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All You Need to Know About Fabric Printing Methods

Sep 2nd, 2019

When it comes to fabric printing in Toronto, there is no right or wrong answer. Many factors need to be considered; including the finish that you desire, the level of detail, the amount you wish to print, and the type of fabric you wish to use. As can be seen, many things are involved in fabric printing, and the purpose of this article is to go through the various steps and processes.

All You Need to Know About Fabric Printing Methods

Print Designs

First and foremost, you will need to fabricate digital versions of all of your designs using a vector format or other such format. If you are new to the field or need some help, you can procure the services of a professional design company that can handle any design aspect for you. You will need to use a design template and input information into it. For instance, you will need to select the correct Pantone colours, along with the print dimensions, the print placement of the item, and the tiling that you need (for example repeat, brick, etc.)

Choosing the right Pantone colours can be challenging, but it doesn’t need to be. If you are planning on printing on cotton fabric, an easy way is to select the correct colours is to convert them digitally from HEX into TCX.

Also, please be aware that if you decide to work with a manufacturer, getting the Pantone colours right the first time is not a guarantee. In fact, in most cases, there will be some trial and error involved, so it is best to be patient to get the best results.

Printing Digitally

It is important to note that fabrics that are printed digitally printed have many advantages over other methods. For instance, improved accuracy is just one of the benefits of digitally printed materials, as they are more likely to reflect your specific designs once complete. State-of-the-art inkjet printers and leading-edge computer systems are usually used to achieve the results, which will yield not only unrivalled accuracy, but also brighter and more defined images as well.

Digital to garment printing is a very popular method for designs, logos, and images. They are printed onto the fabric directly via a top-of-the-line inkjet printer that utilizes proprietary inks that are water-based. However, before the printing transpires, there is a pre-treatment process that the material must undergo. The fabric is coated with select chemicals that augment the absorption levels and properties of the ink.

Next, the fabric is sent through a second machine that uses either heat or steam to set the ink. Finally, the material is washed and subsequently dried to remove any chemical agents that were used.

The digital to garment printing technique has increased in popularity thanks to its myriad of benefits. For example, digital to garment allows for nigh-photorealism in many instances and also boasts a wide array of colours, as well as highly intricate details for more complicated designs.

Also, if you want to print right on the edge of the garment, then using digital to garment printing is the ideal solution for your latest designs. However, please note that digital to garment yields the best results when it is used for lighter fabrics that are either a cotton blend or pure cotton.

What’s more, digital to garment printing is cost-effective, as you can use it to print small quantities, or test at a fairly low price, and the set-up fees are inexpensive. Ergo, it is a superb option if you want to affordably and quickly produce samples, vis-a-vis other printing modalities, such as screen printing.

Sublimation Printing

Sublimation printing is yet another form of fabric printing that also uses cutting-edge inkjet printers. However, it is different from its fabric printing counterpart because the designs aren’t printed directly onto the garment. Instead, it is printed onto paper in reverse before it is transferred over to the garment. Sublimation printing also has its unique benefits, such as being able to achieve a level of picture vividness and colour vibrancy that is unparalleled in the industry.

It should also be noted that sublimation printing is not compatible with cotton or other such non-synthetic fabrics, but performs exceptionally well on pure polyester. If saving money is your top priority, then sublimation should not be your first option It tends to cost more for sampling and is generally more expensive than digital to garment printing.

Hand and Machine Printing

Irregularities are more common when using block, hand screen, batik, and rotary printing, as they involve manual labour. That is, instead of using ink cartridges or a powerful computer, the dyes are mixed manually by employees. As a result, getting the perfect or exact shades can prove to be a challenge due to human involvement, albeit it is not impossible with the right level of skill.

Also, in some cases, the dyes may be mixed on a smaller scale, such as when strike-offs are involved. If you decide to take the hand and machine printing route, then you should be prepared for possible shade variation, especially if you are planning on a bulk production run. In fact, the same will apply if you opt to reorder the same print type in the not too distant future. You will need to prepare for slight colour variations between the batches.

If you would like to learn more about the different fabric printing methods and techniques or would like to procure digital textile printing services in Toronto, then please visit our website or give us a call at 416-694-1996.

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