SwagTex | Direct To Garment VS Screen Printing

Custom DTG printed shirts are great to show support for your team
Custom DTG printed shirts are great to show support for your team.
Image CapSwag

Online retail has unified the fashion industry. Everyone is trying to stand out in the crowd; subsequently, the customization technique gained popularity. There are several methods to customize a garment, but the most widely used and recommended techniques are Direct to Garment Printing and Screen Printing. Both of these produce elevated items in a short time and low price. They provide an opportunity to switch styles as fashion changes. SwagTex specializes in all custom apparel techniques.

Apart from personal styling, these customization techniques offer advantages for garment businesses to create unique products specific to their target clients. Promotional merchandise has encouraged Screen Printing and Direct to Garment Printing as well. The technique differs depending on the event size.

In this post, we will detail the process of Direct to Garment Printing and Screen Printing to give you a behind-the-scenes picture. We also list strengthens of each technique to help you decide what is most suitable for you.

Direct To Garment Print

It is similar to a home printer, except the ink is being applied directly to the fabric. You can customize T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, uniforms, etc.

Process Of DTG Print

Direct to garment process is straightforward if you are using suitable equipment and the correct procedure. The digital machine ensures high-quality prints every single time without any wastage. If you are looking to create custom direct garment prints for your start-up companies, head to SwagTex. Below are the details of direct to garment printing process you will go through.

DTG Printer display showing progress. Image: SwagTex
DTG Printer display showing progress.
Image: SwagTex

1. Design Creation

The first step to custom apparel is to create a design for the T-shirt. You may want to print a family photo, or your company logo, or your artwork. Regardless of the complexity or intricacy of the design, direct to garment printer can handle it. You can email your design to SwagTex or book a consultation with expert SwagTex graphic designers to bring your vision to life. You can sit with the SwagTex branding team to generate a new logo for your start-up. Usually, Illustrator is used for designing. After finalizing the design, convert it to a vector image. If you already own a vector image, you can skip this step.

Once the design is complete, the image is transferred to printer software. It will show you the placement of your design; you can change the placement however you like. Additionally, you will get a good visual idea of the size of the design of your T-shirt.

When printing on a dark-colored shirt, a white under base ensures the colors are vibrant. On the printer software, there is the option of a light white layer or a heavy layer. From years of custom DTG printing experience, SwagTex employees will apply the exact under-base required for your particular design.

2. Shirt Preparation

The good T-shirt preparation determines the quality of the print and the lifetime of the design. The shirt is pressed to remove any wrinkles and ensure fibers are straight. Then the shirt is pretreated with chemicals using an Automatic Pretreatment Machine to the fabric can accept inks. It is a self-contained system; open the drawer and load the shirt on the platform with the right side facing upwards and close the drawer. It takes only a few seconds to pretreat the shirt.

Next, we press the shirt using a heat press. The shirt needs to be entirely dry before printing can begin. A sheet of silicon paper is kept above the shirt to protect the heating element. A good quality, a high-tech heat press is used at SwagTex. The digital display sets the temperature, time, and pressure. For preparation, we set the press to 330 degrees for approximately 30 seconds at high pressure.

Colors being applied inside a DTG digital printer. Image: Capswagusa
Colors being applied inside a DTG digital printer.
Image: Capswagusa

3. DTG Printing

Now the shirt is ready for print. The shirt is loaded onto the printer platform. There are guideline markings on all sides to ensure the shirt is positioned straight. The excess fabric is tucked underneath, and put the hoop onto the shirt. Hoop is simply a rectangle frame to fix the shirt and prevent it from moving during print.

The software will send the design to the printer for printing. The machine will start with an appropriate white base layer then colors on top. Surprisingly the printing only takes 2-3 minutes tops! Time may vary slightly depending on the design complexity.

Since the inks are water-based, the print is best on organic fibers such as cotton, bamboo, hemp, and linen.

State-of-the-art DTG digital printer for quality product. 
Image: SwagTex
State-of-the-art DTG digital printer for quality product.
Image: SwagTex

4. Cure The Design

The final step is to cure the design using the heat press. Place the shirt on the pressing board and add a silicon sheet to protect the design. The heat press is set to 330 degrees for 90 seconds using light pressure. Again you do not have to worry about these technical settings; experienced SwagTex employees are aware.
After the heat press, the shirt is ready to be worn or sold!

Benefits Of DTG Print

-Quality Print

The most significant advantage is a high-quality print and the extreme refinement of the design. DTG digital printing can produce intricate designs within minutes that are not possible with any other customization technique.


The shirt feels soft to touch without the plastic feeling of a vinyl transfer. The print is durable that is guaranteed to last you for years with rough wear.

-High Value

You can custom order your designs as required. There is no minimum order restriction at SwagTex. DTG is more costly than screen printing, but you can gain substantial profit on the shirt sale. The quality is unmatched to screen printing.

A DTG printed T-Shirt. Image: Capswagusa
A DTG printed T-Shirt.
Image: Capswagusa

Why DTG Digital Printing?

Let’s say you are an online start-up. You can create and get a few sample shirts printed to showcase. Later you can order as needed. It will save you from advance ordering inventory and risk it getting outdated. Moreover, order as per demand gives you the flexibility to personalize every single item! For a start-up, this is an excellent promotional method.

DTG quality print designs give the freedom to recreate high-resolution images onto fabric. Clients who want to preserve an important life moment can custom order photographs. Some people print portraits of their favorite personalities or designs to show support for a cause. These are purely unique and unavailable for purchase from any retail store.

Another popular trend among sports fans is custom print a sports shirt with a team logo, player name and number, and frame as a decoration item.

There is a significant increase in custom DTG orders for personalized garments as gifts. These range from themes specific to an individual, pop culture and movie references, and numerous holiday-themed designs. Your partner would love the idea of getting a DTG printed shirt with a photograph from the first date as a valentine’s day present.

Screen Print

The screen printing uses inks to create designs on garments. The inks are pushed through a mesh screen with a particular design burned on them. Each screen can transfer one color, hence the limitation of six colors on a design. Even with six colors, you can create beautiful pieces at an affordable price, especially when ordering large quantities.

The earlier method of screen printing was applying inks on fabrics using a stencil with hand.
The earlier method of screen printing was applying inks on fabrics using a stencil with hand.
Image: SwagTex

Process Of Screen Print

The screen print method has existed for a long time. It has become very efficient with the introduction of digital machines. However, the process remains relatively simple. You can read an in-depth screen printing process explanation here.

1. Design

The customization begins with a design created on Illustrator. The image is converted into a vector file and inverted for later. The final file is then printed out onto a special transparency paper.

2. Preparing The Screen

The transparency paper is sandwiched between the screen and a sheet of plexiglass. Following emulsion is applied to both sides of the screen using a scoop coater. The emulsion is light-sensitive, so this step is carried out in a dark room. The screen is then exposed to a UV lamp to burn the design. Once the emulsion dries, it is washed, preferably with a power washer. It is vital that all emulsion is washed out and the design is sharp.

Complete screen printing process, first design then stencil finally applying ink.
Complete screen printing process, first design then stencil finally applying ink.
Image: SwagTex

3. Transfer Design

The prepared screen is fixed to the printing machine. It has several arms to print multiple shirts at once. The shirt is positioned correctly and secured to the printing board using a light adhesive. Next, the ink is applied over the screen. The mechanical arm, with a squeegee handle, applies the correct pressure to push ink through the screen onto the shirt. The shirt is then sent to the following arm for different color applications.

4. Heat Setting

After all, colors are applied, the inks are fused to fabric using a heat press. The machine calculates precise time according to the layers and colors of the design. Cool the shirt, and it is ready for delivery.

Benefits Of Screen Print


The clients looking for bulk custom orders prefer this technique. Screen printing gives the lowest per-unit cost when compared to other customization methods.

-Quality Print

Regardless of the low cost, you will receive a high-quality product. The inks are vivid, and the designs are neat and sharp. The inks do not crack or fade over time, even with frequent machine washing.

-Low Production Time

SwagTex uses a digital machine to create your custom order. You are guaranteed a low production and delivery time even if the order is in thousands. SwagTex quality team checks every single item to maintain high standards.

Why Screen Print?

Screen printing is chosen by individuals looking for economical bulk orders with personalized yet simple designs. The single-color prints have a very low cost per unit. Screen printing is chosen for promotional T-shirts for charity events, music concerts, and comic conventions.

Apart from mass events, clients prefer screen printing for their personal events. Clients can order custom screen printed shirts as party favors. Kids love cartoon theme shirts or a graduation theme for the entire graduating class. Couples get affordable screen printed shirts made for groomsmen and bridesmaids to have a fun wedding shoot.

It is a good idea to print shirts to increase awareness about your business. Unlike printed and media advertisements the shirts will stay in circulation longer and is a much cheaper alternative.


SwagTex has helped multiple clients with their custom orders. Merchandise management using direct to garment printing is very economical and efficient. SwagTex branding team can guide you throughout the process.

If you have decided to select screen printing for your event, request a quote on SwagTex website to get an idea of what it will cost you. SwagTex design team can help you tweak the image so you get an economical bulk order without compromising on your vision.

Our motto is ‘Custom Made Simple,’ which is what we offer. SwagTex employees deal with diverse business companies and know what will suit your needs. Explain your custom apparel’s purpose, and they will suggest you best customization technique within your budget.

Check out the SwagTex website to select a garment you want to customize, send us the design, and receive an exceptional piece within days. Visit our store in Berlin Farmer’s Market, NJ, and test our ready samples before placing an order. For more inspiration, watch the videos on our YouTube Channel Capswagusa.

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