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Printed T-shirts UK - How do they print a t-shirt?

Printed T-shirts UK - How do they print a t-shirt?Chances are, you have at least a few great looking printed t-shirts in your wardrobe. The t-shirt has earned its place as a fashion fail safe through its constant evolution and versatility, not to mention affordability. From the classic white version made famous by James Dean, to the bold printed typography of ‘Frankie Says Relax’, to the full colour graphics we all love so much today, the t-shirt is the corner stone of many a male wardrobe, and we think it always will be.

Have you ever wondered how they’re made though? It’s a lot more work than you might think!


Before a brand even thinks about producing their next great printed tee, they need some great artwork. At Reem, we’ve got one of the biggest selections of t-shirts in the UK, from a whole host of top designers, covering everything from slogan tees, to graphic designs, all over tiled prints, photo style designs and loads more. Whether you want something classic, something on trend, something cheeky or something just plain cool, we’ve got a printed t-shirt that fits the bill.

Raw Materials

The actual shirt that a design is printed onto is as important as the artwork itself – there’s no point in printing an awesome design onto a poor quality shirt. All of the designers we stock believe in using only top quality materials to ensure the finished result is a cool t-shirt that will last and look good for years to come.

The Printing Process

There are a number of different options when it comes to actually producing a finished design, and each brand has its own preferences and tricks of the trade.

Heat Transfer Printing

This process involves using heat (obviously) to transfer a pre-existing image or design straight onto fabric. This option is quite limited though, in terms of what colour garments can be used, as best results require light, ideally white backgrounds.

Vinyl Transfers & Printing

Vinyl came about mostly as a solution to the problem of printing on darker coloured t-shirts. It allows a designer to use a full range of colours in their artwork, and to produce their design on any colour shirt they like. It’s a much slower process, involving cutting each layer of colour separately and applying to the garment using a heat press process. The results look great though – crisp outlines and a slightly raised effect that is great for lettering.

Screen Printing

Arguably one of the most popular choices, screen printing involves using stencils to make up the different parts of a design. The process can be used to create a simple, monochrome design in one colour, or it can repeated with several different stencils to create many layers of a more detailed, intricate design.

Printed Fabric

Most popular for all over prints and large designs, some brands opt to have lengths of fabric pre-printed with their designs which are then cut into patterns and used to create the finished garment from scratch, rather than applying a separate design to a ready-made tee.

As you can see, whichever method is used – a lot of effort goes into producing that awesome t-shirt you casually threw on this morning!

Do It Yourself?

If you’re creatively inclined, you might fancy creating your own wearable work of art – DIY screen printing has been a popular pastime amongst art students for many years. You’ll need to get quite a bit of kit together though (screen, inks, squeegee, craft knife, stencils...) and it’s by no means a quick or easy process.

The less artistic of you – or those who are too busy looking good to find time to faff about with screens and inks and squeegees, don’t need to worry though. Just check out the range of designer t-shirts here at Reem – we’ve got a massive selection from some of the hottest designers around, at brilliant prices, so there’s bound to be something to suit your style.

What’s your favourite t-shirt in your collection?

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