Screen Printing Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Screen printing has now become a global trend more than ever. With young people coming to learn screen print to people wanting to open a commercial print shop. Yes, it’s a tough climb when you start at first but as soon as you start doing it, you become familiar with its process.
Screen printing is a process (more than what meets the eye) where there are a lot of variables that leave room for errors and mistakes. But as long as you practice and have a good understanding of each element you will not go wrong. However, there is always some room for errors, in this post; we will list down screen printing mistakes that you need to avoid, and don’t worry even if you make these mistakes – you can fix them easily.
Screen printing mistakes and solutions
1. Using detailed artwork –
We are sure you have a design that you want to screen print that you have probably thought of before getting into screen printing. Well, sorry to burst the bubble but if the design that you have thought of includes highly detailed artwork then chances are it will not work for beginners.
Solution – Start off by picking an image that doesn’t have many lines and details to it. Go slow if you want to go far. It’s a key! We didn’t set the rule! Try something with a larger print surface and then progress to finer lines when you are confident. Yes, you can always have screen printing software management to your rescue.
2. Not prepping before –
Most commercial print shops and t-shirt printing shops make this mistake in a hurry to hand over the final work. Remember that, a final print is a result of good artwork and proper planning and execution. Don’t expect you can use a low-quality jpeg and get a good result out of it.
Solution – Prepare things from before. Get a high-resolution jpeg to start off. Sync in your colors and make sure you can print the design correctly and match it with the correct screen mesh.
3. Incorrect exposure time –
This is the most common mistake that screen printers make; they do not expose the screen properly. This has everything to do with the emulsion you use. For example, People in the US may have a completely different emulsion type/grade from someone in the Phillippines or Australia.
Solution – Use an exposure calculator that will tell you how long you need to expose your screens.
4. Ghost images –
This problem arises when the printed image shows through the other side of the shirt. It looks really messy and completely ruins all the hard work you did. It usually happens because of a cheap quality ink because they have bleaching agents in them.
Solution – Use a high-quality ink-like dynamic ink that is not made from a lot of fillers. Also, it is phthalate-free.
5. Not using a screen printing software management –
Many screen printing shops and owners don’t tend to use the management software that is specially designed for screen printing. As a result, they have a poor quality end outcome.
Solution – You need to have screen printing software for your commercial print shop, small screen print shop, or any other printing shops you can think of. It is a requirement if you want a flawless print result.
6. Not doing a test print –
Most beginners and even professionals tend to skip this step thinking it is a waste of time, energy, and resources. This result is one of the biggest mistakes they make and even more time and energy are consumed afterward.
Solution – Do a test print using screen printing test pellons before committing to something especially when it’s a new artwork you are working on or even if you have worked for a while. Trust us, this will surely save you a lot of your time, energy, and resources!
7. Shirts sticking together –
This problem occurs when you have not given enough time for the ink to dry. It will eventually lead to restarting your work again! We are sure you want to save that in your t-shirt printing shop.
Solution – Give some time for the ink to cool down and for this, you can even use a fan to speed up the process.
8. Not washing your hands –
Many of the screen printers have actually confessed that they have faced a problem in screen printing because their hands were not clean enough.
Solution – Always wash your hands before screen printing to avoid any color mix-up and spots of dirt on your outcome.
9. Opaque prints –
This happens when the ink color doesn’t block out the garment color completely. It looks messy and unclean.
Solution – Leave a thick ink deposit. You also do it by putting your base color as white. As white colors tend to absorb colors more efficiently or you can go for the print-flash-print sequence as well.
10. Peeling of the screen print –
We are sure you will relate to this even you are not a screen-printer. You bought a t-shirt and the print starts peeling off after a few washes. It can be because the ink and fabric are not made for each other.
Solution – You need to go for ink that is suitable for the fabric you are printing on. There are inks that are made to be printed only on cotton and polyesters. Also, check if the ink has cured properly.
Screen printing requires high skill and craftsmanship to achieve a flawless end result. Remember that screen printing is no rocket science and you need to have patience with what you do and learn through every mistake. We are sure that this guide will help every small screen print shop and also professionals out there to meet up with their screen printing expectations.
Also, note that these problems are interrelated to each other. You make one mistake and it will lead to another and then another like a cycle. However, it is a process of trials and errors. These problems and solutions will definitely level up your screen printing!