Screen printing is not a complicated process. It can seem a little overwhelming when you are first getting started. You have to buy materials and supplies, master techniques, and also make a lot of mistakes in the process.
Whether you are thinking of display printing as a business or a hobby, there are some tips that will make this process a little bit easier and ensure you succeed. Below are some great screen-printing tips to get you started.
Starting with high-quality shirts
New screen printers usually start with cheap shirts to save money when getting started. Buying cheap shirts will save you upfront, but it is going to cost you, both in terms of time and money. When you get low-quality shirts, you will have a hard time with them because they might not absorb ink well. They tend to have inconsistencies that make it hard to print on them or can contain fibers that don’t work well with the printing process.
If you want to succeed as soon as you get started, choose high-quality shirts. It is possible to get quality without having to spend a lot. Bulk T-shirts and blank hoodies especially from leading brands tend to be affordable. You will end up with quality to make sure the results are great. You might notice your budget going further than you expected when you buy bulk blanks instead of looking for the cheapest shirts.
Watching Video Tutorials
You will find many books and written tutorials out there and they are going to help you learn more about screen printing. If you want to have a rough idea of the process, then watch video tutorials because you will learn a lot. There is only so much you can get from writing. Watching a video tutorial is great because you can see how things are done instead of reading it and trying to imagine it.
You also get to pick up new techniques when you watch video tutorials. If you have some experience, a good video tutorial is going to help you learn how to perfect your process and get great results. There are many video tutorials about screen printing on YouTube. Take time to check them out, and you are going to see much greater success when you start to work on your own projects.
Using high-quality graphics
You cannot expect to get high-quality results if you use low-quality graphics. There is no way around this. You have to use high-quality graphics if you want screen-printed shirts with smooth text and crisp designs.
Make sure you have high-resolution images. If you choose low-resolution images, they are going to appear blurry even if you are a master at printing. If you are using many colors, then make sure that they have been separated so that the product has proper registration.
Choosing the right screens
If you are getting started with screen printing, then keep in mind that you cannot use the same type of screen for every project. Screens come in a wide range of options, with varying mesh counts. You need to choose the right count because it will determine the final product. Those getting started are often sold just one type, but the more experienced ones know they need to have more than one option in their inventory.
The standard ones start from 100 and under to 400 and up. You can do most simple jobs using screens with lower mesh counts. If you are working on photorealistic or detailed prints, or you want to create gradients and halftones, then you need to choose finer screens. Once you know how to select the right screen, you will be able to create high-quality finished products.
It is also a good idea to check the tension of the screens from time to time. With time, the screens become loose, and this is going to affect print quality. You might be forced to replace the screen or adjust the tension, but it will depend on the type of screen you are using.
Checking your equipment regularly
When you start printing using automatic equipment or manually, make sure you check it so as to avoid frustration. When using the press, the screws that hold it together can loosen and allow the platens and screens to move during the printing process, which can lead to blurred prints.
Ensure your screens are clean. You can easily ruin your current run because the leftover ink from the last run can easily mess things up. Take a couple of minutes to check everything and ensure it is okay before you get started. This is going to take some time, but it is better than running an entire batch and having to repeat the entire process again. This is also going to waste a lot of money.
When you are done with a batch, clean the screen and other equipment. When you take good care of your supplies, they are going to get the most life out of it and you will be ready to get started when you need to work on another batch.
Doing a test print
Always do a test print, even if it is a project that you have done before or something that seems simple. When you do the test run, you will make sure everything has been correctly set up and the final product will be good. It is more affordable to do a test print and make the necessary adjustments than to run an entire batch because something didn’t come out the way you expected.
The process of screen printing can seem overwhelming and complicated when you are new. If you use the above tips, you can improve your likelihood of success when printing your design. Practice is the best way to perfect your technique.