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Heat Press or Screen Printing? That is the Question.
January 22, 2018
Sometimes having custom printed apparel means there is a decision on how it will be produced. This is especially the case when an order doesn’t meet a certain minimum or if the order requires variation of the design (think teams that need a different name or number on each jersey). The two primary methods that are used for custom printing is screen printing and heat press. Both processes have their own individual pros and cons.
Heat press is a process of printing apparel where the print design is transferred from paper to the garment utilizing a machine that provides both heat and high pressure. They typically require around 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit and a pressure setting of 40-80 psi. The transfer material features an adhesive that’s highly sensitive to heat on one side that once transferred adheres to the apparel like a large sticker.
Heat press allows you to print full color images on garments without the time investment that would be required if it was done one color at a time via screen printing. This is a big reason why it is popular for small run orders. Celebritees offers heat press for small simple designs that small runs.
Pros for using Heat Press
Provides a way to print individual garments
Ability to use several colors, as long as they do not overlap
Ability to use photographic material
Can be inexpensive for small runs of printing.
Expensive on large quantities of garments
Cannot layer colors because the print area will become thick & heavy
Print does not last as long as screen printing
They do not look as professional as screen printed garments
The print does not breathe
Screen printing is the traditional method for custom printing apparel. It can be used to print on shirts, canvases, yard signs, wood, fabrics amongst other things.
Screen Printing is where Celebritees got its start and is still the majority of what we do. First thing we do at Celebritees when beginning a screen printing order is create a useable/printable design. After we have an approved art design it then needs to be color-separated so that we can create a screen for each color in the artwork.
Next, we print each of the color separations on to separate sheets of film which is used to burn the color screens.
After we have our films, we burn the individual colors into separate screens. These screens have emulsion, causing them to accept the imagery and allow ink to pass through. The screens are then installed on the press and prepped for production.
PRINT! The number of colors, print locations, and type of ink will all play a part in the time it takes to produce an order. To print the image, each color screen has ink applied and is swiped onto your garment in the necessary order to achieve the desired outcome.
Cost effective for large orders
Can withstand the roughness of machine washing as the ink is heat dried.
Can provide a softer feel than heat press
Provides the highest quality print
Expensive on smaller quantities.
Separate screens are used for each individual color. So, for each additional color, a new screen has to be used (which requires more time and increases costs).