Labor Day + T-shirt printing tips.

Here’s a little preview of what I did this weekend. I decided the first print I wanted to use would be “USA” print that I put together a while back. So I got to work putting it together not knowing how to do this at all really. Kinkos printed the artwork on a transparency for me and after I coated my screen I exposed it myself in the office. The first attempt was over exposed so I reclaimed the screen and went over the artwork on the transparency with a marker to make it darker and thus – more opaque. The second time worked. The next part was building a “platen” (the part that you stretch the shirt over) and determine where to mount it. So with some scrap wood and some rigging, I got it together and the went about lining everything up. After some quick measuring and marking with masking tape I tried a couple test prints on junk shirts and they worked out pretty well. It turns out you need to have a pretty good system in place in order for this to be successful. I was a little slow so the more prints I made the worse they got. My theory: the ink was starting to dry in the screen. So, if you have an air-conditioned space to do this in you’ll probably do better. I think the heat and humidity in the garage hastened the drying time on the shirts and in the screen so I had to move quick. Overall, I’m still happy with the results. The style of the design that I chose lends itself to imperfection so, in this case, my sloppy process works. I’m still going to refine it and I’ll keep you posted.

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