At Coyote T-Shirts we use the latest printing technology called Digital Direct-To-Garment Printing.
This technology is literally as the name describes. Think of your desktop printer. It has four printing heads with four ink colours that, when combined, will print any colour imaginable. Now, imagine that printer in an industrial size large enough to feed a t-shirt through it. This is our printer. It applies ink directly to the t-shirt in the same way your desktop printer applies ink to paper. Once the ink is applied, we then heat the ink causing it to bond with the fibres in the shirt. This step is essential in creating a design that will outlast the life of the t-shirt because the ink no longer sits on top of the t-shirt. It becomes one with the fabric.
There are other printing techniques that have been around for a very long time; two of them I’m sure you’re very familiar with. They are Silk Screen Printing and Heat Transfer. Our printing technique differs from the each of these techniques in significant ways which I will describe here.
The Heat Transfer technique uses a digital printer to print the image onto a sheet of heat transfer paper, which is then laid onto the t-shirt and transferred using a large flat-bed press that emits pressure and high heat to essentially ‘melt’ the image onto the fabric.While we also use heat to set our image, our technique differs from this technique in a significant way. We do not print to paper first, we print directly to the garment. This key difference is why our ink sinks into the fabric and bonds with the fibres – it does not sit on top. This ensures that our prints will never chip or peel over time.
Silk Screen Printing
In this printing process, an actual screen (similar to the screen on your door, but with much finer holes) is made by stretching silk over a frame. The ‘negative shape’ around the image is set into the screen using an emulsion resist so that the ink will pass through the screen only in the areas that will make the image. A separate screen is created for each colour in the design. Each screen is laid one by one on the t-shirt and the ink is pulled across the screen by hand for each shirt. This process is labour intensive, messy and limits the kind of images you can print to the those that can be printed with flat graphic shapes and minimal gradation of colour. Photographic images do not print well with this technique. Customization or personalization of each t-shirt is also prohibitive with Silk Screen Printing due to the fact that one screen per colour is used for all t-shirts in a print run. With Silk Screen Printing there are minimum quantities and set-up fees required due to all of the labour involved in making the screens. What makes our technique different from Silk Screening is again, our ink prints directly to the t-shirt with virtually no mess. We lay our t-shirt on the platen (flat bed that feeds into the printer), it goes into the printer and comes out again with the ink printed onto it. We are able to print photographic images with the same quality as printing on paper. Digital printing also allows us to fully customize each t-shirt, order single t-shirts (or any quantity) without set-up fees. One other fabulous benefit of Digital Printing is the speed. As opposed to Silk Screen Printing, we can have the t-shirt printed and ready to pick up or deliver in 24 hours or possibly sooner. (Conditions apply.)
Come in and see us! We’ll show you some of the great things you can do. We’re located at 5534 1A Street SW, Calgary, AB T2H 0E7.