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    How to print on a hoodie

    • Author:aungcrown
    • Source:Aung Crown
    • Release on:2021-01-13
    This versatile garment has a variety of possible print locations and can accommodate various print methods, but it does come with some restrictions and potential issues. Like so many other things, the rule of thumb is keep it simple. Better still, keep it classy. First let’s looks at the print areas, then get into the methods and issues:

    Hoodie print areas
    While hoodies offer all the print areas of a T-shirt and then some, there are some restrictions to be aware of. Below is a graphic showing the standard print locations along with a few common alternatives. Remember, this is a general guide. If you have any special requests or crazy ideas, we can most likely make it happen. Try us.

    Hoodie printing restrictions
    On zipper hoodies, printing across the front is a no-go. There are ways to do it but even if you get it right, there tends to be a gap or a globby ink deposit. No one wants that. The exception to this rule involves:

    • Artwork created with a gap in mind for the zipper and measured to be in the center (spaced out letters, for example).
    • Hoodie style with something called a “kissing zipper” which has two thin flaps of material that cover the metal.
    • A printer who uses a special platen with a small valley built into it for the zipper to sit in and avoid the ink deposit.

    On pullover hoodies, the restriction is a limited print height on the front, because of the pocket (if there is a pocket). Typically the maximum size will be 10″ high, but it will be less on smaller sized hoodies.

    The other restriction is if you are printing on the pocket, the print area is a lot smaller than it looks.

    Also, we cannot print animated GIFs. Yes, people have asked.

    You want what? On your what?
    Hoodie print methods
    Screen printing is the go-to method for most hoodie printing. This classic method is vibrant, durable, and pretty much everyone’s favorite. Another nice thing is you can print on dark fabrics no problem. And almost any type of fabric. The trade-off is that you pay per color, and set up charges can be high if you’re getting a small run. So keep the print simple.

    DTG or direct-to-garment is what to use when you’re doing a small run of hoodies, or need to have full color. The print quality is not quite as good as screen printing, and the colors aren’t quite as vibrant, but you can easily do a single piece with rainbows on it, which would be unaffordable using screen printing. Keep in mind you should go with 100% cotton for best results, and be careful about washing with hot water and strong detergents if you want it to last.

    Heat transfer is the method to use if you want some shiny metallic foil business, or when you have a full-color design but can’t afford to pay for all the ink colors, and can’t use DTG because you have an odd print location. Keep in mind it creates a thin plastic coating on the surface of the fabric, eliminating breathability, and will eventually crack and chip– if you’re too hard on it or wash it too many times. It’s essentially a pressed sticker.

    Dye-sublimation is the method for doing an “all-over print” (almost all over). This is also a good choice for doing a full-color print, like a magical space unicorn design. Everyone has one, right? Dye-sub is similar to a heat transfer but it involves a chemical reaction, skipping the liquid phase when heated, turning into gas that bonds to the fibers. It makes a durable, permanent, brilliant “soft hand” print. Keep in mind that it only works on polyester. So there’s that.

    Embroidery is the method to keep it classy or brand your hoodies for retail. Keep in mind that embroidery comes with backing on the opposite side of the fabric that can be bulky on thinner garments or slightly uncomfortable in areas of friction (like on the nips). So as always, keep your embroidery design small and simplified. The left chest is where a typical embroidered logo or design would go, but a couple of creative placement examples are the wrist or the edge of the hood.

    Pay Attention to Thickness
    If you want good results, you should alter your off-contact to twice what you'd typically do. These settings usually work very well for sweatshirts. As well, we recommend utilizing an effective pallet adhesive, as fleece is prone to moving around and this will ensure that the image doesn't shift or throw off your registration which will result in blurry prints. Also, you should think about the different features of hooded sweatshirts when you are designing the art for hoodies. For example, make sure that the design doesn't lie too far down on the sweatshirt. If it does, the pocket might be in the way.

    Other Things to Consider
    Hoodies are generally quite a bit thicker than t-shirts. A lot of people choose flashing in order to get good results and also keep a close eye on speed in order to minimize the risk of burning. You will also want to keep an eye on shrinkage when putting the hoodies through a conveyor dryer. A good tip is to lower the temperature and cure for a longer period of time or to use a fast curing underbase ink. Also, if the hoodie in question has a zip, you will need to create a jig which allows the zip to fit into place, so that there is a good sweep that is very clean. In addition, think about strings on hoodies. Make sure that they never get in the way. If you're using an underbase, you shouldn't need to flash before the drying process. Otherwise, you may need to.

    Are You Printing the Backs of Hoodies?
    If you're going to be printing the backs of hooded sweatshirts, you'll need to consider the fact that the hood may get in the way of the design while it's down! While some customers don't mind when a bit of the design is obscured, others prefer that the graphic be visible when the hood is down. For example, if you'll be printing numbers and names on the reverse of a hoodie, you may want to consider moving the design downwards, so that it's easy to see, whether the hoodie is up or down. You may always talk to the client beforehand and see what he or she wants. Just take this into considering and then choose the right orientation for your design.