Vinyl T-shirt Printing vs. Screen Printing

Vinyl T-shirt printing or screen printing? Which one should you choose for your custom clothing? These are questions that many of us ask when we’re looking to outfit an entire team or create custom swag for our employees. While both printing options have their benefits, screen printing is generally favoured by printing houses and designers.

How does vinyl T-shirt printing work?

Vinyl T-shirt printing, often know as vinyl heat transfer, is a process that involves a machine that cuts out designs and letters. These designs and letters are done on pieces of coloured vinyl. Then, a heat press is utilized to transfer each piece of vinyl onto the material.

What does screen printing entail?

Screen printing or silk screening, uses stencils (screens) to recreate your design onto the material. Each colour needed in the design requires its own stencil to ensure accuracy. The ink will only pass through the stencil in the areas you want making it easy to reconstruct your design.

Vinyl T-shirt printing or screen printing: Which is best for you?

When it comes to vinyl T-shirt printing or screen printing, you should examine four factors; details, colour, fading and quantity.

  1. Details: When it comes to details, you can’t go wrong with screen printing. Even the minute details are visible on a screen-printed item. The same goes for intricate design features since the process involves creating separate screens for each colour (more on that below). Vinyl T-shirt printing does allow for some detailing but most will be lost.
  2. Colour: When it comes to vinyl T-shirt printing or screen printing, if you’re looking for vibrant colour, screen printing is your best option. Screen printing lets you choose from a larger range of colours and each can be blended to create gradients to ensure that the colours don’t run into each other and appear messy.
  3. Fading: Although, both printing processes are effective, screen printing will last longer. Shirts that are printed using vinyl will usually last for a few years before fading. On the other hand, shirts that have been screen printed will last the entire lifetime of the shirt. Screen printing is more adept at standing up to wear and tear and washing.
  4. Quantity: Vinyl printing is generally reserved for small runs (1-12 items) because it takes less time to set up than screen printing. However, screen printing is perfect for bulk orders (12 or more) because you don’t need to change the setup from shirt to shirt. In fact, screen printing bulk orders will take the same amount of time as doing a small run of vinyl prints.

Deciding between vinyl T-shirt printing or screen printing can be a hard decision to make. However, when you trust R&P Prints with your custom printing needs, we’ll ensure you make the right decision. Contact us today for a free estimate, no delivery charges or setup fees and take advantage of our huge selection of active wear, T-shirts, bags, hats and more.