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Topic: What are the differences between these three techniques?  (Read 1445 times)
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« on: September 25, 2005 09:05:51 AM »

Okay, this may be a naive question, but I don't know much about silk screening, stenciling. or iron-on transfers, mostly through what I have read here. I would like to start making some t-shirts to wear and to sell and I am having a hard time figuring out what route to take....are there benefits to one method or another? Thanks for any input you can provide....
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2005 09:18:11 AM »

Here's my opinion:

Silk screening: Is more costly that the other two options, but if you plan on making a business out of it, is probably the highest quality option. The benefits of silk screening is, once you've made the screen, say it's a friends band logo for example, then you just use whatever color ink, whatever color tshirts, and it'll be the most cost effective route if you're printing many shirts. Silk screening is a lot of fun, but many people will tell you that it's not a good option if you only want one or two prints of a single design. It's much better for multiples. Also, color limits you, with silk screening. The more colors you have in your design, the more screens you have to make. That's why it's so much more costly.

Stenciling: Not as professional of an overall look, especially if you're doing multiples of one pattern. This has more of a hand-painted, artsy look, in my opinion. I LOVE stenciling, so don't get me wrong. It's great if you want to make a shirt for yourself here and there, or for your friends, etc. But it defanitely has more of a "one-of-a-kind" look to it. The great thing about stenciling is, you can do as many colors as you like, and stencil on top of what you've already done to give a different effect. There are many more possibilities for stenciling if you're just making a handful of the same design.

Iron-on Transfers: My experience with iron-on transfers has been limited, but I know people that use them. They're great for photos, or something with a lot of deatail and a lot of color that you just couldn't imagine yourself stenciling. The problem with them is they tend to fade faster, and they ususally don't work as well on darker colored t-shirts. I know some print places where I live who will make them for people, but they refuse to do them on black or navy shirts because the outcome is less than satisfying. White t-shirts (or whatever you're printing on) is the best bet here. The other thing is, unlike stenciling and silk screening, you can't print an iron-on transfer twice in the same spot. You would do this with the other two to brighten the image and make the ink/paint more visible.

My favorite option, if you're just doing it as a one-of-a-kind thing for yourself and/or for sale, is stenciling. It's the most cost effective, and the result is better in most circumstances. I would only get into silk screening if you wanted to make a living at it, simply because of its cost to start up.

Hope that helps!

I'm on a break from swapping... much needed!


« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2005 09:21:49 AM »

Yes! It did help! Thank you so much! I need to read over what you wrote again, but I think I will probably start with some stenciling.
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