Screen Printing White Plastisol Ink? How to? Here’s How

Screen Printing White Ink

Whether you are new to the business, or have been printing for 20 years almost all screen printers encounter a white ink problem when printing. Sometimes the ink does not get great coverage, sometimes the ink is too thick and feels bulky, or too thin. The solution to this problem is not related to the press or the even the ink brand, although some brands are better then others. The problem lies within the process of which the white ink is being printed.

The Screen

If you are coating a screen for white ink versus coating a screen for black ink, the process should be different. Black ink is a dark color and therefore does not need multiple hits, or a thick print. On the other hand, white ink is a light color and in order for light colors to look opaque on your shirts they would need to be printed and flashed multiple times. Normally you would print 1-2 hits of white, then flash the garments then print another 1-2 inks – but I have personally had to print-flash-print more than 2 times in my shop because I just wasn’t getting the right coverage. So I decided to do a little research and I found out I was emulsioning screens wrong all along. When making a screen that is being used for white ink, it is important to coat the screens from both side and let it dry. Once the screen is dry you will need to coat the screen once more on the outside (the side that touches the garments), this allows a thicker layer of emulsion on the outside. Once the screen is exposed (you will need to expose for a longer time), you can run your fingers across the outside and feel the opening of the stencil. This method allows for more ink to be laid onto the garment with each stroke, which allows for better coverage.

The Squeegee

It’s important to always keep a sharp squeegee, but when printing white ink it is crucial that your squeegee is sharper than ever. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen blotchy prints come out due to a dull squeegee. You will also have to hold the squeegee at a 80-90 degree angle to allow the corner of the rubber to push the ink through the open mesh. It is also recommended to stand above the squeegee, not behind it – this will reduce the back pains many printers complain about.

Flash

In order to get great coverage screen printing white ink, you must make sure the garment as well as the ink is flashed in between each print. This means that the ink gets to a state where it is not cured yet, but dry enough to allow another layer to be printed above. When one layer is printed over another dry later of white ink, the results are a bright white opaque layer of white ink.

The Garment

Another important thing to look at when trying to get great coverage with white ink is the garment being printed. Sometimes the garments are made of heavyweight material and the ink seeps in much deeper into the fibers. Therefore more ink will need to be deposited in each print in order to get a vivd print. On the other hand, polyester garments requires less layers of ink. This is because the ink does not seep into the material as much.

 

Stay up to date with to our screen printing NYC blog.

 

Check out Ryonet’s blog post on white ink.

Should I Spend The Extra Money On a Softer Better Shirt

When ordering custom shirts customers are always asking for better quality shirts as well as many other questions. But is it really worth it to invest in a better types of garments? The answer to this is really that it depends on what the shirts are being used for.

If you are ordering the t-shirts as a promotional giveaway in effort to advertise your business, then of course the less money spent for the most exposure the better. Therefore pick the cheapest shirt with the least amount of ink colors bring printed on it and save yourself some money. T-shirts are a walk billboard, so regardless of whether or not the shirts are rough, soft, big, or small your message will still get across.

Now if you are trying to start a clothing line or looking to order garments for your retail store, I would definitely suggest to go with a higher quality shirt. At the end of the day we’re all in it to make money, so it is important to look at the numbers associated with the shirts. A customer comes in and places an order for a basic Gildan t-shirt with a 1-color front imprint and tag print on the inside neck area. He pays just about $7-$9 per each t-shirt and can probably retail it for $15, maybe $20 if the brand is already built and there is a demand for the product. On the other hand, take for example a Next Level Apparel or Bella Canvas t-shirt with the same 1-color front and tag print on the inner neck area. You might end up paying closer to $9-$11, but the retail markup is higher because the shirt is a much better and softer feeling shirt. The end user would actually pay more for a higher quality garment, probably around $23-$30 depending on the brand. So in essence, if you are an owner of a retail store, clothing line, or trying to start a line I would most defiantly suggest to try either a Next Level Apparel shirt, or Bella Canvas shirt.

Next time you stop by your local screen printing company, ask them to show you a Next Level Apparel t-shirt and you will see what I mean.

Screen Printing NYC

Printing Images On T-Shirts – Can You Do It?

The simple answer to this question is YES, if the price is right we can do anything! But I will briefly explain the process and suggest what I would do in this case.

If you take a look at a picture you will notice there are an enormous amount of colors in the picture. That is because the picture is printed using a CMYK printer which really just prints dots in either Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black and tricks your eyes into believing there are plenty of colors. This same process can also be done to print images onto t-shirts and other garments.

CMYK Screen PrintingCMYK printing works by arranging the 4 basic colors in different patterns to give an illusion of various different colors. In screen printing it would require 4 screens with a 305 mesh count on them as well as a very accurate registration system. If one of the colors are just the slightest bit off, the print will look way off. In addition, the artwork would need to be separated properly in photoshop with each color in a different halftone angle. This is a long and tedious process, which is why we tell our customers that we require at least 100 shirts ordered for CMYK printing.

Halftone Screen printingWhat I normally suggest to customers is taking the image and converting it into black and white, allowing us to print it in one color with halftones on either a black shirt, or white shirt. The photo can still look realistic, but the process is by far much easier than CMYK printing. What we do is convert the photo into greyscale in Photoshop, then bitmap it into halftones and burn it onto a screen. The halftone comes out onto the screen in the shapes of dots, and the closer the dots are to one another the darker the print will be. As the dots start to further themselves from one another the lighter the print will be, which will allow the shirt color to come through and display the image.

Looking for a Screen Printing NYC company? We’re here to help!

Questions & Answers: Ordering Custom Printed Apparel

Making money is tough so I always think twice about spending my money. When ordering custom shirts you want to be assured you are going with the right screen printing company – this way your money doesn’t go to waste. Here are some questions an answers we generally hear from our customers when they place an order:

Can I print only 1 shirt? I want to show it around and you will defiantly get another order from me…

Quite simply the answer is no, which is the same answer you will find in most screen printing shops. The reason is because screen printing is a process that is designed to print garments in bulk. Rarely do I ever hear of shops printing 1-6 shirts, especially on multi color jobs. A lot more than just “printing the shirt” goes into making a t-shirt. In fact it involves every part of the printing operation from the screen maker, to the artists to the screen printer.

I want to print a light color ink on a dark colored garment…

To achieve this we are required to add an underbase to the job. This means we actually make a whole other screen just for white ink which is laid down underneath any color. This is required for printing all light color inks on dark colored shirts, for example red ink on black shirts. This will also increase the price by an additional screen and additional print color.

Can I come pick up my order later today?

Contrary to the common belief, most orders are not printed on the same day. To begin, the printing shop will need to order the goods. Whether its a warehouse in New Jersey, New York or Chicago the goods will still take 1-3 days to arrive. Once the goods come in they need to be sorted and prepped for printing. In the meantime the artist needs to prep artwork and the screen maker needs to make screens. These are all processes that take time, therefore jobs take 7-10 days to be completed.

Can you print over the seams? Maybe over the front pocket of a hoodie?

In order to achieve a perfect screen print, the surface being printed must be an even surface. When printing over a seam, or a raised surface the ink generally ends up blotchy and caked up. But the customer is always right and we never say no to our customers. So after letting the customer know that we are not responsible for damages in this case, we will print over seams.

I only have a JPEG file, will this work?

Generally speaking, as long as the file is made of high resolution (300dpi) and not made of plenty of colors we can work with the file. But to achieve a perfect print it is recommended to use a vector file.

Can I supply my own garments? Or do I have to use yours?

Every screen printing shop varies with this. Our shop allows customer to provide their own garments, but we charge a surcharge and warn the customers that we are not responsible for damages.

Hope these Q&A help when you are ready to make an order for some custom tees and remember if you are looking for a screen printing company in Brooklyn, were here to serve!

The Making Of A Screen From Start To Finish

Screen Printing It all seems easy when you come to pick up your order and your shirts are nicely folded in a box with your awesome print facing right side up. But do you know what is really takes to get your design onto your desired garment? Do you know how much work went into it?

Screen Printing Much of the work lies in the screen making process, the process in which a screen maker develops your artwork onto a screen. A screen is made up a silk mesh which is stretched out, really tightly, over a wood, or aluminum frame. We like to use aluminum frames because they do not warp and allow the mesh not to get too loose. If the mesh does eventually get loose, common when printing with automatic presses because of the pressure, the frame can be re-stretched with new mesh. This allows your investment to keep working for you, you buy the screen one and keep using the frame. In addition, you can recycle screens (we call it reclaim) to allow you to use the same screen with numerous different designs on it.

Screen PrintingSo how do screens work you might ask? It’s actually really simple if you break it down and think about it. It starts off with a frame that has mesh stretched over it. The the screen is washed and rinsed off with screen degreaser, this takes off small dust and dirt particles which are sitting on the mesh – kind of like washing the screen with soap to prepare it for the next step. After the screen has dried fully, the screen maker then applied what is called emulsion to the screen. Emulsion is a substance that is applied in a liquid format and is light sensitive, so must be handled in a dark room. It is similar to the material used to develop old films into pictures. The emulsion is pored into a scoop coated and spread over the screen several times on each side to allow an even coat on each side. The screen/s are then set on shelves to dry, so the emulsion can harden and turn into a solid state. After the emulsion is dried, the screen maker then takes the artwork, printed in black ink on transparency sheets, and applies it to the back of the screen in the desired placement. Some shops wing the placement, we use a Trilock registration system by M&R which allows for perfect registration and placement every time. The screen then get shot with a UV light and the areas which have black ink (via the transparency) are not exposed to light. Exposing emulsion to UV light hardens and seals the emulsion onto the screen, while the areas that are not exposed to Screen Printinglight stay in the same state and are rinsed out with water. This rinsing process removes the “unexposed” emulsion and leaves open areas which will eventually allow ink to flow through them. This process is duplicated as many times as needed since it takes one screen for every color in every design.

 

Now you are more aware of the process when you place an order with your local screen printing shop.

Understanding The Fabrics That Make Our T-Shirts

What kind of shirts wont shrink? What type of material will allow my body to breathe? Which is the softest material?These are all questions that come about when deciding what type of t-shirts to order. There are plenty of different t-shirts out on the market – some made of cotton and others of polyester, but which is the best? This really all depends on the purpose of the shirts.

Gildan T-ShirtIf the shirts would be used for promotional purposes, chances are you would want to give them the cheapest shirts possible. This way your still able to get your message across with spending the least amount of money as possible. For a promotional job I would suggest using 100% Cotton 5-6 oz t-shirts, something like the Delta 11730 or Gildan 5000. These shirts are affordable in price, come in various sizes and somewhat long lasting. The downside with these shirts is how much they shrink when put through wash cycles. But then again what the heck, these shirts will most probably be worn once and then used as Pajamas.

Gildan Dryblend Another common used t-shirt material would be a 50/50 blend, that is 50% cotton and 50% polyester. These types of shirts are generally ordered by sports organizations and contractors because the fabric allows the body to breathe. The upside of these shirts is that they shrink less than the cotton tees – since they are made of up 50% synthetic material (polyester), they tend to shrink less than the basic t-shirts. Some sports teams and organizations even go for 100% Polyester moisture wicking shirts, which keep the body cool and absorb the persons sweat.

Bella TriblendFinally, a little bit more expensive and my personal favorite fabric, is the Triblend material. This is made up of 3 materials – cotton, polyester and rayon, hence the name TRI blend. Most of these feel silk smooth on the body, I suppose this is due to the rayon material and the combed finish. These are a bit trickier to print, since each of the material has a different burning temperature and ink curing temperature. In order to print the printer needs to find a “sweet spot” where the ink cures, but the garments don’t burn. Another thing to mention is the garments most often look heather, this is the old vintage look that you see on shirts.

Deciding on which fabric should be pretty simple, but your local screen printer should always be able to point you in the right direction and make suggestions for you.

The Best Tips For Starting Your Own Clothing Line

252 ApparelAre you up for starting your own line of T-Shirts? Possibly hoodies and other items? Do you think you have what it takes? It seems all simple and easy from the outside, but going into the new venture without a too much of a clue of what’s going on might really hurt your pockets.

252 Brand T-ShirtsStarting a clothing line consists of a few different steps. To begin, you have to develop art, or a product that is in demand and customers would be willing to buy. For example, coming up with artwork such as the name brand of your line and printing them on basic tee’s will probably not be in high demand. This is because no one knowns who your are and what your brand is, face it your brand is not famous yet. The better way to approach is to follow the trend and give people what they want, like hemmed bottom shirts with skull prints along the front. Or better yet, follow celebrities on their Instagram and Twitter account, that will surely give you a lot of ideas. I have found that for your line, 252 Apparel, the best selling items are shirts the ones thats are based off of Kanye West. He is seen wearing Metallica shirts with bleach stains on them, so we design Metallica style t-shirts and add them to our line.

Furthermore you will need to come up with a channel of distribution to which you will be selling this line to. I can’t even begin to the tell you the amount of times customers come into our shop with an “new” clothing line that have no idea how they will be selling their products. You do not want to spend money working on designs and ordering merchandise without having a direction of where this will sell. Your best bet is to contact some local retail shops and ask them if they would be willing to sell your clothing on consignment. This would allow you to both test if your product is a good one as well as get your brand name out onto the market.

The next step would be to now come up with an appropriate name brand and logo. Try to think of something catchy that people will remember, but not to “heavy” where it will not be appropriate for branding. We based ours off of an area code where one of our owners live, 252 Apparel.

Finally you will need to find a trustworthy and reliable screen printing company who can handle your orders no matter how busy you are. You don’t want to start taking in orders and not be able to have them printed because your printer is “too busy” for your order. It is crucial to keep your quality at its best, after all that is how you will your customers will keep coming back!

Screen Printing – How to make sure ink will not come off in the wash

The most common question and concern we get from our customers is “how do I know this wont come off in the wash?”, or “Please use the good ink, the last printer didn’t and the ink came off in the wash”. Little do they know, this has nothing to do with using good inks, bad ink or different brand inks. What they don’t know is the issue of ink peeling is off is directly related to how the garment is cured.

screen printingCuring inks is the process at which the plastisol ink, made of of PVC and plasticizer, is chemically bonded to the natural garment fibers. This process is also sometimes called fusion. The way to to cure inks is generally the same on almost all types of plastisol inks, heat the ink up (on all layers) to about 325-350 degrees Fahrenheit using a conveyor dryer. At this temperature a chemical reaction occurs which fuses, or bonds the ink into the fibers of the garments and permanently secures the ink onto the garments. Once this chemical reaction takes place and the ink is considered “cured” it would be nearly impossible for the ink to comes off in the wash, peel off or scratched off the shirt.

screen printingThere are two major tests which most screen printers use in order to determine if plastisol ink is cured. The first and most common method used is what screen printers call the “stretch test”. The stretch test consists of the print-master running the shirt through the conveyor dryer and let them cool off for a bit. Once the shirt is cooled off the print-master stretches the fabric just enough so that the ink can stretch as well. If the ink cracks more than 20% it means that the ink is not cured and most defiantly will come off in the washing machine.

The second and least common test would be to run the shirt through a few washing machine cycles. Ink that is not cured will come off within the first 1-2 cycles, but if the ink stays on the shirt and does not crack – you are good to go.

When a customer orders his/her batch of customized garments, they always want to be assured that their money is not going to waste. Many times they ask about the ink coming off in the wash and it is smart to educate them and inform them of how you dry your shirts. Also it would be a good idea to show them samples of previous items printed which were put through multiple wash cycles and stretch tested.  This will give them the reassurance needed to trust you as their local screen printing company.

The Process Of Ordering Custom T-Shirts

Over the course of the last decade the process of printing t-shirts has become easier and easier. This is largely due to the fact that technology has evolved and advanced making it easier to make shirts.

t-shirt printing brooklyn  Whether you are ordering custom t shirts online or walking into a local screen printing shop – the first step will be to decide what exactly you are looking for. I cant even begin to tell you how many times customers walk into our shop inquiring about orders printed garments who don’t even know what they are looking for. You can order t-shirts and other promotional items for various reasons such as Bar/Bat Mitzvah giveaways, company uniforms and school uniforms.

The next step, and probably the most important step, would be to design and prepare the artwork to be printed on the garments. The reason I say this is the most important step is because without proper artwork you can not achieve perfect screen printing. For example, artwork downloaded in a JPEG format off of the internet is most often only 72 dpi (dots per inch), which would make the art very pixilated and this would be reflected in the final print. The proper way to send your artwork is in a vector format such as AI, PSD, EPS and PDF, using 300 dots per inch.

screen printing in brooklyn
After sending the artwork and placing the order, the final steps are taken place by the screen printing company. These steps would be to first color separate the artwork and print them into films. These films are then used to burn screens, since screen printing requires a screen for ever color in every design. Once the screens are burned, the press operator then dries the screens and tapes up the edges – in order to avoid and ink leaking out. He then sets up the screens on the press and aligns each screen in order to assure that the print comes out in the desired place and centered. He/she then loads ink into each screens and starts printing shirts and running them through the dryer. Shirts are then folded, boxed and your order is ready!

Ordering t-shirts from your local screen printing company should be a simple and efficient process since t-shirts are a particularly  common item. screen printing shop near me

5 Common Screen Printing Mistake To Avoid

5 Common Screen Printing Mistakes To Avoid

Screen printing, like any sort of design work, is an art that requires experience and skill to pull off properly. However, many people do not understand the expertise required and make the mistakes explained below.

 

Design Problems

Too many people try to print using low-resolution graphics, and they generally use a print size smaller than 300 ppi. The end product is going to be blurry or indistinguishable, and it’ll need to be redone. Also, make sure the image can be printed correctly using the correct mesh before you even start to avoid further problems.

 

Not Switching Your Mesh

One size does not fit all when it comes to mesh. A few different kinds of mesh is fine for basic printing, but when you need something that is high-resolution, lower meshes won’t cut it. Get several meshes in the 190 to 305 range if you want that full color, photorealistic image to print well.

 

Ink Straight From The Can

Many ink brands claim that their ink can be used right out of the can. This is simply not true. Although the ink may be high quality, it may need to be thinned out a touch for it to work well. The problem stems from the ink being too creamy and not flowing through the higher mesh well. Thinning it allows for the ink to flow properly to produce the desired image.

 

Using Old Equipment

Many people have equipment that their budget dictates. In other words, they have old equipment because they can’t buy new printers. If you’re using a four color printer, you’re behind. You really need to invest in a six color printer to get the best print you can get, and you’ll land bigger and better clients.

In other businesses, laser printers are still being used. Laser printers became obsolete 15 years ago. They were replaced by inkjet printers for film, and they can be purchased for around $200 these days. Images will be darker and lines will be more crisp than with a traditional laser printer, and your jobs will set-up faster.

 

Proper Mesh Tension

This is a common occurrence with people new to screen printing. If you have ever seen a garment with a rough print, then that means the ink on the garment stuck to the ink on the screen. If you hear a “pop” when you release the screen, then the mesh was too loose and the garment stuck to it.

You’ll also see prints with a white base have white specs on the outer layers. This is caused by the white ink being pulled upward, drying, and peaking through the color sitting on top.

Screen printing takes some practice to get good at. Don’t get too upset if you have done any of the mistakes outlined above. It’s also a good idea to have clients sign-off on the design beforehand. This practice protects you from having to waste money on multiple prints because the client doesn’t like the design.

Jessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in graphic design, marketing, and printing. She currently writes for 777 Sign, her go to place for banner signs, custom flags and custom signs printing.