Four Manufacturing Methods of Customized T-shirts

If you’re considering purchasing custom made shirts for an event or a team, you should understand the possible methods used to get what you want. With computer technology adding to the older existing methods, you now have many choices. Which type will work best will depend upon several factors, including what you want done and which method a professional printing company like ORIC offers.

Creating Custom Made Shirts: Silk Screening or Printing

This is by far the most common way used to create custom made shirts, and it’s perfect if your design only requires a couple of different colors. It is also for those who want their design or lettering to have a raised feel and appearance. The advantages of this method for any producer include speed and cost-effectiveness. You will be wowed by the durability of the imprinted designs, as well as the vivid colors.


If you have a dress, shirt, hat or jacket on which you want to place a specific image or lettering, companies such as ORIC suggest a technique called embroidery. This is either done by hand, or by using a specific machine. T-shirts may pucker as a result of the process, which may limit the bulk production of custom-made shirts. The cost is also a factor in reducing its overall popularity.
Nevertheless, if you want something embroidered, it can be done. Simply stick to smaller designs. Alternatively, ask whether you can combine this method with silk screening to achieve a unique design.

Digital Printing

Technology has resulted in many advancements in printing. Among them is the now common Direct-To-Garment (DTG) digital printing. It is subdivided into two types:

  • Dark Direct to Garment Printing: This is an expensive form of DTG printing, and a variation on light DTG digital printing. It can successfully achieve a colorful image on a black t-shirt without the use of appliqués or iron-ons.
  • Light Direct to Garment Printing: It does not use white ink, and it is best if you choose light colored custom made shirts. The color choices are amazing and very numerous.

Unlike with a few other methods, DTG custom made shirts do not crack or peel as time passes. The ink remains solid as it is embedded into the fabric of the shirt.

Heat Transfers

If you have an image in mind, one that is readily and commercially available, one of the more common methods to transfer it to custom made shirts is through heat transfers. Heat and pressure are the basic requirements to successfully transfer the image. If this is a method you’d prefer, first make sure you or your company chooses an expert in the field. The results can vary, and you could get crooked images and wrinkled t-shirts resulting from someone who is less than professional.

If you’re planning on a single design, or want to create a uniform look for a group by applying a log or image to custom made shirts, consider and weight your options. Be sure to talk to someone who knows the different methods, such as the professionals at ORIC. Listen clearly to what is said, do your own research, and only then go ahead with your plans.



Direct to Garment Printing VS. Screen Printing

At current stage, we use two main methods of printing your t-shirts. Direct to Garment (DTG) and Silk Screening. Both technologies produce stunningly beautiful graphics, letters, and designs. The only difference is when and why you would want to have a shirt printed using the DTG process versus silk screening.

We’re going to take a look at both printing processes and compare and contrast them. While there is no superior printing technique, we will discuss when you should opt for silk screen printing and when you should consider having your shirts printed via the DTG process.

What is Direct to Garment Printing?

DTG printing uses digital technology to apply designs, logos, and lettering to t-shirts. Once the client has approved the design, it’s uploaded to specialized printing software that resides on the DTG computer. A blank t-shirt is fed into a specially-designed digital printer and ink that is specially made for textiles is applied to the shirt.

The inks are specially designed to be strong, durable, and incredibly vivid in color. The overall time it takes to print one shirt is anywhere from five to ten minutes, depending on the complexity of the design and how many colors were used.

The result is a t-shirt with a custom printed design that is as high quality as anything you’d find in a high-end department store.

What is Silk Screening?

The silk-screening process of printing a design on a t-shirt has been around for decades. Ink is pushed through a woven mesh stencil onto the t-shirt. A rubber or plastic squeegee is used to manually push and pull the ink over the stencil until the t-shirt has absorbed it.

Silk-screening is unique in that it’s all performed by hand. The setup process takes the longest amount of time, as the stencil must first be created, and the entire machine set up for a printing run.

Only one color can be printed at any given time, so there is a limited amount of colors that can be used. Each subsequent color will require more time to apply (including drying time), and that can increase the cost slightly due to more manual labor being required.

Benefits of DTG

DTG printing offers many advantages over traditional silk-screening. There are certain situations where you would definitely want to opt for DTG over silk screening, and vice versa.

Some of the benefits of DTG are:

  • Ideal for small t-shirt runs
  • Designs are easily customizable due to no stencil being required
  • Wide selection of color options
  • Design detail is very high

DTG is best for small orders such as 20 shirts for your local kickball team, or 15 shirts for your bachelor or bachelorette party. The cost per shirt is much lower than silk screening due to how quickly shirts can be printed using the DTG method.

It should be noted that just because DTG printed shirts cost less than silk screened ones, that doesn’t mean their quality is any less. The DTG printers we use at One Hour Tees are state-of-the-art and have a very high resolution. This means all the details of your design will show up crystal clear and you can choose one (or more) of many different colors.

Benefits of Silk Screening

Silk screening is excellent for large runs of shirts. If you were putting on an event where you’ll be needing hundreds of shirts, then silk screening is the way you want to go. Some of the benefits of silk screening are:

  • Cost-effective for large orders
  • Design can be placed almost anywhere (versatile)
  • Best for simple designs that don’t require a lot of colors
  • Ink will appear slightly “raised” due to the nature of the silk screen process.

Cost of Silk Screen vs. DTG Printing

The prices for silk screen printing versus DTG printing can vary. For starters, a silkscreen run requires an extensive setup process; this is why we have a 25-shirt minimum order. DTG printing is more cost-effective for smaller shirt orders. You also get a discount if you order shirts in bulk. The more you have printed up, the more you’ll save.

Also, keep in mind that silk screening will cause the ink on the shirt to be raised very slightly. This can be a benefit if you’re going after a certain look or design. With DTG printing, the color and design are as good as anything you’ll find in a high-end department store – except you won’t be paying an arm and a leg for it!


When it comes to quality, there is really no difference between DTG and silk screening. DTG is best for smaller batches with more intricate designs and color requirements while silk screening is superior for single color, large quantity runs.

No matter which t-shirt printing method you choose, you’ll be happy with the results. We pride ourselves on the quality of our work, and each order we create undergoes a strict quality-control check before it’s shipped out.