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Best Printing Techniques for All-Over Printing


All-over printing can be achieved through several methods, today we’re going to explore two of the most popular: large scale screen and sublimation printing.

Screen PrintingLarge-Scale Screen Printing:

It works pretty much in the same way as the regular screen printing, the only difference being that it uses screens of considerable size, usually large enough to cover an entire men’s XL t-shirt. This process can be done by hand or with an industrial machine called belt screen printer. Screen printing works with any type of fabric.


  • It can be performed on any fabric
  • Great finish quality
  • Durable
  • It’s fast compared to other techniques


  • Price increases with every colour since each tone requires its own screen
  • It isn’t price effective for small orders
  • Not recommended for hyperrealistic or complex images

sublimationSublimation Printing

Is a complex printing process that involves a computer printer that works with polyester and polymer-coated substrates. First, the artwork is loaded onto high-quality transfer paper. Then a commercial heat press is used to transfer the design onto the t-shirt. The actual dye then becomes a gas without becoming a liquid (sublimates) which is transferred to the fabric and absorbed by the fibres. This means the dye is now actually part of the make-up of the fabric, which is why the t-shirt will wash well and not fade.


  • Very durable
  • Ability to replicate intricate designs in detail
  • Usually the production costs don’t change regardless if you order one or many garments
  • Sustainable method since it requires very little water


  • Only compatible with t-shirts that contain polyester
  • Expensive
  • The process is slow compared to other printing techniques

Important to keep in mind

As a new printing option, all-over printing has opened the doors to all kinds of new possibilities, but it is still on early stages of development and therefore not free of faults. The most important of them being that any crease or wrinkle the t-shirt might have during the printing process will mess up the print and leave an obvious white spot instead of color. The person conducting the procedure must be very careful and make sure the t-shirt is perfectly flat at the time of printing, otherwise the final product may end up looking like a white spotted dalmatian.


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!

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