Screen printing is perhaps the most popular as it is also the cheapest way to transfer an image to a shirt. One only needs a mesh screen, fabric ink, a squeegee and a basic cotton shirt. The screen is coated with a special material that hardens when exposed to the light. When the material is removed, the image is embedded in the screen. The screen is then placed on top of the t-shirt where fabric ink is added. The ink is then pressed out of the design with a squeegee. Once the ink hardens, the screen is removed and the outline of the image is clearly seen on the t-shirt. One benefit of using this method is that the mesh screen is re-usable and one can make use of the design repeatedly. That said, using this method is slow as one has to do the process of transferring individually.
Heat transfer is particularly popular for its ease of use and since heat is used, the design is transferred quickly. Heat transfer designs are available widely and one can even do it at the comforts of their own home. Simply place the design backwards onto the t-shirt and use any heat equipment such as a household iron. Run the iron on the design several times to ensure the design is transferred thoroughly. Although transferring the design is fast, easy and the price is relatively cheap, the designs do not last long and some may crack over a period of time, ending up with damage in the design.
Digital printing is the newest form of printing as it directly prints on the garment. Digital printing is popular as it allows a clear image design output thanks to color separation features. As the designs are printed directly on the material, the fabric absorbs the color allowing for a longer and realistic appearance. Although digital printing is popular, only a few people utilize it as the machine is a bit expensive. This type though is ideal for those who are interested in opening up their own printing business.