The Custom t-shirt printing Ultimate Guide: All You Need to Know before branding your clothing

By   March 30, 2023

Custom t-shirt printing is a fantastic form of making a statement, promoting your brand, or simply creating custom clothing items for your team.

Custom t-shirt printing has different types of methods, hence the process can be pretty daunting to a first-time clothing branding customer. However, with the right knowledge, you can choose the perfect print type to create your ideal t-shirt design.

1. Screen custom tshirt printing

Custom t-shirt printing has many methods but the oldest and the most popular printing method for branding t-shirts is screen printing. This method involves creating a stencil or screen for each color in the particular design. The stencil is then used to transfer ink onto fabric. Screen printing is ideal for large quantities of t-shirts, and can produce high-quality results with vibrant colors.

custom t-shirt printing

There are two types of screen printing:

Water-based – goes into the fabric and has no hand feel

Plastisol screen printing – lies on top of the fabric, rubber-like / texturized feel.

Although it is the least expensive for higher quantities, the high setup costs make it ridiculously expensive for just a few items.

2. Direct-to-Garment custom t-shirt Printing:

custom t-shirt printing

Direct-to-garment printing (DTG) involves printing the design directly onto the fabric using a specialized printer. This method is ideal for complex designs with multiple colors or gradients, as it can produce very detailed results. DTG printing is also a great option for smaller quantities of t-shirts. Direct To Garemt is, however, not suitable if wanting to do bulk orders, as the price per unit does not change, unlike the case with other forms of printing, especially screen printing. DTG is also only meant for 100 % cotton fabric, at worst 95% cotton material. Otherwise, the print quality would be greatly compromised as it becomes altered with shrinking as the case with other material which stretches.

3. Vinyl Cutting:

custom t-shirt printing

Vinyl cutting involves cutting the design out of vinyl material and then heat-pressing it onto the t-shirt. This method is ideal for simple designs with few colors and can produce long-lasting and durable results. Low-quantity unit orders suit this method perfectly as higher quantities are more suited to screenprinting.

4. Sublimation Printing:

Sublimation printing involves printing the design onto transfer paper, then heat-pressed onto polyester t-shirts. This method is ideal for designs with a lot of colors and can produce vibrant and long-lasting results. Sublimation, however, is not meant for printing cotton t-shirts, at the same time, it does not print white ink.

5. Embroidery

This is a type of needlework that involves decorating fabric with thread, yarn, beads, and other materials. For centuries, people all over the world practiced this ancient art form.
As there are high once-off set-up fees, roughly R650 for a simple design, It would be more economic to print higher quantities than once-off items, as there are embroidery costs per unit, after the artwork set up. Hence, embroidery only becomes cost-effective from 30 units upwards as the price only becomes reasonable at such quantities.


Custom t-shirt printing is a fantastic way to create custom clothing items for your business, team, or personal use. With a range of printing methods available, it’s important to choose the one that’s right for your specific needs. By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each method, you can make an informed decision and create the perfect t-shirt design. Learn more about t-shirt printing by clicking this link. If you would like to order ready made products, please check out our online store here.