Using Heather T-Shirts for Printing Your Designs


Posted by AllDayShirts on to Product Guides

The custom shirt market is expected to reach a market worth $7.57 billion by 2028. This is heavily influenced by the increase in demand for stylish and personalized clothing. 

Younger generations with disposable income want customized shirts displaying pop culture references and printed designs. While cotton and polyester are the most popular materials for printing custom shirts, heather t-shirts are often overlooked.

Printing on heather t-shirts offers a t-shirt that is super soft and drapes well. But what exactly is heather and what are the best heather t-shirts to print on?

In this guide, we'll cover what you need to know about printing on heather t-shirts as well as some of the best heather t-shirts to use. Keep reading for more information.

What Is a Heather T-Shirt?

The term "heather" refers to the specks of grey in the fabric when it is interwoven with other fabric fibers. A heather t-shirt is primarily a 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester.

These blends provide all of the durability of polyester combined with the softness of cotton that creates an incredibly buttery soft and comfortable shirt all around.

They won't shrink or wrinkle in the wash like cotton by itself will. Blended heather t-shirts last longer than traditional cotton alone and they are more affordable compared to 100% cotton shirts.

A heather t-shirt is referred to as a tri-blend because it is a combination of three different fibers. Namely cotton, polyester, and rayon. 

Historically, the name heather has roots in the 14th century from the Scottish word 'haeddre.' Heather may also refer to a plant in Scotland with pink and purple-colored flowers that have a combination of coloring similar to heather fabrics.

The heather plant is sometimes referred to as 'Ling Heather' from the Norse word 'Lyng' which means 'light in weight', which is a feature of heather fabric. 

Heather T-Shirts vs Solid T-Shirts

Solid t-shirts may start to lose their coloring and fade after multiple washes, so what started as a vibrant color will diminish with time. 

Heather t-shirts are also known for their ash or sports grey coloring, but they can be colored as well. A heathered t-shirt may display as a deliberate fade.

Heather t-shirts are made from two or three different woven fibers and dipped so the colors will be more subtle, but this is becoming a style trend for those seeking intentionally vintage shirts.

If you want something that is different from the usual run-of-the-mill standard t-shirt, a heathered t-shirt will give you a new style.

Different Types of Heathered Shirt Looks and Colors

Besides being available in an array of colors, heather t-shirts are also available in different texture styles. These heather styles are Slub, Marble, Speckled, and Heather Black. Here is a brief description of each.

  • Slub- a textured style of heather blending with small knit lumps to add dimension to the fabric
  • Heather Black- a black-to-dark heather blend instead of the light-to-dark blend that most heathers follow
  • Speckled-as it sounds, this has specks of white mixed with color for a speckled pattern throughout
  • Marble- offers more contrast between color and pronounced bursts of white interspersed in the fabric

What type of heathering you choose is up to your style preference. A Speckled heather pattern is more subtle than Marble but more noticeable than a Slub pattern. It depends on how much detail you want. 

Our Favorite Heather T-Shirts

Heather t-shirts feature a lightweight design with a high singles count. A singles count refers to the weight or thickness of the thread or yarn used in the shirt. A higher number of singles means the shirt will have a softer and higher quality material. 

1. 3001 CVC Bella Canvas Unisex Heather CVC T-Shirt

3001 Heather

The Bella Canvas Unisex Heather CVC T-Shirt comes in 61 color varieties from pastel to rich deep hues. A 4.2oz lightweight crewneck t-shirt that is 52% Airlume combed and ring-spun cotton and 48% polyester blend, 32 singles count.

Athletic Heather/Black Heather is 90% Airlume combed and ring-spun cotton and 10% polyester. Prism colors are 1% polyester and 99% Airlume combed and ring-spun cotton.

Available in sizes XS to 4XL. This shirt is great for both Vinyl and Screen Printing.

2. Anvil 980

Anvil Lightweight T-Shirt comes in 19 colors. It is a 4.3oz preshrunk 100% combed ring-spun cotton shirt with a single count of 30 singles.

The Heather Grey color comes in 10% polyester and 90% cotton. Other Heather and Neon colors are 35% cotton and 65% polyester.

Available in sizes from Small to 3XL.

3. G200 Gildan Adult Ultra Cotton 6 oz T-Shirt 


Gildan Adult Ultra Cotton 6oz T-Shirt (G2000)  comes in 60 bright and bold colors. 100% preshrunk soft cotton with an ultra-tight knit construction.

Ash Grey color is 99% cotton and 1% polyester. Sport Grey color is 90% cotton and 10% polyester.

Antique colors are 90% cotton and 10% polyester. Heathers and Safety colors are 50% cotton and 50% polyester.

Recommended for Screen Printing, Heat Press Printing, and Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing.

4) Bella Canvas 3413

Bella Heather Black

Unisex Tri-Blend Shirt from Bella Canvas is a 3.8oz 40 singles lightweight tri-blend of 50% polyester, 25% Airlume combed and ring-spun cotton, and 25% rayon. It comes in 52 colors.

The black heather tri-blend is 70% Airlume combed and ring-sprung cotton, 15% rayon, and 15% polyester. They are best for Screen Printing and Vinyl Printing.

Available in sizes XS to 4XL. 

More Than Just T-Shirts

T-shirts aren't the only items that benefit from the softness and durability of heather. Products such as sweatpants and hats can also boast printed designs. Here are some examples.

Heather Pants-BU8801 Unisex Heather Performance Jogger Pant

Heather Pants

Burnside Unisex Heather Performance Jogger Pant comes in 4 colors and sizes Small to XL. Made of 100% polyester it is 6oz and lightweight.

Includes an elastic waistband and black drawstring cord, with a faux fly. Features a back pocket and side zipper pockets. Hem cuffs and knee piping for a sleek design.

Y6350 Adult Heatherlight Cap

Yupoong Hat Heather

The Y6350 Adult Heatherlight Cap is a lightweight hat available in 2 shades of grey. With a stretchable heather fabric made from 55% polyester, 40% rayon, and 5% PU spandex. It features Flexfit® technology and is stretch-fitted. 

Consists of a 6-panel, mid-profile, structured design construction with a closed back. Includes Permacurv® visor with 8-row stitching and a silver under-visor.

TT802 by Yupoong® Adult Zone Sonic Heather Trucker Cap

Heather Yupoong Hat

Yupoong® Adult Zone Sonic Heather Trucker Cap comes in 8 colors with an adjustable snap-back and sewn eyelets. With a 3.8oz body made from 100% polyester sonic heather interlock and moisture-wicking material.

Contains a 5.1oz trim with 100% polyester mesh side and back panels. Offers a 6-panel structured mid-profile construction with heavy buckram in the front panels.

Printing On Heather Fabric T-Shirts

Because tri-blend heather t-shirts have a high rayon count, they and other poly blend shirts have a high sensitivity to heat and may scorch. It is recommended that rayon shirts do not use the heat press method for printing on heather t-shirts. 

Heather blend t-shirts are also great for embroidery because of their tight-knit fabric weave. 

The Best Blank T-Shirts for Printing at Wholesale Prices

Heather t-shirts are versatile, comfortable, and great for customized printed designs. has a large inventory of blank bulk t-shirts for custom printing at wholesale prices. We carry all of the leading brands from t-shirt companies like Gildan, Champion, Bella+Canvas, Next Level, and more. 

But we're more than just shirts, also carries a wide variety of hats, sweatshirts, hoodies, and athletic pants. is a second-generation wholesale business owned and operated in the U.S. with over 47 years of service. 

Place your order on our website today and read more about the Best T-Shirts for HTV Printing on our blog. 

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