What is the Best Material for Custom Shirt Printing?

If you are looking to make a custom T-shirt, you may have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about the design. The design is important, but just as important is the material you are going to print on. Some material is better for screen printing and DTG printing, while other material is better for dye sublimation. Additionally, you will want a T-shirt that is going to be comfortable, fits well, and will stand up to wear and tear.


There are so many fabrics to choose from for making a custom T-shirt. However, out of all the fabric options out there, cotton is still by far a favorite. Cotton is such a great fabric to work with because it is a strong material that still feels soft to the touch. Cotton is also one of the more affordable materials available.

The only real negative to this versatile fabric is that it does wrinkle easily. Wrinkling of the fabric may prove difficult during the custom printing process. Within the category of cotton, there are various subcategories to choose from as well. Each of these has its own set of characteristics.

Combed Cotton

Combed cotton is a favorite because it is softer than other types of cotton. This softness comes from the production process in which the fibers are treated before they get spun into yarn. The drawback of combed cotton is the price. This kind of cotton is more expensive than other types of cotton.

Organic Cotton

Organic cotton is another type of cotton with a higher price tag than basic cotton. There are less pesticides and fertilizers used in the production process of organic cotton. This method of production is better for the environment than other cotton production techniques because it allows the soil to maintain its fertility and does not use unnecessary toxins.

Supima Cotton

Supima cotton is considered to be one of the highest quality types of cotton. This material is ultra-strong and resistant to fading, stretching, and pilling. The more you wash it, the softer it gets.

Other Fabrics for T-Shirts

While cotton is a great option for screen printing custom T-shirts, there are a lot of other fabrics to choose from, depending on what kind of T-shirt you are looking to make and with what printing method.


Polyester is a synthetic fiber that is a common fabric for T-Shirts. Polyester is the material you will need to make a custom print through dye sublimation. Polyester has a lot of great qualities. It is easy to wash, dries fast, and does not require ironing. This fabric is strong and keeps its shape well over time. For this reason, polyester is a great choice for athletic clothing.


Linen is light and airy fabric. The textured material is rougher than cotton. It is derived from the flax plant and is great for wicking away sweat and moisture from your skin. The only real downside to linen is that it gets wrinkled super easily. For T-shirts, linen is not as popular of a fabric as cotton and some of the other fabrics out there. Linen is used more often for jackets and lightweight outer layers.


Rayon feels like silk, but is a lot cheaper. This material is a man-made material that is derived from a blend of plants and cotton. It is often used for dying because it is very absorbent. Rayon is a delicate fabric that can get stretched out after multiple washings, so you may want to dry clean your rayon garments. This fabric also wrinkles easily and does not last as long as other materials.


Modal is a type of rayon that is a step up from traditional rayon. Modal is softer than other rayon blends and it won’t shrink or fade as quickly. This material is great for summer T-shirts because it dries quickly.


A lot of T-shirts will be a blend of several different types of fabric. The most common blend is the combination of cotton and polyester. The resulting T-shirt will be breathable and lightweight from the cotton while remaining strong and wrinkle free from the polyester. A poly-cotton blend may be the best option for creating a custom printed T-shirt because it will be both strong and soft.


A tri-blend is typically a combination of cotton, polyester, and rayon. Tri-blends provide the softness of cotton, the durability of polyester, with the breathability of rayon for a super soft and comfortable feel.

When you choose a fabric for your custom printed T-shirt, you should consider what the T-shirt will be used for. Will it be for a one-time event? Will it be a gift? Another thing to consider is who will be wearing it. There is no right answer to which fabric is the ultimate best. It really depends on your personal preference and your custom printing needs.