Print Area Comparison.

P.O.D.'s T-shirt Maximum Printable Areas.

The following is a guide to help you compare the print areas available from some of the most popular Print on Demand (P.O.D.) companies for T-shirts based on product fronts. Some of these companies offer printing on the backs and sleeves at different dimensions and added costs. More companies will be added to this page over time. For better P.O.D's than the ones listed below, please check out How To Start Your Own T-shirt Shop Online. Note: The designs will not scale beyond the maximum printable area on larger cut tees, except for certain CafePress items which have different dimensions set.
  • Cafepress Prints an area of 10" width by 10" height. They scale that for plus size tees up to 12" by 12"; and they'll scale down for smaller cut tees. Cafepress is not recommended by Tee Fetch .
  • Printfection  Has a maximum print area of 13.5" width by 16.5" height.
  • Red Bubble Has a maximum print area of 12" width by 16" height.
  • Skreened Has a maximum print area of 11" width by 17" height. Please note that they only offer light colored apparel.
  • Spreadshirt Has the best maximum print area of 13.4" width by 25.8" height, with 11.8" by 11.8" being one design's maximum printable area. You can fill in the rest with a second design or text. Their site has extensive information on their print ranges and types.
  • Zazzle Offers 2 maximum print area options, a 14" width by 12" height or 12" width by 14" height.

T-shirt Printing Methods.

There are six main printing methods available through P.O.D. services. 1. Direct to garment color printing on white tees: Your design will appear relatively unaffected by the t-shirt/garment color. 2. Direct to garment color printing on colored T-shirts: The garment color will effect the final color of the print. All white areas of your designs will show up as the fabric color. 3. Direct to garment color printing on dark T-shirts: A white layer of ink is printed on the t-shirt. Then colored print is printed over white layer. The result will look fine unless the alignment is offset. Which is out of the designer's control of course. Improvements for this method are being added all the time. SPECIALTY PRINT METHODS The following are available through Spreadshirt, Shirtcity: 4. Flex Print: Slightly shiny surface and smooth to the touch.  Three  colors per design plus the color of the fabric in "negative space". 5. Special Flex Print: Smooth and glistening surface. One color per design plus the color of the fabric in "negative space". 6. Flock Print: Velvety feel; soft fuzzy feel.  Three colors per design plus the color of the fabric in "negative space". A computerized cutting plotter cuts solid color (without color gradients) text and graphics from special foils. These are then merged with the garment under extensive heat and very high pressure. The maximum size is 11.8" x 11.8". However, you can combine two vector files to fill in more of Spreadshirt's large "printable area". All artwork needs to be supplied to these companies as "Vector files" saved as AI or EPS file types. Design elements must meet certain sizing guidelines. In order to use plot printing, your vector design must follow a few guidelines (i.e. comply with the minimum line thickness, have minimum negative space, have no more than three colors and no color gradients). Vector graphics can be created with Macromedia Freehand, Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape. Converting pixel images into curves is possible but tricky. Transforming objects into curves: Transform all design elements and text into curves. This is possible with Corel Draw: highlight the part of the design you want to convert. Click on Set up - Transform into curves. You may run into a few problems when converting complex pixel graphics into curves. Try to convert as few individual objects and colors as possible. Keep in mind that vector graphics for plot printing can have up to three colors per design. Make use of the negative space as a fourth color. Check the minimum size of the objects: After you've converted to curves, you'll have to check every element of the design to make sure that it is not smaller than .06 inches. One trick for checking this: create a small circle with a diameter of .06 inches and lay it over the smallest parts of the design. If the area is smaller than the circle, it's too small for plot printing. Save image as vector graphic: Unfortunately, you cannot just open a pixel graphic into a vector program and save it in a vector format (.eps or .ai) This is not enough. You have to manually make sure the pixel graphic has been properly converted into curves. If you can afford it, the full version of Vector Magic can help with the initial conversion, but you would most likely need to fine tune the design via Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator.