How To Do Screen Printing On T-shirts Professionally At Home
The easiest and fastest way you can use to create cheap and professional designs on your t-shirt is through Screen Printing. With Screen Printing, you can create professional quality designs on your T-shirts or any other material you wish to design on.
Although some people might think that this procedure is complicated and difficult to understand, if you are guided properly, you will find out that it is the easiest and less complicated method of transferring your design onto a T-shirt.
The Screen printing process is a technique of using a mesh to transfer ink to the substrate that is being used.
In this article, we are going to guide you through the process which you can follow to get the best professionally designed T-shirt in your own home.
Steps to follow:
The first thing you should do when you want to do your own screen printing is to build a Screen Frame for the job. How you can go about it is to;
- Buy canvas stretching wood frames from any convenience store if you want the cheap ones or you can go for the more expensive and long lasting ones like the aluminum frames.
- Buy the Mesh: When you are purchasing the Mesh, make sure that you get the superior quality that will enable the ink to transfer to the T-shirt, paper or your artwork. The Mesh-count is used to figure out the looseness or tightness of the mesh itself and brings to light the number of the threads per square in inches.
- Join the frame together with the Mesh. If you want them to be very tight so as to avoid ripping, ensure that the screen is very tight. Draw the mesh tightly across the frame and then use the electric stapler or framing nails to secure them together.
The second step you should follow after building your board is to prepare your artwork.
You should prepare your own custom made design which will be transferred through the ink. To achieve this, you will need the help of the following;
- A pencil
- A strong and thick paper
- Light Cardboard
- Poster board
- A precision knife
- You should study the intricate nature of the designs for screen printing so that you can improve on your limitations. Follow these steps for the best output;
- When you are printing, make sure that you print only one color.
- You should use contrasting images for the printing such as white on a black garment.
- When the design is complicated, you should run the printing many times. Print one color after the other when the previous ink color has dried.
- Place your already made design on the poster board as this will help to straighten the design. Make sure that your design is kept simple for a better printing result.
- You can then cut out the prepared artwork in form of a stencil which will be dipped in ink. While cutting out the stencil, make sure to only cut out the white rings while the red rings should be covered with the stencil.
- If you cannot cut your design with a sturdy paper, you can use an alternative transparent paper although it is a bit difficult when you are cutting complex designs. Make sure that only black ink is used for the transparent paper. The black ink is used as a blockade to the light so as to enable the ink transfer the design to the T-shirt.
Before you start the process of screen printing your T-shirts professionally at home, you should get ready the following items;
- A picture emulsion with its sensitizer
- Frame with it screen
- A pair of latex hand glove
- A bulb of 250 wattage
- A dark room in your home
- Items to be screen printed like T-shirt, etc.
- A Squeegee
- Screen printing Ink
- Pieces of cardboard paper
When all these items are ready, proceed with the following steps;
- Splurge the screen with Emulsion.
You should combine the emulsion with its corresponding sensitizer. After the mixing, place your screen in a disposable bag and spread the emulsion on it using the squeegee.
When you spread out the emulsion on the screen, make sure that it covers more than the image about to be printed on. You can even do this continues to make sure that the screen is properly coated to be peach dark. Then keep it in your dark room until it dries completely.
- Open the screen so that the image on it can be seen.
Without exposing the image to the light yet, lay the framed screen side down over a black surface. Also, lay the see through with the image onto the screen with the emulsion. Clamp down on the transparency with a piece of glass or scotch tape.
- Keep the 250 watts lamp light 2 ft. above the screen with your image and leave the dark room.
For the light to be more effective, you can use a desk lamp which brings its light down. Make sure that there is no other turned on the light in the dark room.
After an interval of 15 minutes, go back to the dark room and gently lift up the transparency. If you see a faint blue line of where the image is impressed on the screen, you know that the printing will be successful.
- The next step is to hose down or wash out the screen with cold water.
Even if the image on the screen started flaking off, go ahead with the cleaning until it is the same as your transparency and leave it to dry.
- Place the T-shirt you want to print on a flat surface with a piece of cardboard paper inside of it.
Then place the designed screen on the T-shirt at the position you want the design to appear on the t-shirt.
- Apply a little ink horizontally across the screen and smooth it down your screen with the squeegee.
- Move the squeegee from up to down and from right to the left as many times as it will take the ink to pass through to the T-shirt.
- Lift up your screen and carefully bring out the cardboard paper out of the t-shirt and the printing is done.
- For a stronger result, you can place the t-shirt in an oven with the temperature of 400 degrees for 30 seconds.
- Wash off the ink from the screen before it dries there so that you can use it again. You can even use an emulsion wipe to clean out the image in case you will want to print a different image.
Watch this video to learn a step by step process:
If you follow the above-mentioned procedure, you will definitely create professional screen printing T-shirts right at your own home.
Relevant reading: Types Of T-shirt Printing.