Types of Printing on Clothes - Which Fabric Printing Technique is the Best?

Since the Christmas season is coming up, your business might probably think of excellent merchandise as a gift for your employees. This merchandise could be printed shirts, sweaters, hoodies, or a combination of any customised prints on fabrics.

There are different types of fabric printing existing in the fabric printing industry. All kinds of clothes yield different results based on quality and durability. Results rely on the fabric and pattern that you desired for those products.

Buckle up as we unravel different types of printing in fabric and their advantages and disadvantages. With this, you can quickly decide which printing technique suits your company's style.

Types of Printing on Clothes

1. Screen Printing for Clothes

First on our list of fabric printing techniques is screen printing, which is rapidly making its name in the professional world of textile printing. Screen printing has three types:

Flat screen printing, which is best for shirts and bags.
Rotary screen printing, which is suitable for rolls of fabrics.
Hand-screen printing, which works for shirts or any homemade constructions.

The screen printing procedure is more likely to be applied individually, which is a challenging job for having a smooth tonal transition is tough, especially aiming for a two- or three-colour gradient.


➕Print lasts a long time
➕Cost-effective for mass production
➕High-quality and soft-to-touch finish
➕Ideal print technique for solid colour


➖Call for an ample space to print and dry
➖The printing process requires skilled workers
➖A low number of outputs is pretty expensive

2. Indirect Screen Printing

Next on our list is indirect screen printing which utilises plastisol ink. It uses a plastisol sheet with ink at first; then, it will need to be dried in a nice place to remove the peelable graphic film. The last step is squeezing the film with the wet wire to peel off the base, then blow drying it to maintain the screen print last longer.

Some designers collaborate with fabric printing shops that can mass produce the design on plastisol sheets to narrow down the cost. Furthermore, fabrics with 50% polyester and 50% cotton perform more promising with plastisol ink.


➕A lesser amount of mess
➕High-quality and durable design
➕Suitable for small amounts of order
➕Less amount of time rather than regular screen printing


➖Applying plastisol is tricky
➖The plastisol transfer sheet is costly
➖The design might crack soon if done incorrectly

3. DTG Printing

Another type of T-shirt printing is DTG, direct-to-garment, or direct-to-fabric printing. This new fabric printing process uses a large flatbed printer with a conveyor belt to transfer the print on the T-shirt. The best thing about DTG printing is that you can easily print any complex design with various colours, even a photo, on the fabric of your choice.
Other than that, the print on the shirt is much softer; you won't even feel any stiff or bulky pattern somewhere on your shirt. DTG is perfect for T-shirts, sweatshirts, polo shirts, and bags.

Printing on Clothes


Good for bulk orders
Good for customising products
Less costly in terms of printing
Works with any dark colour fabrics
Perfect for full-colour and complex designs
Good investment for a fabric printing business


Expensive set-up
Ink is pretty expensive
Installation requires a lot of space
Requires a significant amount for a down payment

Printing on Hoodies

4. Dye Sublimation Printing

A different fabric printing method is dye sublimation printing on fabric. Sublimation printing works best on polyester materials and blends only because fabric with natural fibres like cotton doesn't work with gas. This fabric printing method requires the printer to heat the ink, making it sublimate and creating a unique, breathable, satiny print on the polyester material.

What's the catch? A dye sublimation print on polyester or blend material doesn't crack or peel, making the garment last longer.


Comfortable print
Good for bulk orders
Works with full-colour designs
Ink is long-lasting and does not wash off nor peel off


Labour intensive
Ink is expensive
Requires a lot of commercial equipment
It does not work with other kinds of fabric
The process took so long than another inkjet printer

5. Heat Transfer Printing

Heat transfer printing, also known as thermal printing, works in several ways making it more accessible and fun to use. This printing process allows you to print on a project using wax-based ink to the printer to transfer print from one surface to the fabric material. While the ink melts on the garment of your choice, it creates a smooth, durable, and waterproof image making it more in demand by the public.
Heat transfer print works with fabrics like cotton, polyester, and cotton/poly blends. Remember, do not use synthetic materials since they can melt under iron heat.


Design can be easily transferred to the garment
Durable, smooth, and waterproof print on the chosen garment.
Cost-effective, easy, and quick setup
Supports full-colour printing
Earn twice the money you invested


Sometimes can look unprofessional
Prints can be torn or break if not transferred carefully
Demands too much electricity
Quite look unprofessional

Types of fabric printing

6. Stamp Printing

Whether you believe it or not, stamp printing is another pleasant way to make a print on fabric. The best thing about it is you can print any pattern with your choice of colour. Given that wonderful fact, stamp printing is quite labour-intensive because it demands too much labour due to its repetitive and accurate printing of the material.

Along with read-made stamps and ink, you can now have clothes with print. Moreover, any fabric can be used but make sure that it doesn't have unique surfaces to keep the print consistent.


The printing method is easy and accessible for everyone
It does not require expensive items
There is no standard size in terms of the print
Craftsmanship is highly recognized in this printing method


Labour intensive
Slow and low output is expected
It requires a hand of a real craftsman when it comes to colour combination and repetitive stamping
Delicate and refined designs are hard to produce nicely

7. Stencilling Printing

Stencilling printing is known for being one of the oldest types of fabric printing. The design on the flat or waterproof sheet and cut out one by one using a sharp-pointed craft knife. The process does not involve printing but is applied by brushing or spraying the ink on the pattern cut out from a waterproof paper, laminated sheet, or flat sheet.

If you are new to stencilling printing, any fabric will do, but most shops work with natural fibres such as cotton, hemp, linens, and silk. Another fun fact is that fabric paint is much better than acrylic because it leaves a non-crispy and soft finish on the fabric of your choice.

Graded colours and shades can be obtained
You can use different colours on different parts
Stencilling printing does require expensive equipment
Everyone can do stencil printing in the comfort of their home

 Manual work means labour intensive
Metal sheet for stencilling printing is costly
If the design is made on the wrong sheet, then expect inconsistent lines and strategy.
Not suitable for large-scale production, especially if you have a limited number of employees.

8. Discharge Printing

Discharge printing uses water-based inks to bleach the preferred design on the shirt and replace it with the dye you choose. The bleach will not sit on the top of the fabric but will be soaked to keep the design as lively as it should be. This type of printing on clothes works with black, grey, or any darker colour fabrics.

The best material to work with discharge is 100% natural fabric, cotton, and hemp. A tri-blend or shirts with 50% natural fibres and 50% synthetic do as well. Do not attempt to do it on polyester because the design will only bleed and leave nothing but a big mess on the shirt.


Print is lightweight
No cracks and peeling
Design is much softer to look and feel
Vibrant colours can be seen on custom design


Accurate colours are quite tricky
Water-based inks are pricey
Works with natural fibre or 50/50 fabric
Fabric must be in a dark colour

Fabric printing techniques

9. Vinyl Printing on Clothes

One astounding and popular type of printing is vinyl printing which needs a heat transfer machine to make the design print stick on the clothes. Designs, patterns, and letters are cut out from pieces of colored vinyl. This specific technique also has hardware and software to grow your business, though it is also open with humble beginnings.

If you are considering vinyl, the best material is cotton, polyester, or a combination of the two.


Set up is low cost
High-quality colour print
Works with different garments
Complicated designs are achievable
Good start and option for fabric printing business


Labour intensive, especially if the order is in bulk
Colours depend on the vinyl stock that you have
Care is essential in washing the garments 

10. Pigment Printing on Fabric

Pigment printing is one of the fundamental elements of the textile industry. As you have read, it is all about pigment, meaning dye is vital throughout the process for clothes and other fabrics.

In terms of fabric, the most predominant is cotton though it does not exclude other materials such as polyester, Tencel, and lyocell. Still, pigment printing was a known method for cellulose fibre. The only exception is leathery or waterproof fabrics because they do not absorb the ink's pigment very well. 


High-quality print
Good for bulk orders
Less expensive, unlike other printing processes
Very affordable and achievable printing technique


The pigment is not controllable.
Rollers are affected during the process due to several pigment printing.
Error in the first printing phase can affect the second phase, which will affect the pigmentation of the fabric.
Solvent has its impact, such as odour and flammability.

Types of Clothes Printing that Monday Merch Uses

At Monday Merch, we choose DTF or Direct To Fabric Printing due to its quality. It is long-lasting and cost-effective, and prints look attractive and versatile. Apart from that, it also works like magic with several fabrics such as polyester, silk, cotton, or any synthetic fibres like terry cloth and rayon.

Our team put much effort into printing beyond what the customer wants and needs. All items throughout the process undergo great attention to detail to keep everything neat, accurate, and in excellent order. We believe that every merchandise package should represent your organisation's culture and virtues. Thus, it should be something your employee is proud of wearing or bringing off.

What is the Best Type of Printing for T-shirts?

There are several options for T-shirt printing, and all of them have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. The best method might depend on your budget, the design complexity, the colours, and the fabric you will use. Fabric printing techniques are pretty versatile and might work according to your offer.