A lower cost method well-suited to high quantities is screen printing. In screen printing, liquid dye is delivered across a stencil, one color at a time, to produce the desired result. The process involves high-tech creation of the stencils and skilled machine operators.
Because of the setup, the process is best for higher quantities that can spread the setup cost over the entire batch. So one limitation of screen printing is the higher cost for low-volume runs because the setup cost is split among a lower quantity. Printing fewer than 20 items sometimes puts the printing cost higher than the cost of the item being printed.
Another limitation of screen printing is the restriction of the printed area by the size of the screen, usually 16 inches by 20 inches or 18 inches by 20 inches. That’s why you’ll see t-shirts with a nicely decorated rectangle on the front or back. If your decoration needs are within this space, this really is no limitation for your project.
Most t-shirts with decoration on the front or back are done with screen printing. A very high-quality result can be achieved with screen printing.