Why Screen Printing is Better Than Heat Transfer Vinyl: A Guide to the Differences
They’re two of the most popular methods of bringing your designs to apparel and other textiles. Both screen printing and heat transfer vinyl have their pros and cons, but which is the best choice for your needs? In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about these two methods so that you can pick the one that works best for you and your business. There are tons of ways to put an image on a T-shirt or other clothing item. There’s also quite a few different materials from which to choose. When it comes to heat transfer vinyl vs. screen printing, here is what we found as some pros and cons for each:
What is Screen Printing?
Screen printing is a process through which ink is applied to fabric by passing it through a stencil and a mesh screen. The stencil is made of a material that will not pass through the mesh, while the mesh will allow the ink to pass through. The fabric to be printed is placed under the stencil, and ink is applied to the stencil. The ink is allowed to pass through the stencil and mesh and be applied to the fabric. The mesh used can vary greatly based on the desired effect, the type of fabric, and the type of ink being used.
Screen printing is arguably one of the oldest methods of printing on fabric. It has been around since the 11th century, although it has undergone many changes since then. Nowadays, it is commonly used for printing on textiles such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, bags, or any other type of fabric that can withstand the process.
What is Heat Transfer Vinyl?
Heat transfer vinyl is a type of vinyl that, when applied to fabric, adheres to the fabric using a commercial heat press. The vinyl has an adhesive on one side that, when pressed between a T-shirt and a heat press, will adhere to the fabric.
The vinyl is applied to the shirt, and then the fabric that has the adhesive applied to it is applied to the other side of the shirt. This will apply the vinyl to the shirt as well as remove the vinyl from the transfer material. Heat transfer vinyl is often used on T-shirts and other types of clothing items to apply designs such as logos, names, sports team logos, etc. Heat transfer vinyl is often used for applying images to clothing because it is a very easy process. The material comes in many different colors and can be applied to many types of fabrics.
Pros of Screen Printing
One of the biggest pros of screen printing is that it allows you to create amazingly detailed designs that are truly one of a kind. With screen printing, you can create any design you want, and you can make it as intricate as you want. This makes screen printing a great option for those who want their designs to stand out.
Another advantage of screen printing is its ability to use a wide range of colors. With screen printing, you can use as many colors as you want, and you don’t have to worry about them bleeding together or looking messy. Screen-printed designs are also highly durable. They can last through many washes, and the colors will stay vibrant for a long time. Aside from the amount of detail, screen printing is very cost-efficient when ordering at least a minimum of 12 shirts for your business.
Cons of Screen Printing
This might sound biased to most people but screen printing doesn’t have many downfalls from the consumer standpoint. But if I had to list a con, it would be the minimum order required which is 12 to have screen printing done. Most local businesses are going through more than 12 shirts anyways so the minimum setup is not an issue. Now if your intended design is busy and filled with lots of colors, it will drive your shirt cost up. The lower amount of colors, the lower cost per shirt.
The only other cost when ordering screen print for the first is the one-time screen setups that run $20 for each color. This of course is a one-time fee and your artwork is saved for any future order.
Pros of Heat Transfer Vinyl
One of the biggest advantages of heat transfer vinyl is that you can order as many as one shirt. You can get a wide range of colors, patterns, and designs for a reasonable price. – Wide variety of colors and designs – You can also get a wide variety of colors and designs with heat transfer vinyl. You can choose from a wide range of colors, and you can find designs that fit your business or your brand. Another advantage of heat transfer vinyl is that it is a quick and easy process that doesn’t require any setup fees.
Cons of Heat Transfer Vinyl
Heat transfer vinyl doesn’t last as long as screen-printed designs. While it will last through a few washes, it won’t last as long as a design that is applied using a screen printing method. I also tell my customers that HTV vinyl is called “temporary vinyl” because it is only made to last for a short period.
Another disadvantage of heat transfer vinyl is that the colors aren’t as vibrant. While you can get a wide variety of colors with heat transfer vinyl, the colors won’t be as vibrant as they would be with screen printing. One other issue to point out is that the digital HTV vinyl can feel like a thick piece of plastic on your chest and when you’re working outside sweating, the print could become uncomfortable. Other than that, HTV vinyl serves its purpose and the main factor is ordering as low as one t-shirt and not having to order a minimum of 12 shirts.
Which Is Best for You and Your Business?
Overall, I’d say the best option for you will depend on if your business would benefit from at least 12 t-shirts. If you have a company and work outside in the heat, screen printing your design will not only feel comfortable but will last a long time. If you need just a couple of shirts, then heat transfer vinyl is a great option. It is typically more money per shirt than screen printing, but you do not have to commit to a minimum of 12 shirts. At the end of the day, its going to come down to your order and exactly how many shirts and how many colors your design consists of.