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Screen Printing on Polo Shirts

screen printing on polo shirts

Pique polos can be challenging to print even for the most experienced screen printer. The rough texture can quickly turn your prints into a runny mess if you don’t have the right technique. In the digital heat transfer age, most decorators will order some digital heat transfers and call it a day, “problem solved”.

But what many printers don’t understand are that heat transfers aren’t always the answer to decorating difficult fabrics. Textured fabrics don’t have the same surface area as smoother garments and often only hold about half the amount of glue. Meaning the mechanical bond to the garment is inferior and may reduce the longevity of the print. That won’t stop salesmen selling you a heat transfer though.

That’s why I prefer to use screen printing on Pique polo shirts, there’s many benefits:

1. The print finish matches the garment, it doesn’t look like a cheap transfer stuck on a $60 polo shirt.

2. Screen printing will outlast the heat transfer and maintain a professional look for the life of the garment.

3. The screen printed garment will have brighter, more vibrant colours and a closer pantone match for your branding.

I’m not completely opposed to using heat transfers, used on the right application they can be a total win, but mostly I see sales people trying to sell them to every single client when they might not be the best fit for your project and may end up costing you more money down the track.

Before you pull the trigger on that run of custom polos, ask yourself the question “Is this guy just selling me heat transfers because it’s easier work for them to produce”? Mostly this is what I see in decorated apparel, shops taking the easy way out because they don’t have the decoration skills to do it the right way.

I’ve trained for 10 years to learn how to produce a premium product, there will always be someone better, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to source the best equipment, inks, systems and processes to produce the best work I can for my clients.

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