We get a lot of calls from people looking for one hour Custom tee shirts. Often they refer to the old days when there where shops in malls that did heat transfers. I know a lot of people just assume that tee shirts can be custom printed at the touch of a button in this digital computerized age.
Let me attempt to explain to you all the differences and options that the general person has when it comes to getting Custom decorated apparel or garments in a retail environment...
Most clothing decoration be it embroidery or screen printing is not offered in a retail environment. At least not Custom done work. It takes time to produce these things and Most shops are running hundreds of different jobs a day.
Heat transfers, a process where an image, photograph or art is printed onto a transfer sheet of pare via many different reproduction processes. Then latter applied to a garment with a heat press just when someone really wanted to buy one. Is an old process. It was rarely if ever Custom.
This is a process the common person can now do at home on their personal computer. You can create any artwork or design and print it onto transfer pare from you local office supply or craft shop. This Typically only works on light or white garments,. Unless you use a white transfer paper an cut out the deign by hand.
While I have heard that some one hour photo developing sops are offering heat transfers shirts that you create from your photo at a kiosk. Still it is light or white shirts only and does not stand up well to repeated washings.
With the new Digital Direct or DTG print on demand. The image is applied directly yo the garment or clothing item via an ink or bubble jet printer using a special Non toxic water based ink. Many of these systems employee a white in so that art can now be printed on any color of garment. This form of custom apparel imaging requires a high resolution quality computer graphic file or photo. It’s not something you can just take any low resolution image from the internet and use. So there is some time in creating the original art files needed.
It’s important to remember that shops that employee these Direct to garments systems typically have a full production list of work To be done. In other words it's not like they are in a mall just waiting for someone to bring in a shirt or art and have it created while they wait. I means this is a custom made product. We are however getting close to the day when you can get a custom made full color printed jacket, hoodie or tee from a little one hour booth on the mall.
At least for now here in Denver, Colorado