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Becoming a t-shirt maker and creating your own t-shirt from the comfort of your own home is easier than ever. It often comes down to the amount of money and time you want to spend learning and creating. We’ve outlined four different methods to help you get your ideas from your brain to the shirt.

Vinyl Cutting Machine

Cricut Explore Air™ 2, Mint + Essentials Bundle

Cricut Explore Air Bundle 2 – $239.99

You will need to purchase a machine that is capable of cutting vinyl. There are many on the market, Cricut being one of them. You’d first design your image or text, then place the vinyl into the machine and the machine cuts it out for you. You then take your printed image and apply heat, either using an iron or a heat press and transfer the image onto the fabric. The great thing about this method is you will not have bulky equipment and the vinyl wears well onto the shirt. This is a great affordable option for the new t-shirt maker.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Unique images and fonts can be used
  • Relatively fast

Cons

  • Additional tools are recommended, such as a heat press

  • Weeding of the image or wording can be time-consuming

Screen Printing

Gig Poster Kit

DickBlick.com DIY Print Shop Kit – $199.99

For the t-shirt maker that loves to get their hands dirty, this is a fun option. Screen printing is simply taking ink and forcing it through a screen to make a picture or pattern. In order to screen print, you’ll need a stencil, nylon mesh, and permanent dye.  If you’re just looking to have a t-shirt with one color then screen printing will be fine. Although if the image is complex or you want multiple colors you may want to look into a company screen printing the shirt themselves. Many companies use screen printing when printing a large number of shirts.

Pros

  • Perfect for a simple design
  • Durable
  • Great option for high print volumes
  • Cons

Cons

  • Limited on the number of colors that can be used
  • Set-up time

Direct to Garment (DTG)

Image result for brother gtx

Brother GTX Direct-To-Garment (DTG) Printer – $22,500

Probably the most expensive option, DTG is a great choice for the t-shirt maker who wants to go from hobbyist to full-time maker. DTG does require some knowledge before you get going but all you really need is a textile printer and ink. The t-shirt maker that uses this process has to be able to print highly complex images and colors. The one drawback to this method is you can often time end up with a low-resolution image if you are not using a high enough quality printer.

Pros

  • Can use multiple colors and more complex images
  • Quick turn around time
  • Relatively low set-up costs

Cons

  • Polyester shirts cannot be printed on
  • Printing onto dark colors can make the image appear less vibrant

T-Shirt Maker Fun Fact!

This is the process and the printer our manufacturing partners utilize here at Printaroo!

Dye Sublimation

Fargo DTC1250e (050000) Direct-to-Card Printer & Encoder

Fargo DTC1250e Direct-to-Cartridge – $1017.96

Perhaps the most complicated t-shirt printed method is dye sublimation. You will need a special liquid dye and heat press to get the final image on the shirt. Dye sublimation is a great option for printing on polyester shirts. Your final product will come out looking professionally done!

Pros

  • Image or text is last long
  • Will not crack or peel
  • Does not add weight or bulk to the item

Cons

  • Can only use polyester or polymer coated materials
  • Must use a heat press to set the image

So there you have it. Whether you want to start a business or just create a birthday shirt for your daughter, four unique options for the t-shirt maker that is just wanting to have fun and make some quality shirts in the process. Make sure to do your research before purchasing any equipment and have fun!