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Customisation Techniques

Heavy investment into state-of-the-art machinery has enabled PPE Supplies Direct to offer a wide range of customising techniques at a very competitive price. However, each technique has it’s own limitations as we will explain below. Our expert production team will always support you with choosing the right type of customisation to suit your needs. If you want to learn more about it, this is a brief guide to help you better understand the processes.


One of the main advantages of embroidery is durability. A quality embroidered design is very hard wearing and is designed to stand heavy laundering on high temperatures with colours that won’t fade. It is more common for the garment to wear out before the embroidered image does. The design won’t be ruined by common wear and tear as the stitching is tough and hard-wearing.

– Professional appearance
– Can be put on a wide variety of materials
– Lasts longer (doesn’t wear off like silkscreen paint does)
– Can be washed/laundered just like the garment/accessory it’s on.
– Large amount of colors are available

– Can be expensive for low volumes
– Gradients and complex images cannot be used
– Printing close to edges can be problematic
– Setup costs are higher

Embroidery colour thread spools
Close up of embroidery taking place

How it works

The embroidery design is created on a computer using specialised ‘digitising’ software. Artwork is interpreted in stitches by plotting a route that the embroidery machine needle/s will take when stitching the design. This is a very complex process that requires extensive training and it’s the reason why setup costs for new designs is higher.

Once the design is loaded and the machine is set up, the garment is secured in a hoop frame rather like the skin on a drum. This will secure and stabilise the fabric so that the machine can move and perform the stitching accurately. Further support is added by applying backing to the fabric which is a paper-like product inserted under the fabric and is often also framed with it. This is when the actual embroidery process starts and it can take between 5 and 30 minutes per garment depending on the complexity of the design.

We only use the highest quality threads from Madeira.


We are offering screen printing, DTG, digital vinyl and single colour vinyl transfer. As opposed to embroidery, there are no restrictions printing gradients and more complex graphics, especially when using the DTG. Also, the colours are vivid and the artwork is 100% accurate.

– Great for large designs
– Less expensive
– Great for large orders
– Allows more intricate designs

– some DTG may require washing before the first wear
– most vinyl prints need to be washed at a maximum of 60°C

Vinyl Printing
Screen Printing


This is a printing technique whereby a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate, except in areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil. A blade or squeegee is moved across the screen to fill the open mesh apertures with ink, and a reverse stroke then causes the screen to touch the substrate momentarily along a line of contact. This causes the ink to wet the substrate and be pulled out of the mesh apertures as the screen springs back after the blade has passed.

Your artwork is separated into different colours for each screen. After each screen application, the garment will be put under a heat lamp. When all colours had been applied the garment will go through a drying process to ensure the ink does not wear or wash out.

This process is great for large quantities of garments with the same design.


Direct to Garment printing works pretty much as the name suggests. A special kind of printer is used to apply water-based ink directly to the fabric of your aparel using inkjet technology. The fibers of the garment absorb this water-based ink to create your custom design or logo. DTG can be done on fabrics that are at least 50% cotton. For the best results and durability it is recommended you uses 100% cotton garments.

How it works
As opposed to vinyl printing, artwork setup is very simple and quick. Another advantage is that we an print non vector artwork as long as it is at least 300 dpi. Once the artwork and printer are set up, the garment needs pretreating – especially if it is a dark colour. A specialised pretreating machine is used for this and it only takes a few seconds. The garment will then need to be dried using a heat press for about 20-30 seconds. The garment is positioned on the plate of the DTG printer and locked into place with a hoop. Printing is very quick and quiet. Once the printing is complete the garment is taken back to the heat press to be cured. Silicon paper is used to protect your design from the heat and then it is pressed again for a couple of seconds.

DTG Printing


Print and cut vinyl uses the same type of machine and ink that creates car wraps so you know very durable. Since the vinyl used is very light-weight it doesn’t weigh down the shirt either. Designs that are ideal for print and cut vinyl have a great colour range and plenty of detail. The best print and cut vinyl designs have a distinct and defined shape. While the graphic doesn’t have to be an exact square or circle (though that is ideal), designing is easier if it has defined space. Images that trail off or fade into the t-shirt may be better off with DTG.

One of the major benefits print and cut vinyl has over DTG is durability. The design is transferred onto the vinyl material and then pressed into the shirt. The graphic’s ink is not embedded in the shirt fibers so it doesn’t stretch and crack with the garment. Also, since it isn’t inked into the shirt, the design won’t fade with the fabric over many, many washes.

How it works

Preparing the artwork is more time consuming as the design needs to have a 1-2mm margin around so that any misallignment between the print and the cutter can be compensated for. The cutter needs vector images to define the cutting path so only vector artwork can be used when the background needs to be transparent.

After the vinyl is printed, cutting begins. The cutter has blades that cut the shape you design out of the vinyl. Utilizing special tools we would then peel off the unaligned sections of the vinyl to ensure your design is perfect. Next, the vinyl will be transferred on to an application tape and then it is heat pressed on the garment with the printed side up.

Vinyl Printing



This process is very similar to the digital vinyl except for the printing. In this case the artwork is cut away from a single colour vinyl. This means colour accuracy is not great as the rolls of vinyls we stock are of generic colours. It is then weeded the same way as the printed one is. This doesn’t need sticking on to a transfer tape as it is cut mirrored so it goes straight to the heat press. It is much easier to weed and heat pressing is less sensitive.

This is cheaper and quicker than the digital vinyl printing but it only works with single colours.