How To Perform All Over Screen Printing
We were asked to provide some video training how to perform all over screen printing. We thought we’d share it!
Allover screen printing accomplishes fun and creative effects on garments and has become an increasingly popular printing method. Learn more about the process with the accompanying video tutorial and by trying the following basic steps. Soon you’ll be creating exciting new designs using all over screen printing!
Be sure to also check out the accompanying video tutorial above to see these steps put to action.
1. Arrange Your Artwork
Set up your artwork using a template. This allows for easy manipulation and precise alignment of the one image or multiple images you will be printing. Templates can be arranged in raster or vector format using Adobe Photoshop or CorelDraw software. There are some very realistic T-shirts mockups currently available on the market. This also is a great way to show your customers the results they will likely get.
2. Film Output
Unless you have a wide-format printer that allows you to print a single film, you’ll need to print multiple films that will be taped together. When combining multiple films, be sure to overlap the image slightly to ensure things line up accurately. It’s important that your films are as opaque as possible — inkjet printers work best for this. Most major markets have output solutions for outsourcing film positives.
3. Burning Your Image
Use a large exposure unit with a vacuum system to achieve positive contact. If your vacuum top is too small for the large screens (most allover screens are 38” x 40″ or larger), you can use two-inch dense foam and 50 to 60 pounds of weight evenly distributed on top of the foam to create positive pressure. Overhead halogen lights or sunlight also will accomplish this step, but it will limit the image’s detail due to restrictions with positive contact between your film and the screen.
When printing directly onto your T-shirt (on-contact printing) use thin ink (water-based, discharge or reduced plastisol ink), as it will be deposited directly onto the garment. Discharge works great through a 156 to 200 mesh screen. Water-based and reduced plastisol inks are recommended to go through a higher mesh, such as 230. Steer clear of thicker inks, as they will not transfer well and release onto the T-shirt. If you are using plastisol ink, you probably should reduce it 20% to 40%.
5. Print On Screen
The easiest way to accomplish an allover-the-shirt print is to print on-contact. This involves the use of a special platen that has a neoprene surface, which will absorb the pressure of the squeegee and ink, and hold the shirt in place during printing. Arrange the T-shirt on or over the platen, place the screen down and saturate the garment with ink. To accomplish the squeegee print you may need help depending on your reach abilities and how big your screen is. Make sure you get enough ink through the screen; this may require more than one pass.
In order to properly cure the ink, use a conveyor dryer with a large enough belt to properly hold the T-shirt. For optimal results with water-based and discharge inks, use an air dryer, not an infrared dryer, to cure the ink.