Process of T-shirt Printing: A Six Step Process

You may not have any idea about how a t-shirt is being printed unless you have been to a t-shirt printing factory. Actually, even though you have been to the factory without witnessing the process of printing t-shirts, you may not still understand how the system runs. This article will explain in broad terms, how the process of printing t-shirt is being done, same as t-shirt printing in Sydney ; from start to finish. The first basic step to t-shirt printing is sketching an image. Instead of using a napkin for sketching, a paperwork will do. This is so because sketches on a napkin will not give you the desired result at the end the printing process.

The second step is to scan the sketched image. Just like the method used, this stage requires cleaning up the line, put in color and text in order to finish the design. Most printing factories in Sydney prefer going through a digital process and the outcome has been awesome. Color separation is another stage that comes after you have done a paper sketch. It is done in order to print film positives. Color separation informs the design template where colors will be placed. This template also, directs the printer to use the blank ink toner on a clear plastic surface. It should be noted that one film positive can be printed for each color in this process.

The color separation stage is accompanied by forming a metal frame. It is usually covered with a fabric and stretched tight for the purpose of screen printing. Furthermore, the plain screens are covered with liquid. Immediately it gets dry, the film is attached to the screen alongside a tape. After that, the metal frame is positioned on a wide vacuum table which is known as the exposure unit and thereafter, it is exposed to a strong light for a little period of time, depending on the size and amount of information on the stretched mesh. Then, the toner on the film positive prevents from shining on the parts of the frame that is covered with liquid.

Immediately the exposure is concluded, the frame can then be cleaned with water and the liquid which surrounds edges of the frame softens and melts away, giving way for the ink toner to enter through the mesh. An operator prints one color on a piece of cloth and places it to fit with other screens. This process is called registration. After this, the operator applies the toner ink on the frame by a way of sampling it, then, prints all of the colors.

Furthermore, each of the pieces of shirt is packed onto a table-like pallet for the main printing process to begin. The squeegee will now be used to apply different colors, using the toner ink across the template on the metal frame. This is when the printed shirts will be made to dry. Finally, after leaving the dryer, the t-shirts now gets ready to be counted by a quality control personnel.      

A Simple Guide to Screen Printing Your Own Shirts

The concept and practice of printing on t-shirts seem as if it’s a big deal but really, it is not. It is rather as simple as any other craft. It is quite cheap and convenient to establish your own printing facility in your house. Let’s see how you can achieve it in a simple way. Having the knowledge of printing on clothes is simple because it has it’s own pattern. Rather than cutting out different shapes, you apply some printing chemicals on the screen photo frame, then cut from the sketched image, using an exposure light. Before we continue, we shall list out some items that you personally need.

You need to have the following items:

Hand gloves

Screen and frame. This can be bought at an artist shop.

A little corner (for dark room)

A lightening bulb

Squeegee rubber

A t-shirt

Photo sensitizer and

A little cardboard that can perfectly fit inside the t-shirt. At the beginning, you’ll just need a simple design. You’ll need a strong black image in order to successfully prevent the light from penetrating through. After that, your selected sketched image will be mixed with the printing chemicals and then you’ll print it out from an electronic printer into a transparent paper. Next is that you have to mix the photo sensitizer and the printing chemical which is also known as emulsion; based on how it is stated on the container.

Then you leave it for about two hours to dry. Giving the screen an exposure will be the next thing to do. This operation should be carried out in your little dark room and then you’ll position a black cardboard, while placing the screen and the frame on top of the board. You can then move your light a little bit beyond 2 Feet from the screen and place your lightening bulb at the transparent sheet with the sketched image on it. Please do not turn on any other light and then wait for about fifteen minutes before removing it.

The next step is to apply water to clean the screen until it is transparent and you can see the image clearly and then allow the screen to dry. After drying, cover all the exposed part of the screen with a tape. This is the time to apply all the exposed the sketched image on the t-shirt, by placing a cardboard paper inside the t-shirt so that the ink can be applied and the fix the screen on the t-shirt with the design you have sketched. After this process, you let it dry and your printed shirt is ready. If you have followed this step by step process I mentioned here, you’ll realize that the materials to use are quite affordable and the result is great.