The Best T-Shirts for Silk Screen Printing
T-Shirt Trends
min read

The Best T-Shirts for Silk Screen Printing

Learn about the best t-shirts for silk screen printing your custom apparel.

Silk screen printing, also known as screen printing, is a popular method for creating vibrant, long-lasting designs on t-shirts. However, achieving high-quality prints requires careful consideration of various factors, including the choice of shirt.

In this article, we’ll explore what makes the best t-shirts for silk screen printing and highlight some of the most popular brands on the market just for you.

Are you ready, friends? Let’s get it STARTED.

Fabric Composition 

When it comes to silk screen printing, cotton is often the fabric of choice. Cotton’s smooth surface provides an ideal canvas for printing, allowing ink to adhere well and produce sharp, detailed designs. Additionally, cotton’s absorbent nature helps ink to set correctly, resulting in long-lasting prints. Blends of cotton and polyester can also be used, offering a balance between durability and print quality.

Thread Count

The thread count of a fabric refers to the number of threads per square inch. Higher thread count fabrics typically have smoother surfaces, essential for achieving crisp and detailed prints. Look for t-shirts with a thread count of at least 30 singles, as they provide the best surface for silk screen printing. 


Medium to heavyweight fabrics are preferable for silk screen printing, as they provide better support for the ink and prevent bleed-through. T-shirts weighing 5.3 oz per square yard or more are generally suitable. However, lighter-weight fabrics can also be used with proper care and techniques.


Light-colored t-shirts are often preferred for silk screen printing, as they allow the light colors to stand out more vibrantly. However, darker colors can also be used effectively with proper under-base printing techniques. When selecting t-shirt colors, consider the contrast with your design and the desired aesthetic effect.  


Smooth and even fabric surfaces are essential for achieving high-quality prints. Avoid t-shirts with textured or uneven surfaces, as they may interfere with printing and result in less-than-ideal outcomes.


Some t-shirts come pre-treated with chemicals to enhance ink adhesion and print quality. These pre-treated shirts may offer better results for silk screen printing, particularly on challenging fabrics or colors. 

Now, let’s delve into some of the best brands known for providing high-quality t-shirts for silk screen printing. 


Gildan is one of the leading manufacturers of blank apparel, including t-shirts suitable for silk screen printing. Their t-shirts are known for their durability, affordability, and wide range of color options. Gildan’s Heavy Cotton and Softstyle lines are among the trendy screen printers for their smooth surfaces and consistent quality.

Bella + Canvas

Bella + Canvas is renowned for its fashion-forward t-shirts made from premium-quality fabrics. These t-shirts are known for their softness, comfort, and modern fit, making them a favorite among screen printers and fashion brands. Bella + Canvas offers a variety of styles, including crewnecks, v-necks, and tri-blends, all of which are excellent choices for silk screen printing. Arguably, they’re some of the softest custom t-shirts available. 

Next Level Apparel 

Next Level Apparel offers a wide selection of stylish and affordable t-shirts designed for superior printability. Their t-shirts are made from combed and ringspun cotton, resulting in a smooth, soft surface, perfect for silk screen printing. Next Level’s attention to detail and trendy designs make their t-shirts popular for screen printers looking to create eye-catching prints.

American Apparel 

American Apparel is known for its high-quality basics, including t-shirts crafted from fine jersey cotton. Their t-shirts are praised for their softness, durability, and flattering fit, making them a favorite among screen printers and fashion-conscious individuals. American Apparel’s dedication to ethical manufacturing and sustainable practices adds to the appeal of its products for environmentally conscious consumers. 


Hanes is a trusted name in the custom apparel printing industry. It offers a wide range of comfortable and affordable t-shirts for silk screen printing. These t-shirts are made from soft cotton blends and feature tag-free designs for comfort. Hanes’ commitment to quality and value makes its t-shirts a reliable choice for screen printers looking for budget-friendly options without compromising quality. 

As You Now Know…

Choosing the best t-shirts for silk screen printing involves considering factors such as fabric composition, thread count, weight, color, smoothness, and pre-treatment. Brands such as Gildan, Bella + Canvas, Next Level Apparel, American Apparel, and Hanes are known for providing high-quality t-shirts that meet screen printers' requirements and deliver exceptional print results. 

By selecting the fitting t-shirt (pun FULLY intended, folks) for your project and utilizing proper printing techniques, you can create professional-looking prints that stand out and make a lasting impression. 

We’re here to help whenever you need it. In the meantime, check out our complete T-Shirt Buyer’s Guide to get the inside scoop on all things custom t shirts.

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