Choosing a Method for Getting Your Designs onto the T shirts
There are multiple ways to get your designs onto the shirt. There's screen printing, direct-to-garment (DTG), and screen printed transfers with the use of a heat press.
Screen printing t-shirts
Screen printing provides the best optimal results. The only problem is the costs. It's super expensive to get all of the proper equipment needed to screen print.
The learning curve is atrocious.
Not to mention all of the equipment you'll need. It'll be almost impossible to even think about running this out of your home.
It can easily cost upwards of $15,000 - $20,000 to get just the basics. And then you'll spend months learning how to make it all work.
I've never purchased, nor used this type of equipment. I can't really give feedback on this method. Research shows it's very expensive. If you're doing a ton of 'one-off' shirts, this may be an option for you.
If you're considering buying one, I'd encourage you to buy a used one.
Screen printed transfers and a heat press machine
The #1 method for making quality t-shirts would be screen printing ... The 2nd best method for making shirts would be with screen printed transfers; also known as plastisol transfers.
Plastisol is the type of inks screen printers use to print onto shirts. We use plastisol transfers because as the name implies, the inks that are on the transfer paper are plastisol inks.
When you make shirts with this method, you essentially get a screen print quality shirt (play video).
So the release paper you see in the video are NOT the same types of paper you can purchase in the store and run through your printer ... These are two totally different types of paper and processes.
You cannot find this type of paper in the store. As mentioned in the video, a screen printer will take your design and screen print it directly onto release paper that can be used later to transfer your designs onto some type of garment.
There are many screen printing vendors that'll do this on your behalf. Technology has made turnaround time much faster, and costs much cheaper.
Example: for a one-color design, the company below charges a $25 setup fee + .15 cents per transfer. If you ordered 50 transfers, your cost would be $7.50 (for 50 transfers) + $25 (setup fee) and broken down, you're looking at about .65 cents per transfer. Which is much cheaper than screen printing.
There are other companies that may charge a smaller setup fee, or no minimums.
The more quantity you purchase, the costs per transfer goes even lower. And you can typically have these custom transfers in hand within a matter of days.
Do understand that the more colors you have in your design, the more it'll cost you. That's standard practice with screen printing. More colors require more screens to be made, more work, and more money. So keep that in mind when creating your designs.