Fabric Manufacturing Garments and Industry Printing

15 Types of Fabric Printing Method

15 Types of Fabric Printing Method

 Textile Printing is a process of decorating textile fabrics by application of pigments, dyes, or other related materials in the form of patterns. In properly printed fabrics the color is bonded with the fiber, so as to resist washing and friction. We will discuss the Fabric Printing Method in this article.

Types of Fabric Printing Method

There are many different types of fabric printing methods; they all yield different results. The type of textile printing used is often based on a number of considerations; from print runs, to durability. 

  1. Hand block printing

  2. Perrotine printing

  3. Engraved copperplate printing

  4. Roller, cylinder, or machine printing

  5. Stencil printing

  6. Screen printing

  7. Digital textile printing

  8. Flexo textile printing

  9. Discharge Printing

  10. Heat transfer printing

  11. Ink-Jet Printing 

  12. Stamp Printing

  13. Dye Sublimation

  14.  Reactive Printing

  15. Pigment Printing

Block Printing

The printing of fabric by hand; using carved wooden or linoleum blocks, as distinguished from printing by screens or roller is called block printing. Block printing is a special form of printing first developed in China. The earliest known example with an actual date is a copy of the Diamond Sutra from 868 A.D (currently in the British Museum), though the practice of block printing is probably about two thousand years old.

Perrotine printing

The perrotine is the block-printing machine invented by Louis-Jérôme Perrot (1798 in Senlis – 1878 in Paris); and practically speaking is the only successful mechanical device ever introduced for this purpose. For some reason or other, it has rarely been used in England, but its value was almost immediately recognized on the Continent, and although block printing of all sorts has been replaced to such an enormous extent by roller printing, the perrotine is still largely employed in French, German, and Italian works.

Roller, cylinder, or machine printing:

Roller printing has traditionally been preferred for long production runs because of the very high speeds possible. It is also a versatile technique since up to a dozen different colors can be printed simultaneously. The basic roller printing equipment; shown in the below figure; consists of a number of copper faced rollers in which the design is etched.

There is a separate printing roller for each color being printed. Each of the rollers rotates over the fabric under pressure against an iron pressure roller. A blanket and backing cloth rotate over the pressure roller under the fabric and provide flexible support for the fabric being printed. A color doctor blade removes paste or fibers adhering to the roller after contact with the fabric. After the impression stage, the fabric passes to the drying and steaming stages.

Types of Fabric Printing Method

Stencil printing

The art of stenciling on textile fabrics has been practiced from time immemorial by the Japanese and found increasing employment in Europe for certain classes of decorative work on woven goods during the late 19th century.

A pattern is cut from a sheet of stout paper or thin metal with a sharp-pointed knife; the uncut portions representing the part that will be left uncolored. The sheet is laid on the fabric and color is brushed through its interstices.

The peculiarity of stenciled patterns is that they have to be held together by ties. For instance, a complete circle cannot be cut without its center dropping out; so its outline has to be interrupted at convenient points by ties or uncut portions. This limitation influences design.

For single-color work a stenciling machine was patented in 1894 by S. H. Sharp. It consists of an endless stencil plate of thin sheet steel that passes continuously over a revolving cast-iron cylinder. The cloth to be ornamented passes between the two and the color is forced onto it through the holes in the stencil by mechanical means.

Screen printing

Screen printing may be a hand operation or an automatic machine process. The cloth is first laid on a printing table; gummed in position or pinned to a back gray; then the design is applied through a screen made of silk or nylon gauze stretched over a wooden or metal frame; on which the design for one color has been reproduced. This is usually a photographic process; although hand-painting with a suitably resistant blocking paint is an alternative.
A screen is placed over the fabric on the table against registration stops; ensuring accurate pattern fitting. The print paste is poured on to the screen edge nearest the operator and is spread with a squeegee over the surface of the screen so that color is pushed through the open parts. The screen is moved until one color has been applied to the cloth. For the application of other colors; the process is repeated with different screens.
With the growing importance of screen printing; hand operation has been largely replaced by mechanical methods. In some machines, the screens are flat; as in hand printing; others employ rotary screens.

Types of Fabric Printing Method

Digital textile printing

Digital textile printing is often referred to as direct-to-garment printing; DTG printing, or digital garment printing. It is a process of printing on textiles and garments using specialized or modified inkjet technology. Inkjet printing on fabric is also possible with an inkjet printer by using fabric sheets with a removable paper backing.

Types of Fabric Printing Method

Today, major inkjet technology manufacturers can offer specialized products designed for direct printing on textiles; not only for sampling but also for bulk production. Since the early 1990s, inkjet technology and specially developed water-based ink; (known as dye-sublimation or disperse direct ink) have made it possible to print directly onto polyester fabric.

This is mainly related to visual communication in retail and brand promotion (flags, banners, and other points of sales applications). Printing onto nylon and silk can be done by using acid ink. Reactive ink is used for cellulose-based fibers such as cotton and linen. Inkjet technology in digital textile printing allows for single pieces; mid-run production and even long-run alternatives to screen printed fabric.

Flexo textile printing

Flexo textile printing on textile fabric was successful in China in the last 4 years. Central Impression Flexo, Rubber Sleeves as the printing plate in round engraved by laser (Direct Laser Engraving); Anilox in Sleeve technologies are applied in the area. Not only the solid but also 6 to 8 colors in the fine register, higher resolution ratio; and higher productivity which are the outstanding advantages extraordinary different from the traditional screen textile printing. Aerospace Huayang, Hell system, SPGPrints; and Felix Böttcher contributed their technologies and efforts.

Heat transfer printing

The popularity of polyester fabrics led to the development of a completely new form of printing: heat transfer printing, which prints the pattern on paper with carefully selected dyes. The paper is then applied to the fabric bypassing the two together through a type of hot calendar, and the pattern is transferred from one to the other. This method opens up new possibilities, such as the production of halftone effects.

In all textile printing, nature and, particularly, the viscosity of the print paste is important; and the thickeners employed must be compatible with all the other components. For conventional methods, the thickeners are such reagents as starch; gum tragacanth; alginates, methylcellulose ethers, and sodium carboxymethyl cellulose.

Types of Fabric Printing Method

Many types of dye can be applied, including direct cotton, vat, mordant, and reactive dyes; as well as pigment colors. Most dyes are fixed by steaming or aging, by a batch or continuous method; and more rapid fixation is effected by flash aging—e.g.; allowing a shorter steaming period by employing smaller machines. After steaming, the fabric must be thoroughly washed to remove loose dye and thickener; ensuring fastness to rubbing.

Most textile materials can be printed without special pretreatment, but wool cloths are generally chlorinated before printing. Tops (long, parallel wool fibers); printed in stripes, are used for mixed-effects; and printed warps produce shadowy effects. Tufted carpets are printed by a process designed to ensure good penetration.

Types of Fabric Printing Method

Ink-Jet Printing 

There has been considerable interest in the technology surrounding non-impact printing, mainly for the graphic market, but the potential benefits of reductions in the time scale from original design to final production have led to much activity in developing this technology for textile and carpet printing processes. The types of machines developed fall into two classes, drop-on-demand (DOD) and continuous stream (CS).

Stamp Printing

This one is pretty much what it says it is. A stamp is created, and that is then used to imprint onto the fabric. Similar to making potato stamps when you were a child; to create beautiful paintings.

Your design is cut into the stamp, which is then dipped into the ink;

and using even pressure; you transfer this from the stamp onto your textile. Although we’ve come a long way from potato stamping; the level of detail that you can get from stamp printing is limited; so this is not suitable for the more intricate designs.


Dye Sublimation

This is a multi-step process that produces some of the best results of all the fabric printing methods. Designs are printed onto a thermal transfer paper, known as dye sublimation paper. This is then used to create the print on the fabric. Both heat and pressure are used to permanently bond the inks to the fibers of the fabric.

This leaves your fabric as soft as it was before it was printed on. The deep infusion technique penetrates specialist water-based inks deep into the textile, which makes your print permanent. Perfect for intricate details as well as colors.

Types of Fabric Printing Method

Pigment Printing

Pigment printing is one of the most popular printing techniques for use on cellulose fibers; making them ideal for use on natural fabrics. It is one of the fabric printing methods which can be used on synthetic materials as well; which makes it pretty versatile. It is a localized technique which involves applying the dyes to the part of the fabric that you want your design to be seen. This is done over and over and slowly builds up the color.


Reactive Printing

Reactive printing is another of the heat-activated fabric printing methods. It is done by pre-coating the fabrics and then and using a binder (similar to that of pigment printing) and a printing additive. It prints a dye or wax onto the fabric, and the heat reaction permanently bonds the image to the textile. Put simply, it is similar to coating the fabric with the design and then steaming it to create a reaction which bonds the design to the material.


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