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Decoration Methods:
Screen, DTG, Film, Sublimation & Embroidery

Different decoration methods and how to choose them: There are many different methods available for decorating your garments with your design. Some methods work only on certain garments or different abilities to resolve details. They all have different price points. This guide gives you all the information you need to make the best choice for your situation!
The different choices: We currently offer these decoration choices: Screen Printing, Digital Printing, Direct Embroidery, Wick Printing, and Heat Printing. This chart gives a brief summary of the different processes.
Decoration Methods At A Glance
Decoration Type Description Main Use Pros/Best For Cons/Bad For

Screen Printing

Liquid ink is pushed through a stencil and cured in an oven. Each color is printed separately with its stencil. Medium to long run printing of garments.
  • Larger orders with just a few colors in the design
  • Any type of garment
  • Special effects like metallic or glow-in-the-dark ink
  • Withstands repeated washings
  • Only works on flat items
  • Very small quantities are costly

Direct to Film

Liquid ink is applied to a Film to transfer the image to a garment. Reproduces a full range of colors. Single piece and short run printing on garments or for full-color printing.
  • Short print runs
  • Multicolor designs
  • Best on t-shirt fabric
  • Design should have open areas
  • Almost as durable as screen printing
  • Not good for large solid designs
  • Bad on pique knits and some fleece.

Direct to Garment

Liquid ink is sprayed by a computer-controlled print head. Reproduces a full range of colors in one step. Single piece and short run printing on garments or for full-color printing.
  • Short print runs
  • Multicolor designs
  • Only best on 100% cotton
  • Not as durable as screen printing


Best on White or very light-wicking shirts. Single piece and short run printing on garments or for full-color printing.
  • Outdoor active apparel use – breathable
  • Multicolor designs
  • Very durable
  • Only best on 100% polyester: White, pale yellow, pale blue, light sand.

Direct Embroidery

Different color threads are sewn into the garment by a computer-controlled machine to create the desired image. Ball caps, polo shirts, or jackets with left or right chest designs.
  • Polo shirts, jackets, caps, and other high-end garments
  • Changing design colors based on garment color or use
  • Professional looking garments
  • Withstands repeated washings
  • Does not work on thin garments
  • Shading and tiny design details are sometimes lost

Screen Printing

Screen Printing Overview

Screen printing is a decoration process that uses a fine mesh, and ink is pushed through onto the fabric. Screen Printing is a popular method for larger runs of shirts. Every color in a design gets a screen, so it’s more affordable when there are fewer colors. The ‘feel’ of screen printing is a bit rubbery since it’s a plastic-like ink pushed into the fabric.

Learn about the Screen Printing Decoration Method

Direct To Garment Printing

Direct To Garment Printing Overview

Direct To Garment printing (DTG) is a decoration process that uses a sophisticated inkjet printer with ink specific for apparel. This method uses a white under base to print any shirt color. On top of the white underbase, six ink colors are used to create all the other colors in the design. Specialty colors like neon and metallic are not possible. This process is best for shorter runs or designs needing a wide range of colors. The ‘feel’ of direct-to-garment printing is lighter than screen printing.

Learn about the Direct to Garment Printing Decoration Method


Sublimation Overview

Sublimation is a decoration method that only works on polyester white or very light color shirts. The Wicking shirts weather perfectly through the design, and it’s very durable. Great for outdoor activities.

Learn about the Sublimation Decoration Method

Direct to Film

Direct to Film Overview

Film is a decoration method that can go on any color and fabric. It is a thin, flexible transfer. Designs should have open areas for best results.

Learn about the Film Decoration Method


Custom line art before embroidery sample
embroidered design sew out embroidery example

This shows the image before and after being digitized for embroidery.


The embroidery process is one of the oldest fabric decoration methods. It consists of strands of thread in various colors sewn into the garment to create an image, text, or design. The threads can be applied in various patterns, lengths, and thicknesses to produce various visual effects.

Learn about the Embroidery Decoration Method

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