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How-To: Screen Print Numbers

This is a repost of an article we did for our friends at Impressions Magazine. Check out their original article here.

In the garment decorating and screen printing industries there are so many opportunities to print numbers on garments. Below are four methods to use for numbering garments—starting with the most cost-effective and going to the most production friendly. Get familiar with a method or two so your shop is ready to take on any numbering print job!

Screen Printing Number Stencils:

  • Using a number stencil is a basic and economical method for printing numbers.
  • Stencils are dye cut paper that is placed directly on the garment.
  • A screen is burned with a square space left in the middle—allowing the stencil to create the number on the garment.
  • Take care when aligning your stencil on the garment so you end up with a precise/quality print.
  • Changing numbers is as easy as switching stencils.
  • Number stencils are an affordable way to get into numbering, but their limitation is in consistency and production speed.

Heat Transfer Numbers with Heat Press:

  • Purchasing professional pre-printed numbers (heat transfers) is an affordable and time saving method when you have a heat press.
  • This process is fairly straightforward—simply place the transfer on the garment, line it up and use the heat press.
  • Applying the heat press for approximately 12 seconds is all the time you’ll need for each transfer.
  • Carefully peel the transfer from the garment (as with hot peels) and your print is done.

NOTE: a heat press is a versatile piece of equipment for any shop; consider investing in one if you don’t already own one.

Vinyl Plotter with Heat Press:

  • Another method for printing numbers is by using a vinyl plotter and a heat press.
  • You can use heat applied transfer material, cut your own numbers/stencils, weed them out, place the transfer on the garment then apply the heat press.
  • This method is ideal for sports team jobs and for shorter runs. It can be more time consuming because of the weeding process, but it’s great when you need to create uniforms with number/name combinations.
  • Vinyl on the market today is soft and flexible—yielding a feel similar to screen printed work.

Screen Printing Number System:

  • Using a registered number system is both the most cost-effective (per print) and the most time efficient method for printing numbers.
  • You are able to consecutively print 1-2 color numbers in registration while in screen printing format.

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