Creating custom-made articles of clothing such as t-shirts is an extremely popular application for modern technology. The lack of limitations on print size and placement makes screen printing a truly unique art form, and the process is relatively simple.
Many people make their prints, either as artistic statements or to apply family heirlooms that are too fragile to be worn. However, not everyone is aware of how screen printing works, and there are several factors involved in ensuring top-quality prints.
1. Check Starting Point
The starting point for creating any print is the image you wish to use. This may sound obvious, but this point cannot be understated. The colors, shapes, and even the halftones of your image will affect how well it transfers to a shirt.
Images with high contrast – very dark and very light sections – tend to work best, as they provide clear boundaries where the ink can absorb into the fabric. In addition, images with lots of straight lines and sharp angles work well, as they will provide nice clean edges.
Avoid images that include blurred or indistinct sections (such as a soft sunset), as this will make it more difficult to determine where the ink should be applied. You can take the help of professionals like screen printing Vancouver contractors to ensure high-quality screen print.
2. Essential Tools And Supplies
Once you have chosen your image, you will need to transfer it to transparency. You can purchase specially made screens for this purpose, or you can follow these steps:
Print out your image in reverse (mirror) on an overhead transparency sheet using an inkjet printer. Using painter’s tape, cover the surface of your screen with a single layer of tape, leaving no open areas.
Gently pull off the paper backing from the transparency and hold it up to a strong light source (such as a window). Using an indelible marker, trace over all lines in your image onto the tape through the backside of the transparency.
Remove the tape and inkjet print from the screen, and you will be left with a clean representation of your image on the surface of your screen. This is known as a “screen stencil.” Once you have created several screens for use in this project, stack them together with their printing sides facing inwards, and store them in a safe place.
3. Create Screen Printing Emulsion
Two components are required for screen printing, both available through art supply stores or screen print shops – emulsion solution (a mixture of photosensitive chemicals) and sensitizer (which serves to “activate” the emulsion).
In addition, you will need an inexpensive ultraviolet lamp intended for use in curing fingernail polish. This can be purchased at a beauty supply store or a craft shop. To create the emulsion solution mix the two chemicals together in a wide, shallow dish to ensure even spreading later on. Leave it undisturbed (without any air bubbles) for roughly five minutes.
Using a paintbrush, coat both sides of your screen with the emulsion solution. Use an even amount of pressure and ensure that no area is left uncovered; this will cause problems later when you try to print. Once both sides are coated, place the screen in a low-light area (such as a closed box) for roughly an hour.
4. Activating Emulsion
Take your activator solution and apply it to both sides of your screen in the same way you applied the emulsion; make sure there are no areas left uncovered. Once both sides are coated, place the screen in direct sunlight for about five minutes (or until it has completely dried).
Turn off the lamp and take the screen out of the box. It should now be ready to use! Zephyr stencils can also be created at this time using the same process. You may choose to skip this step, but screen stencils are preferred for high-quality prints.
5. Preparing Shirt
Alright – now it’s time to start printing! Start by laying down your garment on a flat surface, with any tags or logos pointing upwards. One by one, hang your screens over the shirt and arrange them in a way that you feel looks best.
Once they’re ready, place two pieces of tape on either side of each screen to prevent any accidental shifting or sliding. Professional like t shirt printing Calgary contractors can help in creating perfect quality screen printed t-shirt.
6. Mixing And Applying Ink
Your ink should be water-based and created using a pigment medium. Once prepared, you are ready to begin! Place your ink in a disposable cup and set it aside. Add water to the ink drop-by-drop, stirring between each addition until it has reached roughly the consistency of milk.
The mixture should be pourable, but not too watery. Using the paintbrush, apply an even layer of ink to your screen by placing it on top of the shirt and slowly dragging it downward. Precisely follow these steps to get the desired results.