What is Dye Sublimation Printing

What is Dye Sublimation Printing and How Does it Work for Shirts?

What is Dye Sublimation?

Dye sublimation is a custom printing method in which you start with a mirror image print of your design on special heat transfer paper and then use a heat press to apply the design, called a “substrate” to your T-shirt.

Dye sublimation is the go-to printing technique for anything polyester. Print a high-resolution photo or graphic to make a unique T-shirt, tank top, tennis shoes, baseball cap, or anything else you can think of that is made from polyester.

How Does Dye Sublimation Work for T-Shirts?

Water-based ink is used in dye sublimation because it turns into a gas when heated and will bond to polyester materials. This process is excellent for T-shirts because it creates a vibrant graphic that will not wash away, peel, or crack over time. The reason this works like a charm is that dye sublimation doesn’t add ink to the surface of the fabric, but changes the color of the fabric. You end up with a soft, smooth result where all you feel is the T-shirt, rather than anything printed on top of the material.

Dye Sublimation in Two Easy Steps

If you want to give the art of dye sublimation a try for yourself, grab these tools, and follow just two simple steps.

Dye Sublimation Tools

  • Dye Sublimation Printer
  • Heat Press
  • Transfer Paper
  • Disperse Dyes
  • Polyester Fabric
  • Contact Thermometer (Not required, but recommended)

Step One: The Printer

Use the dye sublimation printer and special sublimation ink to print your logo or graphic onto a sheet of transfer paper.

Step Two: The Heat Press

Place the transfer paper onto the surface of the T-shirt where you want the graphic to be and apply heat with the heat press. Heat presses vary in size and purpose. However, despite these differences, all heat presses work in the same fundamental way.

The amount of time you will need to apply heat will vary depending on the material on which you are working. Typically, 390-400 degrees Fahrenheit will heat the ink on the transfer paper and the polyester fibers simultaneously, resulting in a transfer of the ink to the fabric. Wait between 30-60 seconds depending on heat and material, then remove the heat and transfer paper. Ta da! You now have a permanent graphic on your T-shirt.

If the heat transfer does not come out right, it is likely due to the wrong time or heat settings. Another possible cause of a transfer mishap is the temperature of the heat press. On some heat presses, the displayed temperature may not always match the actual temperature. To avoid this problem, you may want to have a contact thermometer at hand and adjust the temperature settings as needed.

Heat presses come in the following basic types:

  • The small format heat press (16×20) is for small items like tennis shoes, tank tops, or T-shirts.
  • The flatbed heat press is for polyester fabric and other polymers on hard surfaces.
  • The 3D vacuum heat press is for pre-treated polymer materials that have a curved shape like mugs, phone and laptop cases, and buttons.
  • The large format heat press is for large materials like signs and banners.

Ready to get your design printed on a custom T-shirt through dye sublimation? Let AA Custom T-Shirt Printing do the printing for you!

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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.

Cotton

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

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

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

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

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.

Blends

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.

Tri-blends

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.

32 Stylish Ways to Dress Up a Graphic T-Shirt

There is nothing like a graphic T-shirt to express yourself. Graphic T-shirt designs come in so many varieties, from your favorite band T-shirt to a customized novelty T-shirt with your friend’s face on it, and everything in between. Graphic T-shirts are not only a great way to show off your personality, but they are also incredibly versatile! You can dress a cool graphic T-shirt up or down. Use a graphic T-shirt to put an exclamation on a funky look, or as a statement piece to add interest to a classic outfit. When you are ready, you can get your own custom t-shirt printing las vegas service for your best graphic tee designs. Read on for 32 stylish ways to dress up your next graphic T-shirt.

32 Style Outfits for Your Graphic T-Shirt

1. Blazer

Blazers are a super simple way to dress up any outfit. Throw on a blazer over your graphic tee for a polished look.

2. Jean Jacket

You can’t go wrong with a great jean jacket. Jean jackets go with literally everything. Add a jean jacket for a classic casual look.

3. Moto Jacket

If you are looking for something a little edgier and cool, add a moto jacket over your favorite graphic tee.

4. Bomber Jacket

Bomber jackets are fun and trendy. Add a little style to your graphic T-shirt with a fun, colorful bomber.

5. Ripped Jeans

Want a super casual, weekend look? Pair your graphic T-shirt with a pair of comfy, ripped jeans.

6. Dark wash jeans

If you are looking for a casual-Friday look, try a pair of dark wash jeans. Dark wash jeans are perfect for a weekend shopping trip.

7. Bell bottoms

For a fun, retro look, pair your graphic T-shirt with some stylish bell bottoms.

8. High-waisted jeans

To make your graphic T-shirt a focus, pair it with some high waisted jeans.

9. Colorful jeans

For a fun and fresh look, pair your graphic T-shirt with some colorful jeans or pants. From bright colors, pastels, to fun prints, mix it up and create a fun, playful outfit.

10. Patterned pants

Try some wide-legged, patterned pants for a dressier look.

11. Suit

The best way to make a suit a little more fun and casual is to pair it with a graphic tee.

12. Cut off shorts

For a beachy, summer look try a pair of cut off shorts and sandals.

13. High waisted shorts

For a more grown-up look, pair your tee with some high waisted shorts.

14. Midi-skirt

For a flirty look, pair your graphic T-shirt with a great midi-skirt. From floral prints, stripes, and polka dots. Add a little character with a fun, printed skirt to complement your graphic tee.

15. Maxi-skirt

For a super comfy look that is still classy, pair your graphic tee with a maxi-skirt. Add some tennis shoes or sandals to keep it casual, or dress it up with some heels or espadrilles.

16. Skater skirt

Pair your graphic T-shirt with a bright or patterned skater skirt for a fun, youthful look.

17. Pencil skirt

Pencil skirts are a great way to add some style and class to your graphic T-shirt without a lot of effort.

18. Jean skirt

Jean skirts are another way to create a fun, youthful outfit.

19. Canvas tennis shoes

For a casual, concert-ready look, pair your graphic T-shirt with a pair of jeans and classic canvas tennis shoes. Or, for a fun, ironic look, pair your graphic tee and tennis shoes with a skirt or a dress.

20. Sneakers

For an everyday, casual look, pair your graphic T-shirt with a pair of jeans and sneakers.

21. Heels

A classic way to dress up a graphic tee is to wear it with a pair of heels. Throw on a pair of skinny jeans for a classic yet casual look. Or, pair your tee and heels with a skirt and blazer to go for a more polished look.

22. Flats

Flats are comfy, yet office-friendly. Pair your graphic tee with a pair of flats for an everyday look that can go from work to a night out and still keep your feet from screaming at you.

23. Sandals

Sandals are a must in hot, summer months for sure. Pair sandals with some shorts and a graphic tee for a casual, beachy look.

24. Espadrilles

Espadrilles are perfect for a semi-casual look. Pair some fun espadrilles with a graphic tee for a carefree, stylish look.

25. Layering- over a button-up collared shirt

During the fall and winter seasons, layering is your best friend. Keep your favorite graphic tees in rotation with some fun layering techniques. Take a classic button-up collared shirt, and throw on your graphic T-shirt over top of it for a smart, school-ready look.

26. Layering- under a sundress

You want to wear your favorite graphic tee. You also want to wear your new sundress. Put them together for a fun, fresh look.

27. Belts

A really simple way to transform the look of your whole outfit is to add accessories. A funky belt will enhance a cool graphic tee for a fun and trendy look.

28. Hats

Add a baseball cap for a chill, casual look (or if you didn’t wash your hair today). Add a cowboy hat, a beret, or a knit cap for a stylish addition. Your hat can completely transform your whole look.

29. Scarves

Add a scarf to your hair. Add a scarf around your neck. Both of these accessories will enhance your look. You can add a warm winter scarf for a cozy look, or add a fun, lightweight scarf for a fresh and funky style.

30. Oversized costume jewelry

If you want to make a statement, add some oversized costume jewelry, or layer some necklaces or bracelets.

31. Understated classic jewelry

If you are going for more of an understated look, add a classy watch or subtle jewelry to top off your look.

32. Suspenders

Suspenders add a trendy twist to a classic outfit. Pair them with a fun skirt for a fresh look.

Ready to Print Your Best Graphic T-Shirt Design?

No matter what your style is, adding a graphic T-shirt to the mix will give you a more personalized look. Try out some of these combinations for a fun, fresh twist on your typical jeans and a T-shirt.

Ready to get your graphic T-shirt game on? After you finished Photoshop designing your t-shirts, check us out at AA Custom T-Shirts Printing!

Making Printed T-Shirts: The How-To On Creating Your Own Customized Designs

How to Make Customized Printed T-Shirts with Great Design

What makes a great T-shirt design? What is it about certain T-shirt designs that make people want to wear them time and time again? Your favorite T-shirt becomes a part of your identity. This is especially true for businesses who are using these T-shirts for free advertising. Now your designs are not only representing the person wearing the T-shirt, but also the business and the brand behind it.

Are you ready to make your design real? Get your shirt designs printed at AA Custom T-Shirt Printing today!

What Makes a Great T-Shirt Design?

Great design does not come from one single factor. There are so many elements and small details that go into it. When you are designing, you need to keep in mind the color and sizing choices as well as printing options, wearability, and staying within a budget. Moreover, your inspiration and passion for the design will go a long way. If you genuinely love your design, there is a good chance your audience will too.

Why Do You Want to Design a T-Shirt?

If you are reading this article, you probably already have a reason for wanting to design your own T-shirt. Whether you are looking to become the next great T-shirt designer or you just need a T-shirt made for your next office party, the basics will be the same.

No matter the reason for your T-shirt, you want to make sure it communicates clearly. If you are not sure where to start, it might be helpful to make a list of themes and styles you want your design to convey. Are you looking to do something playful or serious? Do you want a design that is edgy or conservative? A great T-shirt design will communicate all of these things at first glance.

Pre-Design Brainstorming

Spend some time brainstorming your concept before you even begin the actual design process. Sketch your design ideas. Try out several different variations. Put it away for a day or two and come back to it. Brainstorming before you start designing will save you time later!

Ask yourself these questions to help you hone in on your design needs. What is your brand? Is it a business brand or a personal brand? Who is your target market? Are you designing for an event, advertising purposes, or are you looking to sell your designs?

Are you designing for guys or girls? Kids or adults? Unless you are designing a T-shirt for yourself, you are going to want to take some time to think about your audience. It can be super helpful to visualize the person you are designing for and jot down some notes about who they are and what they like. That way, when you start working on your design on a digital design program like Photoshop, you can cater your work to your particular audience and need.

Remember Your Design Will Be on a T-Shirt

Make sure you get to see your design printed out in its actual size. Sometimes it can be hard to tell how it’s going to look online or when you print out a smaller version. You may even want to create a realistic mock-up of your T-shirt and print it out in actual size. This will give you the best idea of how it is going to look.

Considerations For Making a Great Design For Your Shirt

Sizing

Trying to figure out the sizing for your design can be tricky. You should think about the overall nature of the design when deciding on sizing. Additionally, think about the material and what kind of garment it is going to be printed on.

The shape of your design plays a significant role in how large or small it will look once printed. Shapes like circles and squares tend to look better if they are sized a little smaller than the standard.

It is a good idea to print out your design on paper and hold it up to the desired garment- or one of a similar size- to get an idea of how the sizing will look. You may also want to consider using a smaller size for designs that will go on smaller garments. One size does not fit all.

Placement

Make sure you center your designs visually. They should never be centered based on the width of the garment. One common mistake a lot of people make is focusing on the location of the design, when you really need to think about the measurements within that location. Another faux pah is the belly print. This placement is not flattering, and most people will not appreciate it. Some standard print locations that work well are either full front prints or full back prints.

Colors

Your color choices are super important in the design process. This is not only because you want a killer design, but it is also because screen printing can get super expensive the more colors you use.

If you are going to be getting your design printed direct to garment, you can use as many colors as you want without it affecting the cost. However, if you are going to get your T-shirt screen printed, the more colors you use, the bigger the dent it’ll put in your wallet.

You may not want to go overboard on the number of colors you use even if the cost is not an issue. The more colors you use, the more chances you have of clashing. Some people like single color graphics T-shirt that’s black or white. Others prefer lots of bright, vibrant colors. The key is to focus on the intended design to find the right color combination. Sometimes, it’s best to keep it simple.

For T-shirt designs, you have two sets of colors you have to keep in mind. You have the fabric colors, and then you have the print colors. Make sure you always set your background color to the color you plan to print on. Also, different colored fabrics can have an impact on how the ink is going to turn out when printed, so keep that in mind.

If your printer does custom colors, make sure you save the Pantone or CMYK color codes so that everything turns out looking the way you want it to.

Ink

T-shirts have several kinds of ink options to choose from, depending on your method of printing.

  • Foil is reflective and shiny
  • Gel is like high-density, with a wet look
  • High-density gives your design dimension
  • Plastisol is the standard screen-printing ink
  • Water-based ink is ingrained in the fabric

Contrast

Contrast refers to the level of difference there is from the light parts of an image and the dark parts of an image. The most contrast is a black on white image or a white on black image. Bright colors on a dark background have quite a bit of contrast too.

The amount of contrast you are going to want all depends on the actual design you are working with and the look you are going for. Some designs may call for high contrast, while others look better with less contrast. Be careful with low contrast too though. It can be a fine line between low contrast and no contrast. For instance, you may want to avoid light gray ink on gray shirts or super light gray on white. Additionally, navy blue on black has almost no contrast as well.

Typography & Fonts

Typography is the way words look visually. Typography is different than the text itself; it is the combination of arranging type and choosing fonts in a way that will be visually appealing. This involves both letter and line spacing. The font you choose will have a huge impact on the overall aesthetic of the design.

The number one rule of typography – never use more than three different fonts in one design. Rule number two – unless you are creating a T-shirt for preschoolers, you probably want to avoid using a font such as Comic Sans. Just FYI.

Some great standard fonts work for a wide variety of purposes. Serif fonts tend to look more classic, while sans-serif fonts will give your design a more modern feel. There are so many fonts to choose from, so make sure you take advantage of that and explore your options. Sometimes you have to look through a LOT of different fonts to find the perfect one, so don’t settle on one of the first fonts you come across. Take your time and choose the one that speaks to your design goals.

Make sure you keep readability in mind when you choose your fonts. If the words are essential for the message you are trying to communicate, you are going to want to make sure people can read them.

Composition

Each design has individual elements that will be arranged in relation to one another. This relation makes up the overall composition of the design. Following some basic composition guidelines can improve your overall design aesthetic in a big way.

You want to make sure your elements are not too bunched together or too spaced out. You want to make sure your details are not off balance. You want to make the lines flow nicely together, while the type should fit comfortably within both the overall design and the garment itself.

You definitely want to make sure words are placed in a way in which they will be read in the correct order. A weird placement of the words can make your design say something completely different than what you intended.

Image Quality

Poor image quality is a huge problem. It is also one of the most common mistakes people make. If your image is too low of a resolution and does not have enough pixel information for a quality print, the end result is going to look super low budget. Usually, images from the internet are too small and low resolution. Quality images will be 20 dpi or higher when they are at their full size.

The solution is to use a vector file. Vector files are fantastic because they will scale to print precisely to any size and won’t lose their quality. So, with vector files resolution doesn’t matter. Vector files are typically made using Adobe Illustrator and are saved as either a PDF or an EPS file.

That’s All!

Now that you’ve got the basics, you are ready to start designing! Next step, you can visit us at AA Custom T-Shirt Printing, for all your custom T-shirt needs!

Photoshop Guide: Step-By-Step Checklist on Putting a Logo on a Shirt

Are you looking to get your logo on a T-shirt to advertise your business or for a special event? Did you know you can easily put your logo on a T-shirt using Photoshop? You don’t have to be a Photoshop wizard to create your own T-shirt mock-up with your logo on it. Follow these simple steps to get your logo on a T-shirt simply and quickly.

This is an easy step-by-step tutorial for those of you who have used Photoshop at least a little bit. However, if you are brand new to Photoshop, you may want to learn Photoshop basics before jumping into this project.

Notes:

*For this tutorial, I am using Adobe Photoshop CC 2018/ Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2018. Some features may not be available in older versions of Photoshop.

**This tutorial is for those of you who have already created your logo. For best results, create your logo as a vector image with a transparent background in a program like Adobe Illustrator.

***Ready to make your T-shirt design a reality? Check out our AA Custom T-shirt services for great deals!

How to Photoshop A Logo Onto Your Custom Shirt

Step 1: Setup Your Document

Have Photoshop CC open. Using the default workspace: Go to Window > Workspace > Essentials (default) to make sure you are using the same settings for this tutorial.

Click “Create New” in the upper left corner of your screen. You want to make sure you prepare your document specifically for T-shirt design. The most important part of the process is the setup. If you don’t set up your document correctly, you may end up with problems later on with sizing that is way off for a T-shirt.

Change your width and height settings from pixels to inches. A good rule of thumb for T-Shirt designs is to start out with 14 inches for the width and 17 inches for the height (you can always adjust this later).

Change your resolution to 300. Your resolution is extremely important because it will have a significant effect on how the logo will look when it is printed. If you leave your resolution at 72, your logo will likely not look that great when you get it printed. You can go above 300, but this is a good place to start.

If you are looking to do a quick design, and not interested in getting a realistic T-shirt mock-up – you can simply change the background color to the color of the T-shirt you intend to print on.

There are some other settings on this screen. You will want to keep the other settings the same – keep it in portrait, keep color mode the same.

Step 2: Place Your Logo Image

Paste your logo image onto the background and set image as a “smart object”. Place the image on the shirt and do a free transform while holding the shift key to adjust the size and placement.

Step 3: Save Your File. You Are Done!

The Slightly More Complex Way – Realistic T-Shirt Mock-Up

If you are looking to do a more realistic T-shirt mock-up (where your logo is shown on an actual T-shirt), it’s a little more complicated – but not much! Instead of setting up your file and choosing a background color for your T-shirt, you will need to find a photo of a T-shirt to use as the background. (There are a lot of sites that have stock photos like this).

Step 1: Isolate Your T-shirt

Once you have found a stock photo of a T-shirt to use, you will need to isolate the T-shirt from the rest of the photo. Create a path with the pen tool in Photoshop. Activate the path. Then use the layers palette to bring the path of the shirt onto a layer of its own. Now you should have the isolated T-shirt. Name the layer “T-shirt” or whatever you want to name it to keep track of your layers.

Step 2: Create a Displacement Map

The next thing we have to do is to create a displacement map. Make one more copy of the “T-shirt” layer you just created. Go to the bottom right of your screen to the adjustment layers options. Hold down alt option key and choose black and white.

Select that copy of the “T-shirt” layer. Go to the adjustment layers and choose “levels”. The goal with adjusting the levels is to get more contrast between the black and the white on the T-shirt to determine what is raised and what sinks in – just like wrinkles on a real T-shirt. This is what makes the mock-up look realistic.

Next, hold down the shift key and select all three of the last layers your created (the black & white, level, and T-shirt copy) and merge the layers.

Go up to the filter menu and choose Blur > Gaussian Blur. You don’t want to blur it too much. Just enough so that you don’t have any really hard lines. Play with the blur radius until you get the right setting. Save this file on your desktop. Name it “displaced” so you know it is the displaced version. Come back to your original background image and save it as a separate file.

Step 3: Place Your Logo on the T-shirt

Now we are ready to place the logo onto the T-shirt. Paste your logo image onto the background and set the image as a “smart object”. Place the image on the shirt and do a free transform while holding the shift key to adjust the size and placement.

The next step is to make a copy of the logo image. Turn off any other layers, so now you should just have your original background and your logo showing. Go up to Filter > Distort > Displace. Leave the displacement options as is for now. It will ask you to select a file. This is where you will select your “displaced” file you created a few moments ago.

Next, double click on the logo image to bring up the layer style dialogue box. On the bottom of this box, there is an option called “Blend if” that is set to gray for both layers. Hold down the alt option key to separate the two sliders. Move the bottom one over to the right a little bit. As you do this, you should see the logo start to blend in with the T-shirt and start to look more realistic. Save your mock-up.

You are done!

Now that you’ve successfully created your mock-up, get your creation printed onto an actual T-shirt! Check out AA Custom T-shirt services for all your T-shirt printing needs!