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Exploring the Variety of Printing Styles at TPM: Screen Printing, DTF, and Embroidery

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

When it comes to customising garments, TPM (T-shirt Printing Manchester) offers a range of printing styles to cater to diverse customer preferences. Each printing technique has its own unique characteristics, advantages, and considerations. In this blog, we will delve into the three main printing styles provided by TPM: screen printing, direct-to-film (DTF), and embroidery. We will explore their features, cost considerations, and finish quality to help you make an informed decision for your printing needs.

Screen printing a T-shirt with a manual press
Screen printing onto a T-shirt

Screen Printing

Screen printing is a widely used technique known for its versatility and affordability, especially for bulk orders. It involves creating a stencil (or screen) for each colour in the design and then transferring the ink onto the garment through the screen. Here are some key points to consider:


Screen printing is the most cost-effective for larger orders due to economies of scale. However, it does require a setup fee, making it less suitable for smaller quantities. The setup fee covers the creation of screens and the preparation process.

Colour Limitation

Screen printing is ideal for designs with fewer colours, typically up to four. As the number of colours increases, the complexity of the printing process and the associated costs rise accordingly.

- Finish Quality: Screen printing offers a smooth and durable finish with vibrant colours. The ink becomes one with the fabric, resulting in a soft feel on the garment.

A finished shirt using DTF printing
DTF Printing

Direct-to-Film (DTF)

DTF printing has gained popularity in recent years due to its ability to produce high-quality multi-coloured designs at an affordable price point. This technique involves printing the design onto a special film and then transferring it directly onto the garment. Here's what you need to know:


DTF printing is often the most cost-effective option for a majority of orders. It eliminates the need for setup fees, making it suitable for both small and large quantities.

Colour Variety

DTF printing excels in multi-coloured designs, as it can reproduce intricate details and gradients accurately.

Finish Quality

DTF printing provides a vibrant and long-lasting finish, similar to screen printing. The design sits on top of the fabric, creating a slightly raised texture.

Embroidery machine for T-shirt embroidery
Our 12 head Embroidery machine


Embroidery is a premium printing style that adds a touch of sophistication and elegance to garments. It involves stitching the design onto the fabric using specialised embroidery machines. Consider the following aspects:


Embroidery is generally more expensive than screen printing or DTF due to the complexity of the process and the time required for stitching.

Design Limitations:

Embroidery is best suited for simpler designs and logos. Intricate details and small text might not translate well into embroidery.

Finish Quality

Embroidery offers a high-quality finish with a professional and three-dimensional appearance. The design is raised from the fabric, providing a textured feel.

Screen printing inks
Screen printing inks

At TPM, we understand the importance of offering diverse printing styles to cater to the varying needs and preferences of our customers. Screen printing is an affordable choice for bulk orders with designs featuring up to four colours. DTF printing offers a cost-effective solution for multi-coloured designs of any quantity. Embroidery, though a premium option, provides a luxurious finish that enhances the look and feel of the garment.

Consider your budget, design complexity, and desired finish when choosing the printing style that best suits your requirements. Feel free to consult our experts at TPM to guide you through the selection process and ensure your custom garments are a perfect reflection of your vision.

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