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Light Vs. Dark; In Pricing T-Shirts, It Makes A Difference

When screen printing t-shirts, a surprisingly important factor in determining price is the color of your textile. Choosing a white shirt will result in considerable savings in your printing costs. There are a number of reasons why this is the case, from initial shirt pricing to factors in the printing process. T-shirts are usually priced in two categories, “Whites” and “Darks”. White t shirts are always the least expensive shirt when compared to a colored t-shirt of the same brand and type. For no other reason than shirt price alone, whites contribute to a lower overall printing cost.

There are also price advantages in the printing process itself when using white t-shirts instead of dark. When printing on dark shirts, many inks need to have more than one layer laid down in order to completely cover the shirt. In order to keep the layers from smearing, the first layer will be partially dried under a heating element in a process called “flashing”. Having to flash colors in a print run adds considerable time to how long a shirt is on the press and incurs an additional charge. Most colors on white shirts can go on in one layer and rarely have to be flashed.

A similar factor that affects price on a dark shirt is the requirement for a white underbase. Light hues and bright ink colors will not print well, if at all, on a dark shirt regardless of how many layers are put down. To overcome this, a white layer of ink in the same shape as the colored layer is printed first and then flashed to dry it. Then the final color of ink is laid down on top of the white. Not only does this have the flashing charge as described above, but also there is now an additional ink color, namely white, which further raises the price. While beautiful and striking work can be done with screen printing images on dark shirts (as well as white), if economy is a major factor for your project, you would be better served to create a design geared for white shirts.


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