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Screen Printing vs Embroidery

When you’re designing custom clothing there are actually several approaches you can take. Two of the most common methods are screen printing and embroidery. But which technique is right for you?

Drew McCoy
Drew McCoy
Chief of T-Shirt Express, screen printing expert

Screen printing and embroidery are two different processes that result in very unique clothing styles. If you’re having trouble deciding which technique is best for your project, you are in the right place. We are t-shirt experts after all! And as experts, we’re going to help you decide which of the two processes are best for your wants and needs.

We’ll start by giving you a rundown of the differences between screen printing and embroidery, followed by their different pros and cons. And by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly which of the two best suits your project.

What Are The Differences Between Screen Printing and Embroidery?

When differentiating embroidery and screen printing, there are four main things to look at: The process itself, the kind of material or items that can be printed or embroidered on, the cost, and the longevity or durability of the product.

Process

The screen printing process is very simple. You stencil a design on a mesh screen, place the item you want to customize under it, and press the ink onto the item using a squeegee. Embroidery is a little bit more complex. It requires sewing a thread into the item you want the logo or design to be on.

Both embroidery and screen printing can be done by hand. But in making larger batches most companies will rely on an embroidery machine to get as many custom designs out as fast as possible. Screen printing is done by hand entirely no matter how many items are being printed.

Material

Both screen printing and embroidery are great for fabrics and apparel. But with screen printing, you aren’t just bound to fabrics like embroidery is. You can screen print on tons of different items, including tote bags, mugs, pens, signs, posters, and so much more!

Screen printing is a very versatile technique. You can even use different types of ink to get different effects. There’s plastisol, which is the most commonly used ink. It is especially great on darker fabrics. You can also use water-based inks for more delicate garments, discharge inks for a vintage feel, and even foil if you want something flashy and metallic. There is far more variety for you to choose from.

Cost

In general, screen printing is known to be the most affordable way to customize items, especially when they’re done in bulk. Because the cost is lower, you can get more dynamic and detailed designs printed onto your items for even less. The more items you customize the better the price.

Embroidery is obviously more expensive, and the more detailed the design is, the more expensive it’ll be. The great thing about embroidery, however, is that you can customize as few as one to three pieces. With screen printing, most companies will need at least 12 items to start the process.

Longevity

Among all the other shirt printing techniques, screen printing gives you the best quality and durability. The colors are more vibrant and the ink doesn’t fade away immediately. That’s why it’s considered the best printing technique.

However, embroidery is definitely more durable since you are sewing the design directly into the fabric. Embroidered logos won’t fade away no matter how many times you wash them, and they don’t get snagged that easy either.

Is Screen Printing or Embroidery Better For Clothing?

Embroidery is great for giving your clothing a very classy and elegant feel. This is why embroidery is usually used for more professional attire or fancier clothing, while screen printing is usually used in more casual events.

Sure, you can still use embroidery for casual events. Just know if you’re planning to embroider logos that they can’t be replicated perfectly. Embroidered logos may lose some shading and small texts become very difficult to read due to the stitching.

If your logo is very simple and it doesn’t have many elements to it, embroidery is fine. But if your logo is quite detailed, has plenty of colors, shading, and texts, you can get a really clean and exact copy of it using screen printing.

Another thing to consider is the type of clothing you’re printing on. You can screen print on a lot of different fabrics and pieces of clothing, such as t-shirts, polo shirts, hoodies, hats, and so on. With embroidery, though, your options are more limited to thick garments.

Screen Printing vs Embroidery - Final Thoughts

Both screen printing and embroidery have their pros and cons. They’re both great techniques and your decision really just boils down to your budget, how many items you plan to customize, the fabric or item you plan to customize, and what occasion you’re using it for.

The honest reality is that there is no better option when it comes to customizing clothing than screen printing. It’s more versatile, cost-effective, and durable. What more could you ask for?

If you specifically want the look that stitching a logo into something provides - such as on a baseball cap or jersey - then choose embroidery. When it comes to any other type of clothes, like t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc., a screen-printed design wins!

Are You Looking For Screen Printing Services?

If you’re looking for custom screen printed t-shirts in bulk, look no further than T-Shirt Express Ohio!

We are hands down the best screen printing service online. Want to know why? We guarantee that each shirt we print will come out looking just as great as the last one, no matter how many garments you ask us to customize.

We’ve supplied custom shirts to thousands of companies, schools, churches, and private events. We’re very confident that we can provide you with the best screen-printed t-shirts, hoodies, or any other type of clothing you need.

If you’ve worked with another printing service before, you know how complex custom printing can be. Our goal is to make the process for you completely painless and easy.

With our excellent customer service, you don’t have to stress about getting your custom shirts done. All you have to do is give us a call, tell us what you want, and we’ll do our best to make your vision come true—it’s that easy. Give us a call today or visit our shop and let’s see what we can do to make your t-shirt dreams come true!

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Written by

Drew McCoy

Head honcho at T-Shirt Express Ohio. 12 years in the screen printing industry. Over-thinker.