation. There are also lots of options for apparel that are either 100% polyester or a polyester blend. Sublimation transfers the ink from the paper to the item, so white or lighter colored surfaces are best.
Minimum orders typically aren’t needed for sublimation jobs which makes it another great option for low volume, custom apparel orders.
What makes us different?
At The GLITCH & Co, we use a variety of design software and digitization techniques to create designs that can be used with any decorating technique. We use water-based inks for all our screen printing jobs. These are not only eco-friendly but also result in soft-to-touch garments. Great for any type of t-shirt. Safe for kids. Our printing process results in garments that can be washed over and over without the design wearing out. No cracking or peeling. Your garment will likely wear out before our design will!
We do all our own artwork design and digitization. We can print out full color images onto printable transfers or take complex designs and simplify them for cutting. We can also digitize your designs for stitching. We work closely with our customers throughout the design process and provide mockups until the final design is reached.