Home Forums T shirt printing Any screen printing tips?

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  martin 1 year, 7 months ago.

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  • jason

    Hi guys its me again.. can you guys please share with me your tips on screen printing as I am just getting started with it and I don’t want to make any stupid mistakes!

    Thank you!


    One of the best tips I could give you would be to not print your designs on to your t shirts right away.. instead use a Photoshop mock-up of a t shirt to put your design on first to see if the design looks right. You will save a lot of money and hassle by doing this as you will find that a lot of designs that may look good on your computer will just look odd when you print them onto t shirts.. also using a mockup you can quickly experiment with your design and how it should look on a t shirt without having to create a whole new screen print template per each draft of your design you also get a better idea of where is bets to position your design too.

    You can buy good t shirt mock up on sites like creativemarket.com and graphicriver.net or you can get good free ones if you search hard enough on bing!


    That is a good piece of advise from john I wish I knew that when I first started out… I would waster loads of t shirts and time making screen prints of what turned out to be awful looking designs and ruining lots of good t shirts. Don’t use expensive t shirts to practice on.. use old ejects if you have any first.. and wait until you know what you are doing until you move onto actually printing onto good quality t shirts!
    I would also suggest you keep your designs simple until you know what you are doing. If you make your designs to complicated with lots of small details and lots of colors you will go wrong so don’t jump into the deep end as it does take time to perfect your screen printing skills ie knowing what pressure to apply to the squidgy when applying the inks to the silk screen…how much emulsion to use when making your template.


    Here are few quick tips I thought of from the top of my head…

    -My number one tip would be use a Squeegee with medium hardness and a SHARP BLADE for the bets results!!

    -I think something that is overlooked in screen printing is the mesh you use for you actual template. I always use 61cm x70cm monofilament mesh when I am doing more than one color this is because you don’t want to put too much ink down per screening different colors so you don’t have to flash cure the print after each color you lay down.

    -You should always print the lightest colors first if you are doing multiple color prints and make sure to thin your light colored inks else you will find that the ink will not get absorbed through into the garment and will just sit on top… HOWEVER for colors that you print on last you do not want to thin your inks as this will just cause the inks to soak into the t shirt and mix with the other colors which you do not want.

    -Another tips would be not to put in too use too much ink when printing else it will just get really messy as the inks starts to rise up onto the squeegee handle and onto your hands.. dirty hands aren’t good as you might accidentally touch your t shirt and stain it.


    Oh some more tips would be

    Don’t use thick ink or a lot of pressure–If you are using thick ink you are going to have to use a lot of pressure with the squeegee to squeeze all that ink through the mesh of the template you do not want to do this as this pressure will just cause uneven and messy prints as the ink will spread as it goes on to the t shirt.
    Instead get a good viscosity of ink that isn’t too thick (inks are thick when you first open the bottle so make sure you stir the inks before hand) and a medium amount of pressure for a good print!

    When you are screen printing keep your strokes with the Squeegee in one direction.. most screen printers are able to get all the ink on the t shirt with one stroke but if you do have to use more than one do not be tempted to just push the Squeegee up after you pulled it down… put the Squeegee back to the top of the screen again and pull it down… if you mix up your strokes you will end up with a messy screen print.

    Don’t flash cure as it will take too long to do… you will only be able to manage at most 30 prints per hour if you flash cure your prints after printing each color.


    Great thread I am sure this is going to help so man people get started screen printing. My top tips would be…

    1. Not to over expose your screen as this can cause light to leak through from the exposed sections of your screen and start exposing the parts that you do not want exposed, causing you print to be fuzzy and not defined.
    2. When you are buying a carousel press if you are doing more than one color then it is important to make sure when you are attaching your screens to the press that it does not move. Make sure that you buy a press with micro registration because this will come in real handy if it does end up moving you can adjust the press to get it to line up into the right position again.
    Also make sure that you buy a press that clamps onto the screen using a bite bar and not just two separate washers as this will help stop the screen moving.. presses with washes tend to slide the screen over a little bit when you are twisting and tightening these washers.
    3. Even if you align you screen perfectly on your press things like stencil drag can cause the registration to change for instance if you push your squeegee up this will push the stencil forward towards the press slightly this means if you are doing multiple color jobs you should try to compensate for this on your other presses.
    Stencil drag can become worse if you are using thick inks because the friction is a lot greater this means that you should try to use smooth creamy and thin inks if you want to minmize stencil drag. Ink can get thick if it isnt used much or if it is really cold it can stiffen up.. you should store your ink at room temperature.


    I would also make sure that your off contact (space between the t shirt and the screen) when printing isn’t too much else you will have alignment issues and screen drag will be worse.

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