Screen printing is the most economical method of printing t-shirts. It uses different screens (or plates) to apply colours separately direclty on to fabric using a huge piece of machinery called a t-shirt printing carousel. It requires some prep, things like vectorised artwork, Pantone mixed inks and cutting screens, but once it gets going it prints with a high level of accuracy and is incredibly cost-effective. If you’re looking to get large volumes of custom t-shirts or hoodies, screen printing is the best way to order.
Simple designs work better
Screen printing lends itself to bold, block colours so solid punchy designs are more suitable than designs with loads of colours or gradients.
“95% of the world’s top brands use one or at most two colours in their logo designs, so you’re in good company if you go with a simple design. Simplicity is cost effective too. The less colours in your design, the lower the price. It could reduce the print cost by as much as 50%”
This also applies to the position of your design. A jazzy neck and sleeve print might look cool, and we can print them if requested, but ask yourself whether they are really necessary. Repositioning a product for printing in different positions takes a while and is less cost effective. White tees and hoodies work particularly well with simple designs. White fabric really soaks up the colour and the design leaps out of the shirt. White is also a more cost-effective product because it doesn’t require any dyeing.
A simple design is easy to put together with editing software like Adobe Illustrator. You’ll want to save it in Vector format. Vector is a file type that doesn’t pixelate so the lines and borders will look sharp when applied to print. Illustrator has a handy tool called Image Trace that can automatically vectorise JPEG images if you don’t have an SVG, EPS, PDF or AI version of your art.
Design always the same, but products can change
When choosing your products for screen printing remember that you can mix and match items, colours and sizes so long as the print is the same. There is a small minimal order quantity with screen printing of 50 items. This is because of the setup time – any orders under 50 would be uneconomical.
“We screen print your designs onto a full range of products like t-shirts, pull-over hoodies, baseball shirts, vests and tote bags. We have thousands in stock now ready for printing.”
How we get sharp high quality prints
We use a special acetate printer to print separate films of your design according to colour. These films are then blasted with UV light in a dark room to cure the emulsion, then lined up on the screens (called registration) and fixed to the carousel. To prepare the inks, our technicians use a Pantone matching system to get your design colour matched. Once the machines are fired up, blank products are placed into position by hand. The carousel automatically coats the fabric evenly with the inks forming the pattern of your design before baking it under a heater to dry and fasten it in place.
The result is a high-quality print with sharp border lines and bold colour definition. Screen prints last a long time too. It will go through dozens of machine washes before showing any signs of fading. If you’re placing an order of a few thousand we have a huge capacity for quick and reliable screen printing. For single colour designs on a white tee, we can print around 600 items per hour – that’s tens of thousands per week.
Screenprinting is fast
Once your product has been printed it’s passed under a low heat, folded and packed by our dispatch team ready for shipping. Delivery time depends on the volumes and the complexity of your design. Smaller, simpler orders could be with you in as little as five working days for UK mainland addresses.
“If you’re on a deadline and time is mission critical, let us know in advance and we’ll make sure your order arrives in plenty of time.”
Even if you’re super organised and ordering well in advance of your deadline, our turnaround is still quick for professional UK screen printers. Our print facility is based on the South Coast so we service the whole of the country.
More sustainable screen printed products
We only use certified organic cotton for our products and our supply chain is audited for a wide range of social and sustainability criteria. Uniquely to UK screen printing companies, we actually design, manufacture and stock our own label garments instead of going through people like distributors, agents or wholesalers. Doing it ourselves means we create a saving that helps bring down the cost of using high-quality materials. That’s why when you order from us you get retail quality at wholesale prices. Even the ink we use for screen printing is more environmentally friendly. Phthalate free low tox inks are less harmful to the environment than many solvent-based alternatives.
What to do next
Ordering online is a piece of cake. If you’re looking to order screen printed t-shirts or hoodies for your business, for uniforms or to resell at an event you can benefit from some awesome price breaks. With orders over 50 items the more you order the better the value. You can grab a quote for your specific quantities online now – it takes less than 30 seconds.