Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes and when it comes to screen printing, it’s no different. Screen printing is a laborious process that takes practice and patience to master and even the most experienced screen printers make mistakes from time to time.
In the screen printing world, some mistakes could lead to money loss and could potentially even harm the brand’s identity if not caught ahead of time. Therefore, Imagescapes Embroidery and Screen Printing would like to share with you 5 of the most common screen printing mistakes you should try to avoid and some helpful suggestions:
Too Much Ink Printed Onto The Shirt:
- Getting too much ink into the mesh on the back flood. As you back flood don’t press down too hard or go over it too many times. If your ink get too heavy, pull a few prints on test sheets without back flooding to clear out the screen.
- Your ink may be too thinned out.
- Using too much pressure. You want to make sure that you are not pressing down too hard on the squeegee and use even pressure all the way across the print.
- You may be using an old squeegee with edges that are rounded and need to be sharpened.
Too Little Ink Printed Onto The Shirt:
- Try printing on a soft base. You could try using a platen covered in neoprene fabric especially when printing over collars or seams.
- Use a coarser mesh.
- The screen you’re using might be getting clogged. You can try rubbing the underside of the screen with a wet shop towel and then screen a test print or two to clear it out. Use misprinted t-shirts or test print squares to test print and if you are printing posters and art prints, you can use blank newsprint to test print.
- Some have suggested spraying water mixed with a little dish soap to the underside of the screen before you put any ink on it may help when you print.
- Make more than one squeegee pass to print, sometimes as many as 3 passes (that’s usually all it needs).
- If you are working with a client, make sure you have a signed approval of the final design (you want to avoid having to reprint a design at your own expense because something was misspelled).
- You want to make sure you start with good and properly prepared artwork. The art you use should be a minimum of 300 ppi at print size, you cant expect to use a low resolution jpeg and think you will get a good screen print out of it.
- Make sure that you not only print the design you’re using correctly but also that the design matches with the correct screen mesh for the artwork.
- Mastering the angle of the squeegee takes some practice and a little experimentation. When you find an angle that works for you, keep it consistent. You could also consider the print stroke used (the push stroke as opposed to the usual pull print stroke). Always do one or the other, you don’t want to switch between strokes.
- When applying ink to the scree, we recommend using a consistent 45 degree angle as the ink goes on pretty smooth at this angle. Using an angle of 60 degrees or more will not allow the ink to get through the mesh correctly and evenly. Similarly, using an angle of 30 degrees or less can make the ink print too heavily onto the fabric.
- If the screen is not tightened enough the platen might move. Turn the screw as tight as possible without stripping it.
- If not tightened enough, the screens can become loose in the bracket on the press.
- Make sure the plate has enough adhesive, otherwise the shirt might move.