Screen Printing

Staying Focused with Custom Apparel Design

April 27, 2023 |

When it comes to creating a design layout for a hat, hoodie or T-shirt, there are some basic concepts it’s important to keep in mind to create a design that’s pleasing to the eye, catches your attention and draws you in. One of these concepts is focal point.

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Video: Talking Screen-print Setups at Impressions Expo Shop Talk

October 31, 2022 |

T-shirt screen-printing veterans Danny Gruninger, of Denver, Colorado, based DayBirds Printing, and Rick Roth, founder of New England’s Mirror Image Screenprinting & Embroidery and Ink Kitchen, talk fast, efficient setups as part of the Shop Talk education series at the 2022 Impressions Expo in Fort Worth, Texas

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What’s Special About SFX Printing?

June 30, 2022 |

Garment decorators always are looking for ways to create special effects (SFX) with their screen-printed designs by offering specialty inks — puff, glitter, suede, shimmer, high-density and more — to keep their artwork on the cutting edge.

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On Design: Lion-Hearted

May 18, 2022 |

According to Erik Cartmill, president of Cornerstone Impressions, Fort Worth, Texas, his business operates on the following philosophy: “Where there’s a Bill, there’s a way.”

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Textile Dryer Basics for Screen Printing

March 22, 2022 |

Buying the right textile dryer for screen printing apparel comes down to three factors: choosing a reputable equipment manufacturer; basing your purchase on your shop’s production capabilities; and buying a larger-than-needed dryer to allow for future production growth.

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Doing a Design Mashup

July 1, 2021 |

Using stock art is a great way to create layouts quickly and easily, whether you’re a newcomer with minimal art experience or a seasoned pro. It’s also a great option for customers on a budget who don’t want to spend a lot of money for custom artwork.

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The Nuts & Bolts of Hybrid Printing

January 28, 2021 |

As you may have heard by now, hybrid printing is rising in popularity. New screen-printing chemistry is available; decoration on more specialty products is being attempted and achieved; and more new users are adopting this technology into their workflows.

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Pushing the Creative Comfort Zone

August 28, 2020 |

If you’re fortunate enough to have customers that request highly detailed prints, it can be important to consider how you can offer them. There’s a reason that few printers can handle such retail-quality graphics: Most don’t want to be uncomfortable.

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Sustainable Printing Practices: Part 2

July 21, 2020 |

In the February 2020 issue of Impressions, we covered sustainable practices in screen prep, choosing among the multitude of inks, screen-printing production and more. The takeaway: Many screen-printing processes may not be considered green or sustainable, but they certainly can be altered to be as sustainable as possible.

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Sustainable Printing Practices: Part 1

March 3, 2020 |

I’m in the process of adding a bathroom and kitchen to a building on my property. During the process, decisions need to be made, including the types of doors, windows, counter tops and cabinets to be installed. Do I use tile for the shower or a pre-fabricated enclosure? What colors should I paint the walls?

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What’s New in CTS Technology?

March 2, 2020 |

The technology for imaging directly onto screen mesh for screen-printing production has been around for a while now. Industry experts, including manufacturers and decorators, unanimously agree that computer-to-screen (CTS) technology provides a better way to image a screen than older methods, such as film or vellum.

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Getting Your Freelance Fix

January 31, 2020 |

Want to know one of the simplest ways to take your screen-printing shop to the next level? Hiring a professional artist on a freelance basis to help you with difficult jobs can help you expand your capabilities while minimizing labor expenses.

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‘Quick’ Graphic Design

November 21, 2019 |

Quickly designing a graphic is much different than developing a brand-defining logo for a client. When your customer asks, “Can you put this image on a tee, hat or promotional item?” you should understand the breadth of the question.

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Pros and Cons of Screen Printing With Plastisols

October 17, 2019 |

Plastisol inks have been a mainstay of the textile screen-printing industry for the past 40-plus years. Although new technologies are popular in some applications such as high-solids acrylic (HSA), silicones, discharge and new water-based inks, plastisols still are the go-to product for most of the imprinted sportswear market.

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Printing on Tie-Dye

August 27, 2019 |

Clothing trends are cyclical; the popularity of certain concepts ebbs and flows all the time. Such is the current situation with tie-dye. People usually have a love-hate relationship with the tackiness of it, but the tie-dye trend currently is on the rise.

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Athletic Numbering: An Update

April 26, 2019 |

After 43 years of screen printing, I have helped, seen and advised many customers regarding screen-printing best practices for achieving the best results for numbering. The difference, if any, between printing numbers 20 years ago and now is the plethora of fabric options available on the market today.

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The Basics of Water-Based Inks

April 8, 2019 |

If you’re in the screen-printing industry, you’ve probably been hearing about the benefits of water-based ink: the softer hand, the minimal environmental impact, the eradication of toxic byproducts, the long-lasting and breathable comfort, the vibrancy of colors and designs.

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Screen Printing on Tricky Fabrics

April 2, 2019 |

I recently visited Pittsburg, Kan.-based Wilbert Screen Printing to talk with owner Bill Wilbert, and we ended up reminiscing about the 1960s when he had to go to department stores to buy T-shirts for his business since there were no wholesalers from which to buy.

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The Importance of Screen Tension

July 2, 2018 |

Screen-mesh tension plays a very important factor in your final print. Although many factors can affect your print, screen tension should not be overlooked, as it will impact things such as emulsion coating, registration and ink deposit.

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Troubleshooting Screen Printing

June 19, 2018 |

There are many variables that can affect a print’s quality. From the squeegee to the correct cure temperature, every piece of screen-printing equipment used can affect a job’s outcome.

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The Importance of Artwork

May 17, 2018 |

I’ve been creating artwork for the garment-decorating industry since 1986 and I’ve earned every one of my gray hairs because of it. Artwork lies at the heart of all decorating processes in our industry. Without it, we’d be selling blanks.

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Your Underbase is Showing

May 8, 2018 |

It can be scary to realize a print’s underbase is showing when it shouldn’t be. Many times, a design’s top colors should completely cover the underbase, but a variety of things can happen to cause the white print on a dark garment to spread slightly and peek out from beneath the edges of the top colors.

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Printing on Heavyweight Fleece

February 20, 2018 |

Screen printing on fleece is by no means a new process; fleece is only second to T-shirts among garments in terms of printing popularity. This installment of the Impressions Tech Tips Newsletter will feature printing on the American Apparel® Mason Fleece Drop Shoulder Sweatshirt (style HVF496W).

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Decorating on Tri-Blends

October 25, 2017 |

During the past decade, there has been a new revolution in garment-manufacturing technology. Consumer demands have necessitated new fabric and style development using a wide variety of different organic and synthetic fibers.

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Screen Making in a New Era

October 5, 2017 |

Digital computer-to-screen (CTS) imaging and LED-exposure technologies have brought much advancement to the screen-printing industry and, with it, confusion about screen- imaging and exposing choices.

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Optimizing White Ink

October 12, 2016 |

I visit many screen-printing shops around the country — both small and large facilities — and one of the biggest, and costliest, issues that challenges screen printers is working with white ink.

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Quick-Draw Design

May 17, 2016 |

For many screen printers, the thought of drawing a design isn’t appealing. In fact, a lot of experienced artists either don’t draw well or wish their drawing skills were better. 

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Ink Market Trends: Part 2

May 17, 2016 |

Along with the specialty-ink evolution, it’s interesting to see how the advances or applications of other technologies have helped screen-printing industry veterans get where they are today. 

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Ink Market Trends: Part 1

April 18, 2016 |

When it comes to screen printing — specifically inks — I am often asked, “What’s new?” or “What’s trending?” My initial thoughts are, “What has been forgotten?” or “What hasn’t the customer seen?”

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Fitness Apparel In Focus

April 18, 2016 |

With their unique  properties, decorating fitness garments offers screen printers challenges above and beyond those of a regular T-shirt. To solve these challenges, it’s important to first define a “fitness” garment and its qualities compared to those of a “typical” apparel choice.

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The Perfect Coating

March 15, 2016 |

The consumer and retailers of today’s market have driven the textile embellishment industry to research and develop new technologies to meet demands. Those demands include more environmentally friendly inks and prints with a softer hand than that which traditional plastisol inks can provide.

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Training and Talking

February 12, 2016 |

In your screen-printing shop, if you’ve addressed issues dealing with time, workplace rules, staff and space, the good news is you’ve almost completed the path to smooth, efficient workflow. 

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The Evolution of White Inks

January 19, 2016 |

Throughout the decades, we have witnessed a tremendous transition in the white inks that we use every day. Basic inks have evolved, from plastisol and water-based, to the current non-PVC products on the market. Some market trends also have changed white textile screen-printing inks to bring us to where things currently stand.

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Improving Workflow

October 20, 2015 |

Pretend for a moment that all the tasks needed to complete an order are nestled adjacent to a train track that circulates throughout your shop.

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On The Front Lines

October 19, 2015 |

Customers want that decorated shirt, cap or bag and they want it now. Shop-to-market speed expectations are at an all-time high — especially with e-commerce players upping the ante — and today’s decorators are navigating the best ways to meet demand without sacrificing quality.

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Hoodies Without the Hard Work

September 14, 2015 |

The hoodie is a common staple among customers, especially those ordering custom athletic team apparel. The comfort, warmth and printability of this style have made it one of the most sought-after items for fans, competitors and coaches.

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The “Zen” of Manual Printing

August 11, 2015 |

Pulling a squeegee on a manual screen-printing press and transforming a blank T-shirt into a colorful piece of commercial art is one of the most ubiquitous starting points for jobs in the decorated apparel industry...

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Specialty Printing for Success

July 2, 2015 |

It’s an eye-opening experience to think about how much specialty inks have evolved over the years and how the advances or applications of fringe technologies have helped screen-printing industry veterans...

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The Key to Quicker Art Production

March 11, 2015 |

One of the most important factors when it comes to designing for T-shirts is knowing exactly what the customer wants up front. Before you can even pick up a pencil or grab that pen and tablet, you already should have a good idea of what you want to design, as well as what the customer expects. 

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Press Coverage: From Manual to Automatic

March 11, 2015 |

From the day we started our textile screen-printing business in 2006, my father, Bob, and I knew an automatic press was in the cards. But as with everything else, we recognized that timing and planning were critical with respect to making the leap. 

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Handling Hoodies With Unique Printed Locations

December 22, 2014 |

One way to stand out from your competitors is to offer a process that they don’t, particularly with regard to printing placements. This will not only create a specific demand that can land you clients who appreciate higher levels of creativity and artwork, but it also can develop strong customer relationships that are built on a “can-do” mentality. 

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Flock Printing: A Closer Look

November 26, 2014 |

Decorating garments with flock is a technique that has been practiced for decades and could be considered the first real “special effect” for garment decoration. 

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Take a Number

September 5, 2014 |

There are multiple ways to apply numbering to team uniforms, including sewn-on appliqué, heat transfer and CAD-CUT numbers, die cuts, direct screen printing and more. 

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Controlling Variables, Part 5

July 22, 2014 |

In the last article of this series on controlling the variables of the textile screen printing process, I will review the factors surrounding flashing and curing procedures. <br /> &nbsp;

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Match Colors Using a Color Wheel

June 2, 2014 |

Finding someone with a good eye for color was a must for any busy print shop. One of the tools we found really handy was the color wheel. Using this tool can help you see the relationship of color and give you examples of how other colors can be used during mixing. <br /> &nbsp;

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Demystifying White Ink

April 15, 2014 |

Screen printers have searched high and low for the perfect white ink. The truth is, good traditional screen printers can choose among a variety of white inks from each of the manufacturers, and each will work great if used for the appropriate purpose and under the right conditions.<br />

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Enhancing the Focal Point

April 8, 2014 |

&amp;nbsp;<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w_WordDocument> <w_View>Normal</w_View> <w_Zoom>0</w_Zoom> <w_PunctuationKerning/> <w_ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w_SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w_SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w_IgnoreMixedContent>false</w_IgnoreMixedContent> <w_AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w_AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w_Compatibility> <w_BreakWrappedTables/> <w_SnapToGridInCell/> <w_WrapTextWithPunct/> <w_UseAsianBreakRules/> <w_DontGrowAutofit/> </w_Compatibility> <w_BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w_BrowserLevel> </w_WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w_LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w_LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: &amp;quot;times new roman&amp;quot;;">Follow these tips to manipulate the main element in a design to better showcase it.</span>

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A Womenswear Decoration Primer

April 7, 2014 |

New fabrics, weaves, treatments and different constructions all have become the norm in ladies apparel. There are art, screen and printing considerations with these fabrics that are important if you want to create a quality finished product that will maintain durability and have good visual appeal.

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Screen Exposure In a New Light, Part 1 of 2

March 4, 2014 |

If you haven’t heard anything yet about light-emitting diode (LED) exposure technology, don’t feel too badly. While it has been a topic of discussion among tech-savvy screen printers for more than a year, it’s just now beginning to attract interest among apparel decorators in general. <br /> &nbsp;

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Controlling Variables, Part 4

February 25, 2014 |

Now, we come to the remaining variables of the squeegee’s printing parameters, flood bars, flashing and curing. Here, we will continue with the actual squeegee applications.&nbsp;

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Manual Press Maintenance

February 25, 2014 |

For many new screen printers, a manual press is an entry-level purchase that they make when building their businesses. These workhorses are pretty simple machines, but there are some basic preventative maintenance chores that should regularly be performed to keep them working smoothly. <br /> &nbsp;

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Screen Making 101

January 21, 2014 |

Every day, thousands of printers across the country tighten, coat and pass their squeegees over thousands of screens. <br />

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Today’s Textile Ink Options

October 1, 2013 |

Textile screen printing inks have come full circle when you consider that water-based inks were among the first ink systems used to print garments. Now, some printers are switching from plastisol inks, the longstanding standard for screen printing, back to water-based systems. <br /> &nbsp;

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Quick Tips for Choosing Mesh

August 12, 2013 |

When it comes to choosing mesh for a project, it is important to consider what you are printing and the type of ink you are using.&nbsp; Here is a simple guide that will help in choosing the right mesh counts for the right job.

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20 Tips for Hot-Market Printing Success

July 8, 2013 |

The sports may be different, but the stress levels and challenges have been the same. If you are thinking about getting into this service, or maybe you already have one or two of these under your belt, this article offers tips for you to pull off a successful print run.&nbsp;

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Make Color Matching Easier

June 27, 2013 |

The main obstacles to fast and efficient color matching involve educating customers, previewing and preparing the artwork properly, and using the right tools to modify or mix inks properly. <br /> &nbsp;

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The Package Approach

January 10, 2013 |

Twenty years ago, Richard Sawyer saw a major need in the action sports industry for a full-service screen printing company that offered package programs.&nbsp;

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