How to Print on Technical Fabrics

In recent years, promotional textiles have been invaded by extremely technical materials that both serigraphs and embroiderers and other decorators have had to adapt. Fortunately, the marking processes have evolved, providing solutions such as transfer, sublimation and, more recently, direct digital printing on polyester (even dark polyester). We offer you a list of the most delicate materials to customize along with a classification of the most appropriate techniques for each of them.

Printing on Different Types of Fabrics

Polyester

It is the most produced synthetic fiber in the world and the main material for the manufacture of sporting goods. Why? Because, in addition to being non-wrinkle, it dries quickly and is breathable, a characteristic that makes it ideal for sports. Nowadays, almost all brands of promotional textiles offer in their ranges T-shirts made of 100% polyester. Most manufacturers further enhance the properties of this fabric through technologies developed in their own laboratories (CoolDry for Promodoro, Cool Fit for Slazenger, Cool Comfort for Kariban Sport, Cool Max for James & Nicholson, etc.).

Digital Transfer**
Screen Transfer**
Sublimation*****
Embroidery*
Serigraphy**
Direct Digital Printing**

Coatings

It is a proven fact, promotional textiles are no longer limited to t-shirts and sweatshirts. For some years there has been a proliferation of highly technical jackets that star in the collections. As in the retail market, brands develop numerous models that guarantee high performance, such as Softshell jackets, to meet all requirements in terms of comfort and protection. Another example: parkas, multifunction or not, that benefit from multiple finishes (especially coatings) capable of increasing their resistance to weather conditions, making them water repellent, waterproof, stain resistant and even more insulating.

Digital Transfer****
Screen Transfer****
Sublimation
Embroidery**
Serigraphy*

Elastane

Widely used in the field of sport thanks to its elasticity that guarantees comfort and great freedom of movement, elastane is also used in ready-to-wear, since it is also capable of satisfying purely aesthetic demands. The great success of this matter lies mainly in the fashion of wearing tight clothes, especially women’s t-shirts. Often mixed with cotton, elastane allows, for example, to offer very flattering models that enhance the silhouette of women. Also known as Spandex (in Anglo-Saxon countries) or Lycra (registered trademark of Dupont), this synthetic fiber is considered today as one of the main raw materials of the textile industry.

Digital Transfer****
Screen Transfer ***
Sublimation  –
Embroidery  *
Serigraphy****

Nylon

The main characteristic of nylon, synthetic textile fiber belonging to the family of polyamides, is its low absorbent power, which makes it a fast drying waterproof material. Prêt-à-porter brands usually use it to make a large number of garments, such as swimsuits.

Manufacturers of promotional garments also use nylon for a very precise segment: that of windproof jackets. It is a reference garment that we find in any promotional collection, both for men and women or children.

Digital Transfer****
Screen Transfer***
Sublimation
Embroidery*
Serigraphy****

Legend

Unsuitable technique for support*
Possible technique**
Recommended technique***
Perfectly adequate technique****
Inadequate technique for this support
  • Article courtesy of
  • Marking & Textile Magazine
  • Nº33 July / August 2009

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