5 Terms To Know When Making Custom T-Shirts

Creating custom shirts includes more than choosing the print and sticking it onto a garment; you may hear various terms as you bring your visions to life. Here are five terms to know when making custom T-shirts, whether you’re working with vinyl, iron-on designs, or other options.

5 Terms To Know When Making Custom T-Shirts

Dwell Time

Sometimes, you can follow the instructions perfectly when customizing a T-shirt, but it doesn’t turn out right. The problem may have been with the dwell time. When we talk about dwell time, we’re referring to the time a material endures heat and pressure when you transfer the design. Insufficient dwell time can lead to under-cured ink, causing designs to fade or wash away after the first few launderings. If the ink is over-cured, the shirt can scorch and shrink, or the design may become stiff. Finding the perfect balance of dwell time ensures your custom T-shirts look great and last.


Bleeding is an important term to know when making custom T-shirts. It occurs when one color spreads into another, usually due to over-saturation or incorrect screen alignment. Say you have a sharp white logo on a red shirt, but the white blurs into a pink mess when pressing the design. Prep and clean your screens to prevent bleeding, and apply and mix all your inks correctly.


Layering is very important when you decide to use vinyl while spending time indoors to make your custom shirts. Layering is the technique of stacking multiple layers of ink to create complex designs with different colors. You can do this by coordinating the design on each screen so that all colors line up perfectly. If even one layer shifts, the design could blur or the colors may bleed.


Ghosting is when a faint, secondary image appears alongside the intended design. This can happen if the screen shifts slightly during printing or if the ink is too thin. This issue is common in screen printing, and it’s one of the reasons why setup and testing are so important before the final run. To avoid ghosting, secure your screens and make sure the ink is opaque enough for the chosen fabric.

Vector Graphics

Vector graphics refer to a type of image that works well for logos. Compared to raster graphics like JPEGs and PNGs, vector graphics create smoother, clearer, and more scalable designs that won’t pixelate after resizing. You may hear about different file types for shirt designs, and vectors are among the best for creating crisp designs.

Image License: 170454978 Photo By: 88studio URL

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