Alternatives to Screen Printing - All Things Mommy Made

Alternatives to Screen Printing

Hey there, it’s Lindsey, and I’ve got another crafting tip for you! In today’s article, I’ll be diving into some cool alternatives to screen printing, a traditional decorating method.

Chances are, you’re familiar with screen printing – it’s the go-to method for making awesome designs on t-shirts. The prints come out looking fantastic and stick around for a good while. But here’s the thing: screen printing can be pretty pricey.

So, if you’re dreaming of kicking off your own custom t-shirt gig, keep reading to find out about some more wallet-friendly ways to make your designs a reality.

Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing

Direct-to-garment printing (DTG) stands as another technological leap forward for the printing industry. DTG excels in reproducing intricate designs and yields a tactile softness upon touching the finished artwork. However, it’s worth noting that getting into the DTG printing business requires a substantial investment, with machine costs starting at around $15,000.

Rather than making the hefty purchase of a DTG printer, I’d suggest exploring print-on-demand companies that provide this service and are also invested in nurturing your business growth. The print-on-demand business model offers a fantastic avenue for expanding your t-shirt enterprise without the hassle of maintaining inventory or handling the printing process yourself.

Direct-to-garment printing, an incredible technological stride, has significantly enhanced the efficiency of the printing industry. With its ability to render intricate designs and deliver a pleasing tactile experience, DTG remains a remarkable advancement.

Sublimation Printing

Sublimation printing offers an incredibly stylish way to spruce up a t-shirt. Unlike traditional screen printing, there’s no limit to the number of colors you can use in one go. Plus, you can kiss screens, extensive setup time, and high costs goodbye. All you need to do is print your design using a sublimation printer and press it onto your shirt using heat.

This printing method has earned its stripes as a top-tier decoration technique, resulting in an ultra-soft print that will outlast the shirt itself. It boasts full-color printing without breaking the bank. While it’s best suited for light 100% polyester garments, sublimation printing is swiftly becoming the go-to alternative for crafters.

Infusbile Ink

Infusible Ink is a unique printing method that produces professional-quality, vibrant transfers with a smooth and durable finish. Unlike traditional screen printing, Infusible Ink transfers actually fuse with the material itself, resulting in a seamless and long-lasting bond that won’t flake, peel, wrinkle, or crack.

Cricut’s Infusible Ink is often compared to dye-sublimation printing and for good reason. This unique process allows the ink to become one with the material, creating a vibrant and professional-quality finish that washes well, even after multiple washes. As a result, it’s an ideal choice for creating personalized apparel, accessories, and more.

Infusible Ink transfer sheets are available in a variety of colors and patterns, which you can cut into custom designs using your Cricut machine before transferring them onto your base material.

Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)

My personal favorite for jazzing up t-shirts is the Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) method. Among crafters, HTV stands as a top choice, especially for those embarking on a custom t-shirt printing venture. All you really need to kick things off is a vinyl cutter such as the Silhouette Cameo or the Cricut Explore Air, coupled with a heat press. With these tools in hand, you’re ready to transfer your designs onto a diverse range of garments.

What makes heat transfer vinyl truly remarkable is its array of colors, finishes, and patterns. You’ll find options like glitter, glow-in-the-dark, flock, and foil – the variety seems endless.


In conclusion, the world of t-shirt decoration has expanded beyond traditional screen printing, offering a range of exciting and cost-effective options to bring designs to life.

Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant full-color prints of sublimation, the versatility of HTV with its diverse finishes, the intricate detail of DTG, or the affordability and quality of DTF, there’s a method suited to your needs and creativity.

Embracing these alternatives opens doors for aspiring creators to establish their own t-shirt ventures or simply add a personalized touch to their clothing. The realm of crafting and customization has evolved, presenting crafters with a multitude of choices to express their individuality on fabric.

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