Screen Printing Vs. Sublimation Printing | Comparison of Methods |

Want to know the difference between screen printing vs. sublimation printing? Stay with us to know the detail.

Screen Printing Vs. Sublimation Printing

In our blog post, we will be covering what is the difference between screen printing and sublimation printing. Both of these printing techniques can be used to print on fabrics, footwear, bottles & more. Depending on your objectives, there are advantages and disadvantages to both techniques. 

Comparison Table

Comparison Factors
Screen Printing
Sublimation Printing
Printing ProcessScreen printing is a process of printing that uses a mesh to hold ink on the surface of the material while it is being printed. Sublimation printing is a process of printing where the ink becomes part of the material. 
DurationIts duration is less than sublimating technique. It starts cracking with the passage of time.The duration of the sublimating method is longer than the screen method to print.
Items NeededFor this printing method, you need to have the following items:
1. Computer with an inkjet printer
2. A Coater
3. A Squeegee-type tool
4. An Exposure unit
5. A Pressurized Washer
To start printing with this method you required the following things:
1. A sublimation Printer
2. Sublimation Paper
3. Heat Pressing Machine/ Oven
4. An item to do sublimation like a shirt, mug, etc.
QualityThe tactile and visual aspects of this product are excellent.In terms of quality, sublimating devices provide the highest quality results with color accuracy.
Production QuantityIf you want to print a similar design on a large quantity of fabric, then it’s easy with this method. There is no difference in the amount of time required to complete a shirt whether it is made in large or small batches.
CostIt is cheaper than the Sublimation technique of print.It is a bit costlier than the former.
Variations in designing It can produce the limited type of designs.It can be used to print a complex and detailed design.
Best ForThis method can be used to print designs on darker color fabric as well.This method is best for printing lighter or white color fabric only.
SetupIt is a little difficult to set up at the start.It is very easy to set up and use.
Supported FabricIt can print on 100 % Cotton fabric.It can only print on 100 % polyester fabric.
ColorsTo blend the colors in this technique you must have good skills. By using digital machines you can blend colors easily without any skills.

Difference Between Screen Printing Vs. Sublimation Printing

Screen Printing

This printing is an old and traditional method for printing designs on T-shirts, posters, etc. It requires a screen with an open mesh to hold ink on the material’s surface while it is being printed. The screen can be created using stencils and acrylic paints or an image design program like Photoshop. Ink is then forced through this screen onto paper, fabric, or other materials when pressed against them with a squeegee type tool. A screen printer is different than a printer because they are printing with ink on a screen instead of paper. 

Sublimation Printing

The sublimated technique of printing uses heat to transfer ink into the materials, where it becomes part of the material. This printing can be done by using an offset lithographic press or digitally. using a printer. The process involves heat-sensitive inks, heat-sensitive paper, or both. Sublimation printing is the most commonly used method for printing items like T-shirts and posters.

How do Screen Printing Process Works?

Screen printing is a way of printing where a woven cloth fabric is used as a screen. The inks get transferred from the screen to the garment. To create the screen, there is a mesh material used with solid color paint. When the paint dries, it becomes to our liking. The painted screen is then covered with a release paper. 

The next stage is where the artist creates a shirt design in a vector format. This file is opened in a photo program. A suitable size of the image is cut and adjusted to fit over the screen. Once the image is intact on the screen, the artist starts printing.

Importance of Screen Printing Technique

There are many different methods of printing a logo or image onto a garment, and one of the most popular is called screen printing. This technique is very much in vogue right now, and for good reason; it is a durable and effective way to print images and colors on clothing.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Screen Printing?

Pros

Economically Beneficial

This technique of printing is beneficial economically. It can be cost effective method and beneficial for those who have tight budget. It’s set up cost is lesser than sublimating technique.

Can Print on any material type

As sublimation technique can only print on limited type of materials. As cotton fabric can’t be sublimated. But this screen method of printing can be done on cotton.

Cons

It  is/can be labor intensive.

Like many other traditional manufacturing processes, screen printing requires a lot of manpower to get the job done. From preparing the ink and screens, to shooting and burning, and finally printing, a lot of hands are required. You’ll probably find it difficult to work this process into your small manufacturing run since screen printing requires so many people.

It is/can be environmentally unfriendly.

Ink screen printing is a highly solvent-based process, which means it puts harmful chemicals into the air and soil. This has resulted in banned solvents. This can obviously be a disadvantage if you’re looking to scale fast or you have a conscience about the environment.

The printing process is inconsistent.

This is arguably the biggest disadvantage to screen printing. Because it’s a hand-driven process, variations in speed, technique, and skill mean your end results will often be inconsistent. While this can be a disadvantage from a customer satisfaction point of view.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Sublimation Technique?

Pros

  • Sublimation printing is a great technique used in the manufacturing of harsh environment products. Like ski gloves, hiking boots, ski jackets and backpacks.
  • It is also used in the production of stationary, apparel items, flags and banners, as well as on some musical instruments.
  • It is a print/paint/print process where the dyes  (usually carbon-based) are transferred from paper or cloth print sample onto a substrate (like fabrics, plastics, aluminium and wood). The colour pigments penetrate through the top surface of the material, and gets bonded to its base. 

Cons

  • This method is bit costlier in setting up and printing. Its machinery is a little bit expensive.
  • It cannot print on dark color fabric such as black t-shirts.
  • The sublimation printing process does involve rubbing, heat, tape or pressure.
  • The material it can print on are also limited. Such as, it can not print on cotton.

Final Verdicts

If you need to buy an expensive device for your printing needs then, you must go with Sublimation method. This method can be helpful for starting a sublimation business at bigger level.

On the other hand, screen printing method is recommended for those who have tight budget. This technique has lesser starting and setting cost.

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