Help Desk

Printing Processes

CafePress allows its Shopkeepers to choose which printing methods to offer with their designs, or allows the customers to pick which option best suits them. Direct Printing and Heat Transfer each have distinct benefits that you will want to consider. Please note: Sometimes, CafePress only offers one printing style on certain apparel items.

Direct Printing

With Direct Printing, we print direct-to-fabric with no transfers. The result is a matte image that moves with the garment because the ink is actually embedded in the fabric for ultimate wearable comfort. After a few washes, you will notice the great durability of Direct Printing. That means greater image staying power.

The benefits of Direct Printing Things to keep in mind with Direct Printing


Heat Transfer

Heat Transfer is as durable as screen-printing, but offers more detail. Heat Transfer uses heat to create a bond between the resin and the T-Shirt, locking the ink between the two layers. Heat Transfer has a slight plastic feel when first worn, however, this feel will diminish after washing.

The benefits of Heat Transfer Things to keep in mind with Heat Transfer


Comparison Chart

To help you choose the best printing technology to achieve the look you want on your garment, below is a side-by-side comparison chart showing the benefits of both Direct Printing and Heat Transfer.

Print Style Characteristics Direct Printing Heat Transfer
Washability Great Good
Color Accuracy Good Great
Feel Soft Transfer feel diminishes after washing
Image clarity and crispness Good Great
Ribbed Garments Recommended Images may crack on ribbed apparel
Images stretch and move with the fabric X  
Matte X  
Glossy   X
Photographs   X