T-Shirt Screen Printing 101

Silk Screen Printing Hawaii

T-shirt screen printing involves the use of a woven mesh to support the use of a stencil that blocks ink. It’s a classic and proven method of printing designs on T-shirts, and it’s great for many reasons.

You can order one for yourself so that you’ll know for a fact that what you’re wearing is unique. You can showcase your creativity, by customizing the design or even by featuring your own art work or photography. If you have a business, you can use it to promote your brand. It’s also great at fostering camaraderie for organizations, and for promoting events.

While you can probably go online and find articles to help you learn how to do it yourself, for best results you can hire professionals, us, at Plan B Printing. We can screen print you the best high quality t-shirts.

Here are the basics about screen printing, the various terminology used, different inks, and techniques:

Color combinations –  You’re not limited to a single color or hue. You may use several colors (even up to half a dozen or so) along with half-tones and gradients.

Plastisol ink Plastisol is perhaps the most commonly used ink in the business. It’s easy to use, and the resulting print comes out bright and very durable. However, it feels a bit thick to the touch.

Water-based ink – These are often used when you want your shirts to have a rather vintage look to them. The resulting design feels and looks as if it’s actually part of the fibers of the shirt, unlike plastisol that’s clearly been applied. The hand feel of the design is very soft, and after washing it the feel almost completely disappears.

Discharge – Essentially, it’s a bleaching agent that takes the color out of your shirt. It can be applied as raw discharge, so if you have a dark-colored shirt it will give it a rather bleached look. Another option is using tined discharge, which then mutes the tone of the ink color you’re using.

Highdensity inks – This is an ink that somehow gives off a 3D look or texture to your shirt. You can use any color, and you can use it to make it seem like the shirt has stitching on it.

Flock – This makes the shirt look and feel like felt fabric, and it provides a rather fuzzy feel to the design.

Suede – This gives the same look and feel of suede. On a T-shirt, you get additional dimension and texture.

Foil – If you want to add some highlights to your T-shirt design, you can use foil. As you can imagine, this will add a shiny metallic look for your shirt design.

Metallic inks – If foil may be a bit too obvious, you may use metallic inks for a more subtle effect. Here you get a just a hint of a metallic shimmer on your design.

Gel – This gives your design a glassier look. With a high-density gel, the design will even be thicker and more rubbery in look and feel.

Need t-shirts printed? Call us, Oahu’s #1 t-shirt screen printing company at (808) 725-2955 to inquire. Or, fill out the form on this page and someone from our team with contact you very soon.

Much Mahalo and we look forward to serving you!

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