How To Choose the Best T-Shirt Material for Your Prints

Extreme Screen Prints
October 18, 2023
How To Choose the Best T-Shirt Material for Your Prints

Are you looking for the perfect canvas to showcase your screen printing design? Choosing the right t-shirt material can make all the difference for your prints. But how do you know which fabric is best?

To aid you in your search, we've put together some tips on how to choose the best t-shirt material for your prints. Whether you're printing for personal use or creating custom garments for your business, these tips will help you make an informed decision.

Why Material Matters for Screen Printing

Screen printing is both an art and a science, and the final product depends on the quality of the fabric. The right t-shirt material can amplify your design, making it look brighter and crisper. Selecting an unsuitable fabric, on the other hand, can lead to faded or distorted prints.

The material you choose can also influence longevity. High-quality materials will hold up better to regular wear and washes, ensuring that your prints look great even after multiple uses.

Factors To Consider When Choosing the Right Material

To choose the best t-shirt material for your prints, keep the following factors in mind:

Print Quality and Detail

Some materials are better for detailed and vibrant prints than others. For example, fabrics with smooth textures, such as cotton, are perfect for fine details and bright colors.


You’re much more likely to wear a comfortable t-shirt regularly and help showcase your design. Softer fabrics like cotton, bamboo, or blends tend to offer a higher level of comfort.


The material should be able to withstand typical wear and tear, including regular washing and drying. Consider how well the fabric can hold up to these processes without compromising the print.


With growing concerns about the environment, you might want to choose materials that have a lower environmental impact, such as eco-friendly alternatives or fabrics made from recycled materials.

Types of Good Materials for Screen Printing

Now that you know the factors to consider when choosing the best t-shirt material for your prints, let's explore some popular options:

100% Cotton

Cotton is the most commonly used fabric for screen printing due to its versatility and durability. It’s a natural fiber that’s soft, breathable, and comfortable to wear. Cotton also has excellent absorbency, making it ideal for printing vibrant designs, as it holds onto ink well. Additionally, cotton can withstand high temperatures during the curing process without shrinking or warping.

One downside of cotton is that it can wrinkle easily, making it challenging to maintain a crisp appearance. It also tends to shrink when washed in hot water. To prevent these issues, consider pre-washing and ironing the fabric before printing on it.

Organic Cotton

Organic cotton is another sustainable option for screen printing. Farmers grow this fabric without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, making it a more environmentally-friendly choice. It also uses less water and energy to produce compared to conventional cotton.

In addition to its sustainability benefits, organic cotton is soft, breathable, and comfortable to wear. It also offers excellent print quality and color retention, making it suitable for detailed designs. However, organic cotton can be more expensive compared to conventional cotton, so it may not be a viable option for those on a tight budget.

Cotton Blends

Cotton blends are another popular option for screen printing, especially for those looking for a comfortable and durable fabric. Manufacturers create these blends by mixing cotton with synthetic fibers like polyester or rayon. This combination offers the best of both worlds, as it retains the softness and breathability of cotton while also providing the durability and wrinkle resistance of synthetic fibers.


Polyester is a synthetic fabric that offers excellent durability and color retention, making it perfect for screen printing. It’s also known for its wrinkle resistance and quick-drying properties, which makes it a popular option for sportswear. However, polyester tends to have a less natural feel and can be uncomfortable to wear in hot weather.


Bamboo is a sustainable and eco-friendly option for screen printing. It's a soft and breathable fabric that offers excellent print quality and color retention. Bamboo also has natural antibacterial properties, making it ideal for people with sensitive skin. However, it can be more expensive than other materials, and the sourcing process can have a high environmental impact if not done correctly.


Hemp is a strong and durable fabric that offers excellent color retention and print quality. Hemp is also naturally resistant to mold, mildew, and UV rays, making it ideal for outdoor use. Additionally, the fabric continues to soften with each wash. This ensures it remains comfortable for a long time.

That said, hemp isn’t as soft as materials like cotton, and it can be more expensive. It also has a coarser texture, which may not be suitable for all designs.

Recycled Polyester

As environmental concerns continue to grow, more and more companies are turning to recycled polyester as a sustainable alternative for screen printing. This fabric consists of post-consumer plastic bottles, which reduces the amount of waste in landfills and the need for virgin materials.

Recycled polyester offers similar benefits to traditional polyester, such as durability and color retention. It’s also quick drying, which can be helpful for high-volume printing. Additionally, this fabric has a soft and comfortable feel, making it ideal for everyday wear.

One drawback of recycled polyester is that some products labeled as such don’t entirely consist of recycled materials. Some may still have a portion of virgin fibers blended in, so it's essential to ensure you're purchasing from a reputable source. However, overall, recycled polyester is an excellent option for those looking to reduce their environmental impact while still creating high-quality printed products.

By understanding the importance of material when it comes to screen printing, you can choose the best t-shirt material for your prints. As a final reminder, it's always a great idea to consult an experienced contract screen printer like Extreme Screen Print to help you make the best decision for your project. Extreme Screen Prints’ team of experts can guide you through the process and ensure your prints look fantastic on whichever material you choose.

How To Choose the Best T-Shirt Material for Your Prints
Extreme Screen Prints
Last Updated:
October 18, 2023