Posts filed under ‘How-To’

How to Adjust Midtones on a Complicated Design

Galaxy

How do I adjust midtones on a complicated design so the print will look good? This was a question posed by a Printwear reader, and here is Kieth Stevens’ response:

Proper and consistent emulsion control is of the utmost importance in achieving good results on a complicated print. Make sure that the screen emulsion is correct, meaning there must be enough emulsion on the bottom of the screen (the side that touches the shirt) to control and contain the ink being deposited.

Think of the emulsion as a gasket; if you have a leak, then the ink will spread. This will cause the ink dots to begin to touch, commonly known as dot gain. Sometimes this can be difficult to control due to variables like the type of shirt fabric, but the better the ink containment, the better the results. This all boils down to the emulsion coverage on the screen.

 

International Coatings Blog | Forum for Screen Printing Tips, Ideas, Thoughts

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been screen printing for over 37 years, teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs. Kieth is also the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Golden Image Award Gold Winner, which is given out by SGIA (the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

 

 

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August 31, 2017 at 4:56 am 1 comment

How can I get started with screen-printing trucker caps or baseball caps?

There are some cap companies that offer a program where they will send you the unsewn front piece of the cap, so that it can be screen printed and sent back to them for finishing. If using this route, be sure to allow enough time for the fabrication of the caps after the printed fabric pieces have been sent.

For printing on finished caps, look for a specialized platen accessory that helps clamp the hat down during printing. Also, make sure to test whether the cap can be cured through the dryer at the temperature required to cure the ink.  For certain heat-sensitive cap materials, a low-cure additive may be necessary.

Another method is to screen-print transfers that you can then apply to the caps using a heat press machine specifically for caps.

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs. Kieth is also the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Golden Image Award Gold Winner, which is given out by SGIA (the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

July 27, 2017 at 5:06 am 1 comment

Image Washing Out After Exposure?

Be careful not to use excessive water pressure as this can also tear parts of unexposed emulsion.

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs. Kieth is also the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Golden Image Award Gold Winner, which is given out by SGIA (the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

July 20, 2017 at 9:57 am 1 comment

How do I properly clean the ink off my screens?

Try to remove as much of the ink as you can using a plastic scraper that is flat, but not sharp, to avoid ripping the screen. Many people now use eco-friendly solvents made from natural sources like soybean oil or orange oil, and some still use mineral spirits. Keep in mind that many of the natural type solvents often leave an oily residue. This can be removed with a stronger cleaning solvent and will help in avoiding any issues for the tape to adhere to the screen later on.

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs. Kieth is also the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Golden Image Award Gold Winner, which is given out by SGIA (the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

July 7, 2017 at 5:20 am 1 comment

How can I avoid separations overlapping on a T-shirt print?

This was a question posed by a Printwear reader, and here is Kieth Stevens’ response:

The first thing I would check on the job is the screen tension. Screen tension has much to say about influencing the registration of images. Typically, low tension is an underestimated culprit of many things. However, the opposite can also apply. If one screen is high tension and the other ones are low, registration can also be out of sync.

If all the images align on the film positives, then the next issue is the screens. For example, if you have a five-color job and all the screens are in the correct tension range except for one, then I would expect that the one screen out of tension would be the culprit.

One other thing to check is whether or not you are using some screens with high mesh counts. Smaller mesh openings require more pressure to get the ink to pass, which in turn reduces the opacity. If the screen tension is not optimal, this can often cause blurry images because the screen mesh moves as it is being printed; which brings me back to why images don’t register properly, one or more of the screens might be off in tension.

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs. Kieth is also the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Golden Image Award Gold Winner, which is given out by SGIA (the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

June 28, 2017 at 5:35 am 1 comment

Screen Printing Startup Equipment, Part III

1818 on SHHD Auto StandThis is Part III and the last part of John Levocz’ article on what equipment a start-up printer would need.  Read Part I or Part II on our blog or read the entire article in Printwear magazine.

OTHER EQUIPMENT

There are also nonessential but helpful equipment and ancillary pieces for your new business, such as a homemade or purchased washout booth. Normal water and high-pressure water are used to clean screens. If you use the same booth to wash emulsion and ink from screens, keep it clean. If you make a homemade unit, add back-lighting to view emulsion washout for proper detail. A pressure washer is a nice addition to your washout booth for removing emulsion from screens.

Another helpful piece of equipment is some type of heat temperature reader. this can either be temperature tapes, a heat gun, or a thermoprobe. The heat tapes are the least expensive of the three, but heat guns have dropped in price and are now available at a variety of of building supply stores and tool centers. Because curing is such an important factor to screen printing, it’s essential to monitor the process daily and on different types of garments.

I also recommend a spotting gun. This tool removes cured ink spots that always seem to magically on the finished garment, which usually comes from ink on fingers that touch the shirt. This spotting gun allows you to remove the ink without damaging the shirt.

While the above is not an exhaustive list of necessary startup equipment, it gives you a good idea of the most important items to focus on when starting a screen printing business.

John Levocz, International Coatings’ Northeast regional sales director, has been in the screen printing industry for more than 30 years and has broad experience in graphics and textile printing. John is a contributor to International Coatings’ blogs and holds print seminars all over the country.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

June 20, 2017 at 5:31 am 1 comment

Can I use sunlight to burn my screens if I run a small shop with minimal equipment?

Yes, I used to do this when our exposing unit was too small for the screen, or if the bulb had burned out and we couldn’t wait for a new one.

As an aside, this is a method I generally do not recommend, but if you have no other options, it is possible. To begin, use spray adhesive on the film and then press it onto the shirt-side of the screen to be burned. Make sure that the adhesive is sprayed evenly so as not to leave spots of heavier deposits on the film. The trick to this method is not to expose the other side of the screen (squeegee-side) while it’s being handled under the sun.

To avoid exposing the other side of the screen, I’ve used a cart on wheels that is at least as big as the screen. Cut a piece of foam that is at least as thick as the screen is and fits on the inside of the screen. Cover the foam with black T-shirt material, then lay the screen with the substrate side up and place the film in position. Don’t forget to put the film face down.

Now place a piece of glass on top of the screen that is at least as big as the screen and place some weighty object, such as a quart of ink, to push the glass, film, and screen down onto the foam beneath. Be sure to put the weight around the design on the film so that it can be exposed evenly by the sun. The weight will promote the best contact between all the layers. Now simply cart the screen to where you want to expose it.

Another tricky part is getting the right emulsion exposure. You may think that on a cloudy day, the UV rays aren’t passing through, but they are, and on a sunny day, they can be even more intense. Then there is the midday overhead sun which is much stronger than the afternoon sun in regards to the amount of UV available for exposure. I strongly recommend not using a pure photopolymer emulsion as those are just too sensitive for this technique. It may take some experimentation to get the exposure just right.

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

May 18, 2017 at 1:29 pm 1 comment

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