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PRINTING METHODS



Direct Disperse deposits the ink directly onto the fabric using ink heads similar to a desktop printer. The fabric is then run through a heater to cure the inks. The heating process imbeds the ink into the fabric similar to dye sublimation. While direct disperse offers a good through on most products is can vary slightly depending on the fabric. For a full list of fabrics and their estimated bleed through see “Fabrics”. Direct Disperse can be used on a variety of fabrics such as nylon, polyester or cotton.



Dye Sublimation first prints the image onto a piece of transfer paper. The image is transferred to the fabric during the heating process. The heat not only transfers the ink but it also imbeds, or sublimates, the ink into the fabric and sets it so it won’t run or fade. Dye Sublimation can used on polyester and nylon fabric and offers a very good bleed through.

Direct Disperse deposits the ink directly onto the fabric using ink heads similar to a desktop printer. The fabric is then run through a heater to cure the inks. The heating process imbeds the ink into the fabric similar to dye sublimation. While direct disperse offers a good through on most products is can vary slightly depending on the fabric. For a full list of fabrics and their estimated bleed through see “Fabrics”. Direct Disperse can be used on a variety of fabrics such as nylon, polyester or cotton.



Screen sublimation is the second style of silk screen printing. It follows the same steps as above but instead of allowing the ink to air dry, the fabric is passed through a heat and stream process. The heat and stream process uses a large boiler to push the ink into the fabric. The fabric is then put through a few washes that remove excess ink and then cure it. After the heat and steam the ink can no longer be felt on top of the fabric. Screen sublimation inks do not crack or peel like plastisol, so it is a much better option for outdoor flags. Due to the fact the inks become part of the fabric screen sublimation flags you must always start with a white fabric, the colors printed on the front side may appear slightly lighter on the backside (see bleed trough).




Appliqué is a form of needle work within which pieces of fabric are sewn together and, or are layered on top of a base fabric to create a pattern or image. Each individual color within the image is separately cut from a same colored heavy duty fabric like nylon, and these fabric pieces are then assembled and sewn together to recreate the image.

Embroidery is a decorative embellishment on fabric using a needle and thread, or an embroidery machine. Embroidery is often used on apparel such as t shirts or baseball caps to imprint a logo or company name. Most commercial embroidery can be done by machine, although the detailed embroidery like that on our flags must be done by hand.

Appliqué and embroidery can be used alone or together. Embroidery alone is traditionally used on smaller flags as the embroidery process can be expensive and can also weigh the flag down. Appliqué is often used for simple bold designs. Country flags like those of France and Germany that have just colored stripes, are considered to be appliquéd when the three stripes are sewn together instead of being printed. Most custom flags use a combination of these two methods to produce a strong graphic image. Appliquéd sections are used for the larger solid areas, and the embroidery is added for fine details, depth and small lettering. A good example of this combination can be seen in our USA flag. The white stars are embroidered onto the blue field which in turn is sewn to the red and white stripes. The red and white stripes are appliquéd or sewn to one another and the final product is then hemmed and finished.

Creating a custom appliquéd and embroidered flag is mostly done by hand and is extremely labor intensive. These flags are beautiful and are often used for keep sakes or display. Custom appliquéd and embroidered flags are not recommended for outdoor display due to both the fragility of the sewing and the cost of replacement.

The reverse side of an appliquéd and embroidered flag usually looks unfinished. You can request either a blank liner on the back to cover the loose threads and stitching, or a 2 ply flag so that your graphic design will be visible from both sides of the flag.

Our graphics and sales departments can help you determine which method is best for you. You can email your graphics to artwork@agasmfg.com for more information.