fabric printing types

Fabric Printing Types With Picture | Techniques And Its Uses

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Fabric printing can be done in various ways, each with its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks. From sublimation to digital printing, there are many types of fabric printing that each offer their own unique advantages.

In this post, we take a look at the fascinating world of fabric printing types and the different ways it can be done. No matter if you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, we want to help you understand the different methods, uses, and advances in fabric printing.

different types of textile printing

Textile printing has evolved over the years, from traditional methods such as screen printing, block printing and discharge printing, to more modern digital methods.

Screen printing is an age-old technique that involves pressing ink through a mesh screen onto fabric, creating a bold and vibrant image.

Block printing is a more intricate process, requiring the use of carved blocks to stamp the desired design onto the fabric. Discharge printing uses a bleaching agent to remove color from the fabric and create a unique design.

Screen Printing

Screen Printing type
  • Stepping away from traditional methods, screen printing is a popular modern printing technique. This method involves using a mesh-covered frame to make a stencil of the desired design.
  • Ink is then applied to the frame and pushed through the mesh openings with a squeegee, transferring the image onto the fabric. The frame is then moved to the next area of the fabric, allowing for a continuous printing process.
  • Screen printing is perfect for printing bright, vibrant colors onto fabrics as the ink is thick and covers the entire material. It is also able to produce a large number of prints quickly, making it ideal for large-scale projects.
  • Additionally, this process is great for printing designs with fine details as the stencil does not allow for any ink to bleed outside of the image.
  • The process of screen printing is relatively simple and cost-effective, making it an ideal choice for those looking for a high-impact finish on their fabrics. It is often used for t-shirts, posters, and other items that require a bold, eye-catching look.

Block Printing

Block Printing type
  • Drawing attention to the ancient art of block printing, this section will discuss the traditional way of printing fabric with blocks.
  • Block printing is an age-old printing technique where intricate patterns and motifs are printed onto fabric. This method of printing involves the use of carved wooden blocks, which are hand-carved to create various patterns.
  • The blocks are first dipped in dye or other colorants and then they are stamped onto fabric. This process is repeated until the desired pattern is achieved.
  • Block printing is a labor-intensive process that requires meticulous attention to detail. The designs are carved into the blocks by skilled artisans who carefully craft each block with the utmost skill and precision.
  • The blocks are made of either wood or metal, and the designs carved into them can range from intricate to simple. The blocks also vary in size, making them suitable for printing onto various types of fabric, such as cotton, silk, and linen.
  • Block printing is particularly popular in India and other parts of Asia, where the art form has been practiced for centuries.
  • The intricate and vivid designs created through block printing bring a unique and eye-catching look to any fabric, making it a favorite among fashion designers.
  • The traditional methods used to create these designs, combined with the vibrantly colored dyes, create a truly stunning look that is sure to be admired by all.

Discharge Printing

Discharge Printing
  • Moving on from discussing different printing techniques, we come to Discharge Printing. Discharge printing is a unique type of printing that involves the use of specific chemicals to remove the dye from a garment.
  • It is a combination of bleaching and printing and is one of the most popular techniques used to print on darker fabrics.
  • This technique involves using a paste or chemical that bleaches away the dye from the fabric leaving behind the print in the original color.
  • The process of Discharge printing is quite complex and requires a lot of skill to do it correctly. The prints are usually made with two different colors – one for the background and one for the foreground.
  • The paste or chemical is mixed with water and then applied to the fabric. Once the fabric is completely dry, the paste is removed and the dye that was in the fabric gets removed, leaving behind the print.
  • Due to its complex nature and the use of chemicals, Discharge printing is not recommended for those who are new to printing.
  • It requires a lot of experience and knowledge in order to do it right and the results can be unpredictable. However, if done properly, discharge printing can create a unique and eye-catching design on any type of fabric.

Fabric Printing Methods

Fabric printing methods offer a variety of options, each with its own unique features. Screen printing utilizes stencils and a mesh screen to apply paint directly onto the fabric,

while digital direct-to-garment printing uses a digital printer to directly apply ink to the fabric. Sublimation printing relies on heat to infuse the fabric with vibrant colors and detailed designs.

Screen Printing

  • Moving on from the multitude of different types of textile printing, let us delve into one of the most popular printing methods of fabrics, which is Screen Printing.
  • It is a method of printing that involves a stencil and a mesh screen. This method is useful for printing designs onto t-shirts, bags, and other fabric products.
  • Screen Printing begins with the creation of a stencil, which is a block of material that holds an image of the design which needs to be printed.
  • It is then placed on the mesh screen which is a fine net made of polyester, and is tightly stretched over a frame.
  • A small amount of ink is then applied to the screen, and a squeegee is moved across the screen, forcing the ink through the mesh openings. The ink is then transferred onto the fabric.
  • Screen Printing is a cost-effective method due to the fact that the same screen can be used to print the same design multiple times.
  • The ink used for Screen Printing is also quite opaque and vibrant, making it perfect for printing graphics and text onto fabric. Furthermore, this method is suitable for printing on a variety of fabrics, such as cotton, silk, and even nylon.

Digital Direct-to-Garment Printing

  • Moving on from the various types of textile printing, Digital Direct-to-Garment Printing, also known as DTG printing, is a more modern and popular method of fabric printing.
  • This method of fabric printing is suited for short-run printing, as it is a faster and more cost-effective way of creating prints on textiles.
  • The Digital Direct-to-Garment Printing process involves several steps. Firstly, the design is printed onto the fabric using a specialized printer that uses advanced inkjet technology.
  • The printed design is then heat-pressed onto the fabric, ensuring that the colors are vibrant and the design is long-lasting.
  • This method of fabric printing is ideal for designs with a high level of detail and color, as the colors are more accurately and vividly reproduced on the fabric.
  • Digital Direct-to-Garment Printing is suitable for a variety of fabrics, including cotton, polyester, and other poly-blend materials.
  • As it is a digital process, it can be used to create any type of custom design, from simple, single color designs to complex, multi-colored prints.
  • With its quick turnaround time, this method of fabric printing is perfect for creating personalized and customized garments for special occasions and events.

Sublimation Printing

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  • Transitioning from the world of textile printing, Fabric Printing Methods are the next step in customizing fabric with patterns, shapes, and logos.
  • One of the most popular methods is Sublimation Printing, which is a process that uses heat to transfer dye onto fabric.
  • Sublimation Printing works by printing images with sublimation ink onto a sheet of sublimation paper. The paper is then placed face-down onto the fabric and inserted into a heat press or sublimation printer.
  • Heat and pressure activate the sublimation process and the ink transfers from the paper to the fabric. Colors are vibrant and the fabric remains soft after the printing process.
  • Sublimation Printing is ideal for polyester and polyester-blend fabrics, but can also be used on other fabrics such as cotton, lycra, and spandex.
  • The print is permanent and will never fade, peel or crack, making it an ideal choice for a variety of applications, including sports apparel, accessories, home décor, and promotional items.

Heat Transfer Printing

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  • Moving away from direct-to-garment printing and sublimation printing, heat transfer printing is a popular fabric printing method that can create dynamic visuals with bright, vibrant colors.
  • This method requires a heat press, inkjet printer, and transfer paper. In the heat transfer process, an image is printed onto the transfer paper using an inkjet printer.
  • The transfer paper is then placed onto the fabric and pressed with a heat press machine, which heats up to a specific temperature.
  • The heat helps to transfer the ink from the paper onto the fabric, and the temperature and pressure used in the process will determine the vibrancy of the colors.
  • The great thing about the heat transfer process is the ability to print on a variety of fabrics. This method is perfect for those looking to print on t-shirts, tote bags, and other items with a flat surface.
  • Heat transfer printing is a great option for those looking to customize fabric items and create unique visuals with a variety of colors. The process is easy, efficient, and cost-effective as it requires minimal time, effort, and materials.

block printing in the textile

Block printing is a traditional art that is still used in textiles today. From selecting the right fabric to designing the blocks, the process of block printing requires careful consideration of several techniques.

The first step is to choose a fabric that is suitable for block printing, as certain fabrics can be too thick or too thin for the best results.

Then, the design must be transferred onto the block, which can be done using various methods such as tracing or using carbon paper. Finally, the fabric is ready for the printing process to begin.

Block Printing Techniques

  • Now, let’s take a look at a more traditional process of printing on fabric: block printing. Block printing is a technique that has been used for centuries to create patterns on fabric.
  • This type of printing requires the use of a carved block of wood or other material that is inked and then stamped onto the fabric.
  • The block is carved with the desired design, and the fabric is placed over the block and then the block is pressed onto the fabric, transferring the design onto the fabric.
  • There are several techniques that can be used to create block prints. Hand-block printing involves the use of a wooden block, which is carved with the desired design and then painted with dye or paint.
  • The fabric is placed over the block and the block is then pressed onto the fabric, transferring the design onto the fabric. Screen printing is a more modern version of block printing, where a screen is used instead of a block.
  • The screen is coated with a light-sensitive emulsion, the design is burned onto the screen and then the screen is used to transfer the design onto the fabric.
  • For both hand-block printing and screen printing, it is important to select the right type of fabric for the project. The fabric chosen should be suitable for the printing technique being used, as well as the type of design being printed.
  • Natural fabrics such as cotton and linen are best for block printing, as they are more absorbent and easier to print on. Synthetic fabrics are more difficult to print on and should be avoided if possible.

Fabric Selection for Block Printing

  • Moving from digital printing to block printing in textiles, fabric selection is of utmost importance. The quality of the finished product depends on the selection of fabric for block printing.
  • There are a few essential considerations when choosing fabric for block printing. First, the fabric should be tightly woven in order to be able to hold the paint or dye properly without seeping into the fabric.
  • Loosely woven fabric is not suitable for block printing as the paint may easily soak into the fabric and cause the design to look uneven. Secondly, the fabric should be soft, smooth, and absorbent.
  • This will enable the paint to easily be transferred to the fabric and the design to turn out crisp and clear. Thirdly, the fabric should be lightweight and durable.
  • This will allow the fabric to retain its shape and texture even after the dye has been applied.
  • Finally, the fabric should be pre-washed and dried before printing. This will help to prevent any shrinkage later on.
  • When selecting fabric for block printing, one should consider these important factors to ensure the highest quality of the finished product.

Design Transfer Techniques

  • Transitioning from digital printing techniques to the timeless art of block printing, one must be familiar with the process of placing a design on a block before it can be transferred to fabric.
  • Design transfer techniques play a crucial role in block printing, as it ensures that the desired pattern is transferred accurately and with precision.
  • The design transfer process starts with choosing the right medium. For designs to be transferred effectively, a medium that can be easily cut and shaped is preferred.
  • Some of the most popular materials used for design transfer include paper, wood, and linoleum. Once the material is chosen, the next step is transferring the design onto the medium.
  • This can be done by hand drawing, tracing, or using a photographic transfer method.
  • Finally, the design is cut, engraved, or pressed onto the block. Depending on the type of material used, the design may be etched, carved, or stamped onto the medium.
  • This method of design transfer is especially useful for intricate designs as it allows for greater accuracy in transferring the pattern onto the fabric.

screen printing techniques on fabric

To begin, the fabric must be prepped with a special emulsion coating, exposing the design onto the surface and curing it in place. Next, the fabric is carefully inked, often using a squeegee to spread the pigment across the surface.

Finally, the inked fabric must be passed through a dryer to set the pigment.


  • Preparation is the first step in the process. It begins with the decision of what kind of fabric to use. Cotton, silk, linen, and polyester are some of the most commonly used substrates for screen printing.
  • Once the fabric is chosen, the printer must select the right type of screen. They must consider the type of fabric and the desired outcome of the design.
  • The printer should also decide on the right kind of ink. Water-based inks are the most popular option among screen printers. They are easy to clean up and provide a vibrant range of colors.
  • The printer should also consider the type of design they’re printing, as the inks will react differently depending on the complexity of the design.
  • Before screen printing, the fabric needs to be pre-treated. This involves washing it to remove any debris and allow the ink to adhere better to the fabric.
  • The fabric must then be dried and stretched on a frame to ensure that the image is printed evenly. The printer should also consider the color of the fabric when choosing the ink color in order to achieve the best results.


  • Screen printing techniques on fabric offer a unique way to add an individual touch to any piece of clothing. Exposing is a crucial part of the process that requires careful attention and precision.
  • To begin, the screen must be tightly stretched across the frame and secured in place. The artwork is then placed onto the screen, and a light-sensitive emulsion is applied to the mesh.
  • With the use of a light source, the artwork is then exposed to the mesh. This process hardens the emulsion and uncovers the mesh so that the ink can travel through the artwork onto the fabric. This process is repeated for each color of the design.
  • When the artwork is placed onto the screen, the printer must ensure that all pieces of the artwork are properly aligned and secure. If there are any gaps or overlaps, the design will not print properly and will be unusable.
  • Additionally, an even amount of pressure must be exerted on the screen while exposing, so that the artwork is clear and all lines are crisp.
  • To create a high-quality print, the printer must be mindful of the amount of time the artwork is exposed to the light source. If the artwork remains exposed too long, it will create a blurry image.
  • It is important to have the light source at the correct distance and at the correct angle to the screen. Exposing the artwork onto the screen is a delicate process that requires the right amount of time and pressure.
  • When the right technique is used, the design will be clear and crisp and the artwork will be ready for the next step in the printing process.


  • The inking process of screen printing is just as important as the rest of the process, as it is the stage when the design is transferred to the fabric. After the screen is exposed, it is placed on the press and carefully lined up with the print area.
  • Once the screen is properly placed, the fabric is placed in the press and the ink is spread onto the screen. The ink is pushed through the mesh of the screen with a squeegee and onto the fabric.
  • The amount of pressure and the direction of the squeegee play a critical role in the outcome, as too much pressure can cause the ink to be pushed into the fabric and create an undesirable effect.
  • Additionally, the squeegee should always be pulled in the same direction as the screen to ensure a smooth, uniform finish with consistent coverage.

types of printing machines in textile

A plethora of technologies are available in the textile printing industry, from rotary screen printing machines to flatbed screen printing machines to digital textile printing machines.

Rotary Screen Printing Machines

Rotary Screen Printing Machine
  • Rotary screen printing machines are equipped with an array of features that set them apart from other machines. The most prominent of these features is the ability to produce high-quality prints in a fraction of the time that other machines may require.
  • Rotary screen printing machines also come with a number of safety features such as sensors, emergency buttons, and guards, to ensure that the machine is operated safely.
  • Furthermore, these machines have adjustable speeds and tension settings, allowing operators to make precise adjustments to the printing process. This increases the accuracy of the printing process, resulting in superb-quality prints.

Flat Bed Screen Printing Machines

Flat Bed Screen Printing Machine
  • Flat bed screen printing machines are the most common type of machines used in the textile industry. This type of machine is ideal for printing on textiles that are mostly flat and has a wide surface such as sheets, towels, flags, and banners.
  • The machines are quite easy to use, and their adjustable settings allow the operators to choose the right printing speed. The speed of the machine can be adjusted depending on the size of the surface area, the fabric type, and the desired results.
  • The machines also come with adjustable ink flow and pressure settings, so the operators can customize the printing process to get the desired results.
  • Flat bed screen printing machines use a combination of ink, pressure, and heat to transfer the ink onto the fabric. The machines can be loaded with a variety of inks for different printing requirements.
  • The inks used for flatbed screen printing are usually light-fast and have good adhesion properties, making them very suitable for printing on fabrics.
  • The machines also come with a digital control panel, which allows the operators to keep track of their printing process and make any adjustments if needed.
  • With their adjustable settings and digital controls, flatbed screen printing machines are an ideal choice for textile printing operations. They are reliable, efficient and can produce high-quality prints on a wide range of fabric types.

Digital Textile Printing Machines

Digital Textile Printing Machine
  • Digital textile printing machines utilize digital printing technology to produce prints on fabrics and offer many advantages.
  • One advantage of digital textile printing machines is their ability to print intricate designs with high accuracy, making them ideal for small-run orders.
  • Digital prints are also vibrant and colorfast, meaning they will stay bright and vivid even after being washed multiple times.
  • Additionally, digital printing is far more cost-effective than traditional printing, allowing for shorter turnaround times and lower per-piece costs.
  • Digital textile printing machines are also more environmentally friendly than traditional printing methods.
  • Digital printing does not require the use of toxic chemicals or water for cleaning and therefore has a smaller environmental impact.
  • The digital printing process also produces less waste, as there is no need for extra paper or fabric to be used for test printing or color matching.

how to print on fabric by hand

To achieve the best results, careful preparation and selection of fabric is essential. Different fabrics require different techniques and tools,

so it is important to choose the right fabric for the desired outcome. Next, a drawing or design must be made to be transferred onto the fabric. This can be done with various methods, including tracing, painting, and printing.


  • Welcoming the world of hand printing, the first step is proper preparation. To make the process of hand printing easier and less complicated, gathering the necessary materials is essential.
  • It is essential to have a colored fabric of your choice ready on a flat surface, such as a long table. Additionally, a smooth board is also necessary to use as a printing block.
  • It is recommended to select a board that is light in weight and can be easily handled. The dimensions of the board should be slightly larger than the fabric.
  • A printing roller is also necessary, and it should fit comfortably in the hand. Furthermore, the roller should have a hard rubber covering to create the desired printing pattern.
  • Lastly, a printing block should be selected to create the design on the fabric. This block should be made of material that is easy to carve, such as rubber or wood. Gathering all the materials and tools in one place will make the process of hand printing easier and more organized.

Fabric Selection

  • Having explored the variety of printing machines available to textile workers, let us now turn to the traditional art of hand-printing on fabrics.
  • Before beginning, it is important to prepare the workspace and the materials to be used. Fabric selection is a key step that can determine the success of the project.
  • When it comes to fabric selection, the most important factor is the type of fabric that is being used. Depending on the desired effect, certain fabrics may be better suited for the task at hand.
  • For example, if the goal is to create a piece of art or a unique print, cotton or linen is a great choice as it allows for great detail within the design.
  • On the other hand, if the purpose is to make a statement, a heavier fabric such as denim or canvas may be the best option. Furthermore, the type of fabric can also impact the level of saturation in the final product, as certain fabrics are more absorbent than others.
  • In addition to the type of fabric, the color of the fabric should also be taken into consideration. If the goal is to have a vivid and vibrant print, selecting a lighter color of fabric can make the print stand out more.
  • On the contrary, if a subtle effect is desired, a darker color of fabric can be used to provide more muted tones. Taking into account the desired outcome, selecting the right color of fabric can be the difference between a successful project and a failed one.


  • Transitioning from the various types of printing machines used in the textile industry, it is also possible to print on fabric by hand.
  • When it comes to the drawing and design aspect of printing on fabric by hand, there is an abundance of creative options to choose from.
  • A popular way to create the design is to freehand draw the desired pattern onto the fabric with a fabric pencil. This can be used to create intricate details, lines, and shapes that vary in width and length.
  • For larger designs, a stencil can be used to create a pattern on the fabric. This is perfect for repeatable, large-scale designs that need to be applied to multiple fabrics.
  • One of the most unique ways to create a design on fabric is to use a silk screen. This is a special technique that requires a few extra steps but is great for producing a design with a lot of detail or for creating multiple prints of the same design.
  • It involves the use of silkscreen, paint or ink, and a squeegee. Once the design is transferred onto the silkscreen, the squeegee is used to push the paint or ink through the screen and onto the fabric.

What are some of the different ways that fabrics are printed in the textile industry?

Screen printing, digital printing, block printing, heat transfer printing, and sublimation printing are all common ways to print on cloth.

How does screen printing work as a way to make prints on fabric?

Screen printing works by pushing ink through a stencil (called a “screen”) onto the cloth. This creates designs that are bright and last a long time.

Why is digital printing a popular way to design fabric?

Because digital printing puts the image straight from a computer file onto the fabric, it can be used to make designs with a lot of detail.

Block printing is often used as a way to print on fabric in what kinds of situations?

Block printing is a common way to make designs by hand on fabrics. It is often used to make traditional Indian fabrics like Ajrak and Batik.

What are some common fabric printing types used in sewing projects?

Common fabric printing types for sewing projects include screen printing, digital printing, block printing, and heat transfer printing.


The various types of fabric printing methods offer unlimited possibilities for creating unique and beautiful designs. From digital printing and block printing to screen printing and hand printing, there are a variety of techniques and machines available to bring your vision to life.

Whether you’re a professional designer or just starting out, these methods provide a range of options to create works of art with fabric. With fabric printing, you can turn any fabric into a stunning and personalized piece of art.

5 Fabric printing types – Be a Cloth Expert

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