You might think that after the design has been made then there is no issue as you can just print it out however you see fit but there are lots of types of printing and depending on each type, the colors of the design will come out different. There are many different ways of printing on fabric and we have discussed them below:
- Block printing
This type of printing method is now rarely used because it is a slow, laborious process and it is also expensive now since it is done by hand. What’s used for printing a design is basically a block of wood that has been hand carved with the design, and then the print color ink is put onto the design and the block is then pressed onto the fabric to form the design. This process is repeated over and over until the desired result is attained. This method is obviously not suitable for bulk orders and thus, it is very expensive to buy such customized clothing. This method is also hard for if you want to print designs with a lot of colors in them.
- Roller printing
This type of printing is more commonly used now as it is a fast process. Printing designs with a lot of color is not hard with this process. Basically, the design is etched onto the rollers and there are separate rollers for each color being used in the design. When the fabric is fed through the opening, the rollers are pressed onto the fabric and they print the designs onto the fabric and then the fabric is passed through hot steam and drying area so the print dries off. This method is useful for bulk printing.
- Screen printing
This type of printing method has gained a lot of popularity as it is fast and is efficient in the sense that it can print a lot of color shades which wasn’t possible for roller printing. There are further two types of screen printing: Flat-screen printing and Rotary screen printing.
Flat screen printing is still used in some places and it is done as follows: The fabric is placed onto a a moving belt and which becomes stationary for a few seconds or minutes till the screen is lowered and one part of the cloth is printed. There is a fixed screen that is lowered onto the fabric and it has the design drawn on top and the printing ink is spread over the screen, using a squeegee, onto the cloth. Then the cloth is moved forwards and the process is repeated on the next patch of the cloth. This continues until there is no cloth left and the whole fabric has been printed over. The fabric is then allowed to dry and then, the whole process repeats itself if there are more colors to be added. So, if there is a design with more than one colors, the number of colors used is the number of times the the machine will go over the cloth. So, this type of printing is not suitable for bulk orders as it could take quite some time but if the person has advanced equipment for this, like for example, some machines have up to 24 screens to spontaneously print on the fabric and increase the speed, then this can be possible for bulk orders.
Rotary screen printing uses the technique of squeezing ink through a cylindrical mesh by a rubber squeegee and the ink exits through the mesh and is printed onto the fabric. This method is more speedy than flat screen printing and is also cheaper than that. The colors printed from this method can be very bright if the ink is a good one.
- Heat transfer printing
This type of printing means that there is transferring of the design from one material to another. The design is first printed onto a special paper and then it is placed really close to the fabric where we want to print the design and then the special paper is heated so that the design is transferred from the paper onto the fabric. There are some sub-types of heat transfer printing as given below.
Sublimation transfer uses volatile ink for the design on the special paper. The special paper is held in contact with the fabric and then heated to transfer the design onto the fabric. This is the most common heat transfer printing method.
Melt transfer was in use since the 19th century. It is the oldest printing-on-fabric method and it was done by first printing the design onto a paper using waxy ink and then putting it face-down onto a fabric and pressing hot iron onto the back of the page. The ink melts from the paper onto the fabric.
Film release is similar to melt transfer and it is basically that the design is printed onto a release paper and then it is transferred to the fabric in a similar fashion. When transferring to the textile, adhesive forces are formed which are stronger between the fabric and film than the film and paper.
Wet transfer uses water soluble dyes in the printing ink and the design is printed out. Later, the fabric is moistened and the ink is transferred to the fabric.
- Pigment printing
In this type of printing, pigments are used for the design instead of ink. The pigments do not dissolve or penetrate in the fabric rather they are just attached to it with the help of resins. The colors produced are bright.
- Duplex printing
A method to print by printing on both sides of fabric with same design.