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Heat Transfer vs Screen Printing: Learn Which is Better

If you’re thinking of customizing t-shirts for yourself or your friends, or you’re planning a new small business, you​ might be debating…heat transfer vs screen printing. Right?

Understandably, ​a lot of people today don’t really know much about the different types of printing processes available to them, especially when it comes to manufacturing t-shirts. But even on a small scale, you do have some great options ​for making high-quality designs and products.

Supporting your local print shop is a great thing to do, and at some point developing a good relationship with a printer is essential. However, relying solely on a certain company to do all of your work isn’t always the smartest path in the beginning. 

​Print shops get busy. There can often be delays, and cost can be a factor as well. Sometimes, particularly in the early days of a business, or if you’re only printing a small run for personal use, it can be a lot more sensible to print your products yourself at home.

A little bit of information goes a long way. And, it’s much better to make an informed decision regarding heat transfer vs screen printing ​and which process suits you and your needs.

Learn Which is Better for Your Situation

Different types of prints are suitable for different uses and quantities. Now, if you’re a budding businessperson, you’ll want to know which method yields the best products. This is, of course, considering the prices, efficiency, and storage.

For a couple of customized t-shirts or bags, certain methods will not work at all. If you are planning to ask a t-shirt store to make a few customized tees, chances are, they will refuse.

Stores normally do not take less than around 200 orders at a time, for the same design. If they did, it would just not be cost-effective for them.

This may seem strange to many individuals, but the demands of the stores are completely valid. This article can teach you why.

Heat Transfer Vinyl and Screen Printing

HTV or Heat Transfer Vinyl is one of the many easy processes you could go for. Screen printing is quite simple too, although it will require a few extra tools. However, both methods are similarly popular among workers in this field.

Now, let’s learn a little about these two very popular methods of printing!

Screen Printing

This is a method, best suited for factories and industries. The first thing you will have to do is purchase or make a few screens.

Each screen can only hold one or at most, two designs, which can later be transported into t-shirts, bags, and more. Just one screen can produce a large number of products, which is why for screen printing, you must always order in bulk.

Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing

For this process, you can buy vinyl sheets of various colors from the arts and crafts store. These can then be cut into pieces, which could range from letters to designs.

To transfer the color of the vinyl onto the preferred piece of clothing, heat and pressure are used. This method is more effective for one or two DIY pieces.

Your Deciding Factors in Brief

Of course, personal preferences develop with use. Both these methods are perfectly functional but it does seem that the type of work dictates which is good for what scenarios.

For example, if heat transfer vinyl were to be used in an industry that had to deliver 500 t-shirts with one specific design, would the workers buy and cut up 500 pieces of vinyl?

They could. But imagine the time, energy, and manpower that would go into this.

In that case, it would be much easier to create a screen with that one design. The screen could then be used over and over, for every one of the 500 t-shirts. As a matter of fact, a new batch of the same t-shirts could be made from that one screen too! It’s all about cutting costs.

On the other hand, if you liked a design and wanted to create your own customized clothing with it, how smart would it be to make an entire screen?

It will probably take at least two days and many ingredients to create the screen alone.Once that is made and you printing is completed, this screen you made with so much effort and money will lie around useless in your shed.

Kind of a waste, isn’t it?

But if you opt for HTV and buy a few vinyl sheets of your choice, your work is much simpler! Following your design, you can cut up the sheet and transfer the color onto your shirt or bag.

All you will need is a heating device, like a hairdryer or an iron. In a little time, you will have the t-shirt to brag about!

Heat transfer vs Screen printing: Final thoughts

With this information in your head, you can finally get to a decision. At the end of the day, it’s not only about what you print and how many products you make.

There is always a question of cost-cutting, manpower, time, and energy. You will have truly figured out the right method of printing, once you consider this and decide what the most efficient process is for you.

Whichever you choose, here’s to hoping for beautiful creations and minimal mistakes. With this knowledge, you can even make thoughtful gifts for your friends and family, or start your own fashion brand!

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