The Pros and Cons of Different Screen Printing Methods

The Pros and Cons of Different Screen Printing Methods

The Pros and Cons of Different Screen Printing Methods

Have you ever tried your own hand at screen printing a t-shirt? Perhaps you don’t have any experience whatsoever with screen printing, but you played around with tye dying t-shirts when you were in elementary school (tye dying as an adult is perfectly acceptable, too). When it comes to various custom screen printing methods, the truth is that no two ways of printing your favorite designs onto apparel are created equal.

Screen Printing The Studio One Way

At Studio One Screen Printing & Embroidery, we only know how to do things one way: our way, which, in our biased opinion, is the right way. As much as we want to give away our secrets and break down our artistic screen printing process step-by-step, we won’t belabor you with the details. Plus, secrets are secrets for a reason — that would be like a fast food restaurant giving out their secret sauce formula.

What we can say is that we use an endless variety and selection of the best stock and custom inks available, affording you the luxury of choosing your colors from a Pantone number, color swatch, or even a sample. Whether you’re in Reston, Ashburn, Tysons Corner or anywhere else in the greater DMV area, we’ll turn your ideas into a wearable finished product.

With artistic flexibility in mind during every step of the custom screen printing process, our benefits and advantages always outweigh the competition. Just ask our trusted clients including the likes of Amazon, Audi, Capital One, NASA, The North Face, and Oracle!

Read below as we cover some of the pros and cons of using different screen printing methods in this blog post. Feel free to contact us at any point during your research.

Screen Printing with a Professional T-Shirt Printing Machine

Just like Montell Jordan and his hit 1995 track, this is how we do it. Custom screen printing with a professional-grade printer not only ensures the best, most consistent results. More ideal for larger-quantity orders, professional t-shirt printers and screen printing machines are also great for printing in multiple colors.


  • Consistent, nearly-unbeatable quality
  • Prints very fast on multiple items with the same design
  • Great for printing with multiple colors
  • Provides a soft finish


  • Not as ideal for smaller quantities (we’ll still make it work, fear not!)
  • Prone to error or messy prints if operated by someone inexperienced (not a worry with us)
  • More expensive than cheaper printing options (but worth it)

Sublimation Printing

If you’ve ever wanted to make a standard t-shirt a 360-degree walking work of art, sublimation printing is designed to create t-shirts like this. In other words, t-shirts with a print on the entire shirt (front, back, sides, etc.) are generally printed via sublimation. As the name implies, sublimation printing involves a change of state from liquid to gas when intense heat is applied to the liquid.


  • Highly-unique designs that can be printed on literally any and every part of the shirt
  • A virtually unlimited use of graphics, colors, styles, and other attractive design elements


  • Shirts must be made from 100% polyester (generally)
  • The white patches or other parts of your t-shirt that aren’t covered, like the underarms, will likely show through the design
  • Due to the high upfront cost of this custom printing option, it is generally recommended to print on a minimum of 50 garments or more to make the project cost-effective

An Expert and Artistic Approach to Screen Printing

CAD Cut Vinyl Printing

CAD (computer-aided design) technology has brought forth great advances in heavy machinery, die casting, machining and tooling, architecture and design, and even t-shirt and apparel printing. When vinyl printing meets a CAD program, the material is professionally cut via a CAD cutter which is then printed onto the t-shirt via a heat press method.

Suitable for one-off designs and low-volume prints, particularly for slogans, small graphics and text-based shirts, it’s important to note that CAD cut vinyl printing has limited flexibility.


  • Vibrancy which can last (or even outlast) the material of the t-shirt itself
  • The print won’t fade or crack easily
  • Good with maximizing the use of space


  • Not as flexible as screen printing with inks
  • An extensive knowledge of CAD software and hardware is required
  • You must own or have access to CAD cutters, a heat press, specialized software, and so forth

Transfer Paper Method

As you might be able to guess based on the name of this t-shirt printing technique, the transfer paper method involves transferring the image/design from one surface to another surface — permanently. Using a high-quality heat press machine, the design is printed on a transfer paper which is then applied to the piece of apparel that you’d like to print on. That’s pretty straightforward, right?


  • Simple
  • Able to produce fairly high-quality and complex designs
  • Full-color printing is supported


  • Slightly slower than other screen printing or t-shirt printing methods
  • Light colored t-shirts are recommended
  • Fabrics that are sensitive to high heat levels are not OK

Go With The Trusted Screen Printing Company In Reston

We hate to brag, but with a 5-star review on Google based on 133 reviews (!), it’s hard not to. We’re incredibly grateful for our amazing client base as well as first-time and returning customers who visit us from Tysons Corner, Ashburn, Reston, and all over the DMV area. From one-off print jobs to massive corporate orders requiring the most immense dedication to detail, we have and will continue to do it all.

So, what are you waiting for? Get a quote and get started with our custom screen printers by contacting Studio One Screen Printing & Embroidery today.

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