If you have decided to learn how to screen print t-shirts, then you will be pleased to learn that there are many things you can do to achieve professional results starting with the first shirts you print. For the best results screen printing, follow each of these time-tested tips:
Tip: Use the Correct Screen Size and Tension for the Design You are Printing
Since screen printing screen material comes in a variety of different mesh sizes, it is important that you choose the proper size of mesh for the design you are going to print. For example, you will need a larger mesh screen for designs that have multiple colors, while smaller mesh screens can be used for single color designs.
In addition to the mesh size of your screen, the screen's tension is also vital to get a clean print. Make sure that your screen is very tight on its frame and tighten it if it becomes loose as you print with it. A screen that is too loose will not print a crisp image.
Tip: Place Pieces of Cardboard Under Each Corner of Your Screen's Frame to Keep It Off of the Fabric
Since you have never screen printed before, you might be surprised to learn that your printing screen should not be in direct contact with the t-shirt's fabric when you are printing. Instead, the mesh of the screen should sit just above the fabric. The easiest way to accomplish this is to place small pieces of scrap cardboard under each corner of your screen's frame. This technique will result in cleaner images and your screen will not get gunked up with excess ink quite as quickly.
Tip: Print Using the Lightest Color of Ink First
When you print a multi-color design, you should always print the lightest color first. In addition, you should also print the smallest design area first, followed by the larger design areas. Using these printing techniques will keep the bottom of your printing screens from becoming contaminated by the previously printed ink colors.
Tip: Use a Contractor's Square to Square Your Designs on the Fabric
Finally, before you ever attempt to print on fabric, first you must use a contractor's square to square up the design on the fabric. This step is vital because it will give you an image that is perfectly aligned on the shirts. This is important because shirts that are misprinted cannot be sold and create waste for your new screen printing business.