You may be asking, “why do I need to worry about shirt materials for printing? Can’t Rogue Star print on any shirt I bring them?” The short answer is no. For Direct to Garment Printing at least.
This print method uses CMYK ink very similar to the type of ink your printer at home uses, which is likely water based inks. For printing on shirts, there are some specific details that must be kept in mind when placing a DTG order.
Printing with black ink only
Now, if you are just printing on a piece of clothing with only black ink, then we have a lot more freedom when it comes to printable material. This is because the ink will change the colour of the material no matter the composition and produce the exact print you need. However, and this is very important to remember, this only works for using black ink, or printing on white or athletic grey shirts. The reason we have so much leeway on material composition behind this option is based on not needing an underlay of white ink. The white ink used is in our printers is the bulk of why printing on certain materials is so picky.
Printing with white and coloured inks
This is where it is super important to notice the material make-up of the clothing you want printed. Anytime we need to print with white ink, be it a solid white design or a colourful design on a dark garment, we need to treat the shirt using what we call “pretreat.” This treatment is like an eco-friendly liquid glue we spray on the shirt that then gets heat pressed and set into the fibers to catch and hold the white ink so it does not fall through. In order for it to work properly, we need the shirts to be made up of natural materials such as cotton or bamboo. There are plenty of mixed-blend shirts out there and we are able to go down to 80% cotton/20% polyester, but that mixture is the lowest amount of natural material in a shirt that we are able to print on.
Here are some clothing recommendations from Rogue Star
This shirt is Gildan’s Heavy Cotton T-shirt that is made up of 100% cotton. This is our top t-shirt recommendation for DTG printing and it will be your most cost effective as well.
Check out the shirt here!
This is our next top recommendation. This is Gildan’s 100% ring-spun cotton tee, that is a lot softer than the heavy cotton option. It costs a bit more than the G500 but it is well worth the comfort of the softer material!
Here is where you can check out this clothing option!
Hoodies are tricky, but this is by far the number one Rogue Star recommended hoodie choice for DTG printing. This is the midweight option of Independent’s line of hoodies. The material composition is 80% cotton/20% polyester but we have had amazing results with using these hoodies. The print quality is incredible and they are quite the comfortable option as well.
Check out more about this hoodie here!
Confused? Know what you’re doing? Don’t Sweat it!
If all of this information is confusing then don’t sweat it! We at Rogue Star will happily help you find the best clothing option for you. If you have a clothing or product code in mind that you are unsure about, let us know and we will look into it to ensure you end up with the product that you need!
If you are well-versed in the world of product codes and want a specific garment or brand, that’s great! Please ensure the material make-up suits the print method you are looking for!