Top 11 T-Shirt Printing Mistakes That Most Beginner Makes

A beginner will always be a beginner. The excitement of a first achievement may sometimes lead to a little carelessness.

This is no different in t-shirt printing where such mistakes are evident on the final product. Smudged images, no images you name it.

For others who may have got the technical part right, they forget that managing the business end is just as important as a good production line.

The printing mistakes you are most likely to make can be split in two:

  • Technical
  • Business-related

Common Technical Printing Mistakes

1. Learn The Skill First

Learn all the ‘how’s’ first before venturing into the business.

Screen printing is not something you will wake up and decide to do today. You need to acquire the skills including materials needed and how to operate equipment.

It is a process that may run into days or even a week depending on how fast a learner you are.

Take your time to understand the craft first then attempt it.

You can run into big losses experimenting on your own.

2. Cleaning Equipment

This is probably one of the most notorious flaws with first-timers. In all that excitement you forget to clean your tools and go on to your next project.

Remember you are dealing a lot with fabric ink and other substances that need thorough cleaning before being used for another project.

If not properly cleaned using the proper tools, there will often remain residue that will mix into your next print.

T-shirt printing can be a messy affair if the working environment is not kept clean at all times.

3. Do A Test Print Always

As a beginner, there is a lot to learn. Unfortunately learning through mistakes, in this case, will cost you money.

Many beginners feel confident of their newly acquired skills and will directly print onto the t-shirts before checking the quality and accuracy of the print.

This is a long process, especially for someone literally still taking instructions. The process involves using several materials and procedures. It is easy to miss one or get one wrong.

You need to check whether you have got it right before the actual print.

4. Quality Of Materials

Many people tend to compromise on the quality of materials used and blame the poor results on other factors.

It is important to seek appropriate advice on what materials are most suitable for the kind of work you want to do.

Poor quality inks, for example, will result in poor quality prints. They may fade quickly, smudge on the first wash, tint when exposed to heat among other possibilities.

Likewise, you do not expect heavy-duty functions from a simple machine. It will malfunction sooner or later by producing sub-standard images.

>> Always select good quality heat transfer vinyl for printing t shirt

5. Artwork Errors

Get it right from the design to the print. Mistakes you make when making the design will reflect in the final product.  Be it typographical or wrong color shades; it is exactly what will be printed.

Make sure your design has got the exact features you want to see on the final product. This includes size, resolution, and placement and so on.

>> Use right vinyl cutter for shirt making

6. Wrong Fabric Use

Screen printing involves the use of heat to cure the ink.

The material used should be able to withstand the recommended heat temperatures used to cure the paint or print.

Materials will often get burnt or scorched if they have inferior heat resistant properties.

Learn to look at the properties of materials used on the tags at the neck area which include temperatures that the material can be exposed to.

Materials of such nature are normally cheaper but are made for this purpose.

Always use the right material for the right job.

Common T-Shirt Printing Business Related Mistakes

1. Initial Over Investment

This is very common whereby a first-timer feels overconfident about the concept he has in mind and does not expect anything less than success.

Such a person would normally end up investing way more than necessary for a startup level business. This may include overstocking on materials, purchasing heavy duty equipment, employing excess staff.

You need to do a ‘dry run’ of your product before actually settling down to produce it in large quantities. It has got to be accepted first into the market before you go big.

Use basic equipment that will give good quality prints and learn the ropes of the trade first then invest in a proper line.

2. Listen To The Market

Many beginners do not understand that they are making a product to sell to others and not for themselves.

You cannot force designs and ideas down a consumer’s throat. You have to look around and see what people are trending in and look for a gap in the same.

Your creativeness and bunch of ideas have to fall into this space for you to make any returns. Your designs, quality, and prices must be accepted by your target audience.

Take your time and consult on the market to give the best product.

3. Make Advancements With The Time

The market is dynamic. That means it changes depending on various market forces that affect the kind of products moving at the time.

It does not matter if your t-shirts have been selling big for the last year or more.

If you notice a change in the market, you need to find the cause and adjust immediately, or else your product will slowly stop moving and have you back to the drawing board.

It may not necessarily be that your design or quality have been compromised. Other reasons may be causing the slump in sales like a new product in town in terms of design or material being used.

Find out what it is and lay strategies to counter the same. Don’t fight market dynamics as it may cost you your business.

4. Get Out And Market The Product

It does not matter how good the product is; you will have to let people know it exists. No one will come looking for you to sell them t-shirts.

You will have to go out and let people know that you have a new product that you think they will be interested in.

Let them know the strong points about your product and services. Why they should buy it over other similar products available in the market.

It is by going out there that you will be able to test the real strength of your t-shirt and its design.

It will help you learn the flaws of your product and help you study other products that are doing better than yours.

This is the only way you will build a strong brand that can withstand market tensions.

5. Do Not Overcommit Yourself

You generally know the capacity of your business. It would be fatal for you to knowingly commit to delivering a task that you know you are not capable of fulfilling.

It may be in terms of the number of orders you take at a time or taking one big order from one client that you cannot deliver.

Such situations cause panic and total disorientation leading to rushed processes and poor-quality products being produced. You may end up losing such orders in the end.

Only take up on orders that fall reasonably within your capability to produce. Allow for errors and time to rectify them without affecting the delivery of the product in the best shape and on time.


All these mistakes being mentioned are mistakes picked up from different experiences in the past. It is up to you to take note of them.

However, the dynamics are constantly changing and are even more important that you keep your eyes open for any flaws in your t-shirt printing operation and seek possible redress to the same.


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