For so many armchair artists, there’s really nothing more rewarding than creating your own t-shirt design and bringing it to life for the whole world to admire. Some set out with the intention of creating thousands of shirts to sell on, while others are more inclined to create unique one-offs the likes of which everyone else may indeed drool over, but will never gain access to. In any and all cases, home t-shirt design and printing has never been more popular across the UK, but the question remains as to what represents the best way of getting the job done once that killer design has been finalised.
On one hand, there’s the seemingly obvious option of investing in a bunch of transfer paper for your home printer and getting busy with the iron. Doing so costs next to nothing and is cheap enough, so for most it’s the plainly obvious route to take. However, thousands of amateur home designers are flocking to the doors of professional printing companies in larger numbers than ever before, having found that to involve the pros opens the door for a series of unique rewards.
Which begs the important question – is there really any point in shelling out for professional t-shirt printing when there’s plenty of cheap gear out there to do it at home yourself?
Interestingly, the answer is a resounding yes.
Quality of Results
Right off the bat, if you create a design that you’re rightly proud of and would ideally like to see it recreated in its fully glory on the t-shirt itself, professional printing is the way to go. The justification for this can be summed up in one single point – home t-shirt printing gear costs next to nothing, while the printing presses and machines they use in factories cost a small fortune…literally. As such, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the latter is of course going to be able to produce garments of much higher overall quality with designs that neither look a mess nor fade/fall to pieces after a single wash. If your design matters to you, surely it deserves to be transferred to the garment with due care and attention, right?
As touched upon briefly above, it’s technically not difficult to come up with a great design and transfer it to a garment at home with sufficient quality to be proud of the result. The moment after you iron on that shiny new piece of transfer paper it all looks wonderfully glossy and professional. In fact, you might not be able to tell any difference between this and a standard retail shirt that costs a hell of a lot more. In which case, why bother going the pro route? Well, it all comes down to the way in which it may look good now, but take a look at it once you’ve worn it and washed in a dozen times and chances are you might not be so keen to show it off anymore. The materials created for home use are generally created to sell for the cheapest prices possible and in the largest volumes, which in turn means that quality is generally left out of the equation…and therefore so too is any kind of decent lifespan.
Value for Money
The above point rolls over into perhaps the most important point of all, which is that of value for money. It’s all well and good to buy a t-shirt for less than a pound and apply a transfer paper that costs pennies, but not if both are prone to falling to pieces after a few weeks at the very most. All you’re buying here is a painfully temporary investment that’s going to need replacing time and time again, while at the same time not even remotely doing justice to your design work. By contrast, invest in a pro-printed shirt and while you might be looking at a higher outlay in the immediate instance, you’ll be taking home much longer-term value for money.
Last but not least, if you are considering getting into the practice for the sake of either making money or simply getting your designs out among the masses, it’s worth bringing consistency into consideration. The reason being that it will be hard for others to take you or your designs seriously if some look fine while others are slightly skewed, faded, distorted or generally not on par with the rest. If consistency of results matters, there’s really no alternative – the pro way is the way to go.