• Juvenile Virtuoso

Which is The Best T-Shirt Fabric For Your Printed Tee - 100% Cotton or Blended Material?

Fabric weight, thread count, ring spun - these things count when you're shopping for a Tee. Learn the difference and choose the best t-shirt fabric for you.

A T-shirt isn't just a T-shirt. In fact, there's a lot of to consider when you're looking for the right shirt to print your designs on. For example, how will the ink sit on the fabric? Will the shirt shrink? Does it look good?

And then, there are things like fabric weight, thread count, ring-spun - these things count when you're shopping for a tee.

Learn the difference and choose the best t-shirt fabric for you.

Cotton--The Best T-Shirt Fabric?

The cotton tee. The quintessential staple in any closet--whether it belongs to man or woman, child or senior citizen--no matter who you are or what your style, the cotton tee is likely the go-to item you can always count on.

But is it the right choice for customization? Well, it depends.

Cotton provides a light, natural feel, and it's relaxed and comfortable. The benefit of cotton is, it doesn't cause itching to allergies, and you can throw it in the wash. The downside is, cotton shrinks and can look pretty wrinkly if not properly cared for.

Natural products work best for screen printing, so your best bet when selecting a T-shirt fabric, is cotton, hemp, bamboo, anything from the earth. Natural fibers absorb ink much more efficiently than synthetic fibers.

Ring-Spun Cotton

Ring spun cotton is something of an upgrade to the fabric of our lives. Ringspun tees are made from smoother cotton and a long, open end yarn.

The spinning process used to make this fabric straightens each fiber, producing a smoother, softer, and more luxurious fabric perfect for printing on. This option makes the most sense if you're printing art on a tee shirt rather than making a one-time commemorative tee for a family reunion or a sports game.

We like ring-spun cotton for its ability to class up a basic tee. Plain cotton or a cotton-poly blend can sometimes feel a little stiff, while ring-spun brings a refined look to the printed tee.

Polyester--Maybe Not Ideal for a Tee

Polyester is warm, wrinkle resistant and good at keeping bright colors bright for the long haul. The downside is, the fabric can get hot and isn't great for sensitive skin. If you're looking to print custom shirts, 100% polyester might not be the best option out there.

For example, human-made fabrics tend to be less porous than their natural counterparts, so screen print ink might not stick to the surface as well as it does with cotton.

With all that in mind, polyester tees aren't exactly all that common anymore, so you probably won't be able to find one unless you go the custom printing route.

50/50 Cotton Blend--The Best of Both Worlds

But, if you're looking for some of the critical benefits of polyester without the ink-resistant quality and the lack of breathability, a 50/50 cotton-poly blend is where it's at.

The polyester counteracts some of the few downsides you'll get with cotton t-shirt fabric--it's not as susceptible to pilling, and it maintains color and shapes longer than your average cotton shirt.


Jersey is another cotton blend made to be super soft. It's kind of lightweight and may slip around during the printing process, so printers need to tread carefully.

That said water-based ink would work better on jersey tees than plasticky inks, which tend to sit on top of the fabric as opposed to soaking in for longer lasting vibrancy. Additionally, plastic-based inks will stretch and may crack over time, while the water-based alternative will move with the fabric.

Learn more about the inks used to create your favorite designs if you're looking for a jersey blend, otherwise, you might be stuck with a print that won't make it for the long haul.


The tri-blend tee is made from, well, three different fabrics blended together in one supersoft tee. Tri-blends bring this great balance between softness, durability, and comfort--a really great quality in a tee. Most of the time tri-blend is a combo of rayon, polyester, and cotton.

Like the 50/50 cotton blend, tri-blend tees eliminate issues like pilling, shrinkage, and fading that you'll find with cotton. Additionally, the cotton adds that natural feel to the synthetic fibers. They also have this dappled, heathered look to them, as opposed to one solid color.

As far as whether tri-blend is a good candidate for printing, it depends. Some screen printers find that the color looks a bit different in contrast to printing on 100% cotton or a 50/50 blend. That said, most people won't see any major issues and tri-blend is certainly a good candidate for a stylish printed tee.

Look for Quality in a Printed Tee--Check Out Juvenile Virtuoso; Great Tees for a Great Cause

T-shirts are a must-have for everyone's wardrobe, and printed tees add something a little unusual to your basic, comfortable staple. At T-shirts in many different styles and colors.

Whether shoppers are looking to make a statement with the right tee for kicking around in the garden or strutting their stuff on campus, one should keep in mind that t-shirt fabric will have a lot to do with the longevity of your print.

Looking for a unique and comfortable way to make a statement? Check out our selection of men and women's tees and support the vision of the talented youth artists making these incredible designs.

Also, be sure to explore our t-shirt blog for the latest fashion tips and trends. Even if you're not a t-shirt aficionado, we promise you will start embracing them sooner or later!

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