With all the talk about our new vinyl graphic capabilities and the great features they offer, I think this would be a good time to take a deeper look into the differences between vinyl and screen printing when making a t-shirt. Both options will give you a high quality, long lasting product, and in most cases, either option will work just as well as the other.
VINYL: Vinyl is well suited for very small runs (which we would consider anything from 1 to 12 shirts), this is because the setup time is much quicker than that of screen printing. This doesn’t make it a faster overall method though, as every shirt still requires individual set up, which becomes too time consuming beyond the 12 shirt mark.
SCREEN PRINTING: Our minimum order quantity (sometimes referred to as MOQ) for screen printing is 24 shirts, as it takes much longer to setup than vinyl. Once the setup is finished though, nothing will need to change from shirt to shirt (as long as the design stays the same), making it much quicker to print larger orders.
Vinyl is best suited for small runs (under 24), screen printing is more cost-effective for large runs.
Image detail and color (s)
VINYL: Simple graphics work best with vinyl, think text based pieces, or basic shapes. Need numbers for your hockey team’s jerseys? Perfect! Want a photograph of gram-grams 101st birthday? We can promise you it just won’t turn out. There isn’t a way for us to create true gradients (think shading or blending of colors) with vinyl and any fine details will get lost.
SCREEN PRINTING: Screen printing allows for a much higher level of detail, printing photographs is possible as intricate design features will come through beautifully. You also have access to a full gamut of colors, as we can mix any shade you might like.
Simple graphics work best with vinyl, while screen printing allows for a much higher level of detail.
VINYL: Vinyl heat transfers applied to t-shirts should last years under normal use. Here are the care instructions from the manufacturer (Siser North America):
- Do not dry clean
- Machine wash WARM w/mild detergent
- Dry at normal setting
- No chlorine bleach
- Wait 24 hours before first wash
SCREEN PRINTING: Screen printed graphics should last the life of the garment under normal use.