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                           6-Color 1-Station Textile Printer

                       You will need the below to get started

6- Color press :

   •   6-color/1-station textile printer
       (Produced with durable steel and with powder coating to resist rust and chemical
   •    Flash Dryer
       (Includes its own stand and operates on 110 volts of electricity and is powder coated to
       resist rust and chemical erosion. with on the heating element).
   •    Exposure Light
       (500-watt halogen light used for putting the image into the silkscreen).
   •   Supplies include a 16 oz. container of the following:
       emulsion, degreaser, reclaimer, screen block, black plastisal ink, soy solvent, and 1 can
       of spray adhesive’
                6-color 4-station textile printer

This press is designed for the demanding professional. This is the professional model
that can get large orders done on time.

You will need the following supplies:

   •    6-color/4-station textile printer
       (Produced with durable steel and with powder coating to resist rust and chemical
   •    Flash Dryer
       (Includes its own stand and operates on 110 volts of electricity and is powder coated to
       resist rust and chemical erosion. Includes an heating element).
   •    Exposure Light
       (500- watt halogen light used for putting the image into the silkscreen).
   •   Supplies include a 16 oz. container of the following:
       emulsion, degreaser, reclaimer, screen block, black plastisal ink, soy solvent, and 1 can
       of spray adhesive
   •   Tools Include:
       1 silkscreen 22" X 19," 1 SQUEEGEE 12," 1 screen coater, 1 roll of 2" plastic tape, 10
       test pellons.

   •   An average price can run around $2995
                                        + $400 shipping
      A Textile Printer's Guide to Estimating Production Time

Good estimations for good business

                         Expectations are very high on my list of keys to success in
                         business. Know what you expect and communicate these
                         expectations to your employees. This gives everyone common
                         goals and provides you with a benchmark from which to assess
                         individual employee performance and that of the entire business.

                         In a garment-printing business--or any other printing operation
                         for that matter--your production-time expectations are important.
                         You want to know how much time you need to produce a certain
                         type of job for a number of reasons. First, you want to be able to
                         schedule jobs with a degree of certainty about when they will be
                         completed. Without a calculated estimate of the production time,
you can pull a date out of the air or promise the customer anything, just to get the order.
Either way, you're risking a disappointed customer.

The second reason to estimate production times is profit. Many factors contribute to the
costs of a job and directly impact the bottom-line profit figure, including expenses such
as blank garments, supplies, labor, rent, utilities, taxes, and many more. The time it takes
to produce the job also influences costs. So if you can accurately estimate production
time, you'll be better prepared to forecast profitability on the job.

Gauging the efficiency of employees--and of the shop in general--is the third reason for
estimating production times. As experience has probably taught you, work expands to fit
the time allowed. So if employees know what is expected of them, they will be more
inclined to finish a job in the allotted time. The most valuable employees are those who
continually strive to accomplish more work in less time, and your estimated production
times can serve as their incentive.

Shop setup, equipment, and production procedures can create an environment that is
either conducive or inhibitive to productivity. And if you make changes to any of these
areas with the aim of boosting productivity, production-time estimates can help you
measure the improvement.

You may decide to upgrade equipment or supplies to improve production rates. In such
situations, if you have pre-upgrade production-time estimates to compare against post-
upgrade estimates, you'll find it easier to quantify the success of the upgrade. So if you
see a reduction in print times after replacing some of your wooden screen frames with
retensionables, you can feel confident about investing in more new frames. This same
example holds true for any number of screen-printing tools and supplies.
The screen-printing process presents literally thousands of variables that you need to deal
with. The individual importance of these variables differs from facility to facility--even
from one print station to the next. That's why you need to estimate production time rather
than try to pinpoint exactly how long a particular job should take. What you're looking
for is a good ballpark number--one that keeps the ball in the park!

Using some simple charts, a little basic math, and data collected from within your
facility, you can establish accurate production-time estimates for your shop. You can use
this information for scheduling, estimating costs and profits, assessing employee
performance, and improving plant efficiency. A good estimating formula will help you be
certain that all costs are covered, whether they are direct labor costs or a percentage of
overhead attributed to a proportional time on the press.

Start with the charts

Fig. 1
Standard Job Times on a Manual Press
Times shown in          1     2     3     4     5     6
minutes                 color color color color color color
Production time/garment 0.50 0.55 0.60 0.67 0.75 0.86
Setup and breakdown     12 24 36 48 60 72
The values shown in this table are averages calculated from actual
production, setup, and breakdown times. Note that these are
examples only--values for your own operation are likely to be
different due to production procedures, equipment, etc.

Before you begin collecting production data from your own shop, let's examine some
sample data, which I have culled from years of tracking and estimating production times.
I'll use this sample data to explain how to go about calculating average production rates
for your own shop.

Bear in mind that the numbers in Figures 1 and 2 are general guidelines only. Actual data
from your facility may vary significantly from mine. This doesn't mean that one of us is
wrong; it just means that no standards exist for comparison. Your own data will be used
to fashion those expectations we discussed earlier.

Let's start with the manual press chart (Figure 1). You'll notice two sets of figures. The
top line represents production time for jobs ranging from one to six colors. The second
line denotes the combined times for setup and breakdown. By "setup" we mean every
task that occurs from the time the press operator picks up the first screen in the job set,
until the first acceptable print comes off the machine. Remember, though, that we are
talking about actual production time, which does not include auxiliary tasks such as
mixing ink colors, sharpening squeegees, and the like. I will assume your tools and
supplies are in order when you begin to set up the press.
By the same token, "breakdown" refers to the time period after the last good print comes
off the machine until you reach for the first screen of the next job. Tasks such as screen
cleaning and reclaiming don't count in this exercise. We will break out setup and
breakdown times later, but for our initial calculations, they are combined into one line on
the estimating chart.

Now it's time for us to calculate production time for a job. Our sample job will be a four-
color order of 96 pieces, which we will print on a manual printer. According to our chart,
which is based on my accumulated data, the estimated time to print one four-color
garment is 0.67 min, so in theory, our job should take 64.32 min to print:

96 pieces x 0.67 min = 64.32 min of production

We can round this number to 64 min and then add the setup/breakdown time from the

64 min of production + 48 min of setup/breakdown = 112 min total
Fig. 2
Standard Job Times on an Automatic Press
Times shown in           1     2     3     4     5     6
minutes                  color color color color color color
Production time/garment 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15
Setup and breakdown      12 25 40 54 70 87
Calculating production times is relatively simple if you use an
automatic press, which should run at essentially the same speed
regardless of how many colors you print.

Calculations for automatics are even easier, since the press should run at basically the
same speed once fully loaded, whether your crew is printing one color or five (Figure 2).
In reality, running five colors gives you five more opportunities to pick up lint, tear a
screen, or dozens of other reasons for an operator to stop indexing a machine. But for
estimating production time, your variation is usually more in setup/breakdown rather than
actual time of production.

Special numbers

You may be thinking, "Not everything I print fits into the category of wet-on-wet, 100%
cotton, white T-shirts." Several non-standard categories require their own special charts
for your estimations. For example, some shops can get by with only one special chart for,
say, single-flash work, which is the basis for the chart shown in Figure 3. Other shops
will have multiple special charts for multiple flashes or for other special handling
requirements (some production I've done required more time for handling than for actual
printing). If you have special handling or other circumstances on your production floor,
you will need separate production-time charts that incorporate the extra time needed for
these types of jobs.
Every production floor is different when it comes to print time, setup time, and
breakdown time. It is not important that you try to match or improve upon the numbers
I've presented in these charts. The real issue is knowing what your actual production-time
numbers are, and then using them in whatever estimating formula you use.

Fig. 3
Special Job Times
Manual Press
Times shown in           1     2     3     4     5     6
minutes                  color color color color color color
                         0.67 0.75 0.86 1.00 1.20 1.50
Setup and breakdown      12     24      36     48     60     72
Automatic Press
Times shown in              1     2     3     4     5     6
minutes                     color color color color color color
Production time/garment     0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20
Setup and breakdown         12 25 40 54 70 87
You'll need to create separate tables for jobs with special
production requirements, such as flash curing or additional
handling (heat-application of foil, embroidering, etc.). Note that
while these special procedures add to production times, they may
not affect setup/breakdown times.

Calculating setup and breakdown

Setup and breakdown times were combined in the charts used earlier. Now we will
separate these numbers to get more accurate figures and to identify areas of production
that might stand some improvement. Figure 4 lists the individual setup and breakdown
times corresponding to the combined times shown in Figures 1 and 2.

As with all the numbers we use in this process, the times in the charts are averages of
many jobs. Essentially, the combined times for setup and breakdown represent all the
time that a press is not producing printed garments--or the time your press is not actually
making money. Your goal as a screen printer is to maximize printing time and minimize
setup and breakdown.

Tracking setup and breakdown time requires a clipboard and a stopwatch. Use accounting
ledger sheets with the number of columns corresponding to the number of colors
available on your production floor. You'll need a column for one-color jobs, a column for
two-color jobs, and so on. Figures 5 illustrates how your setup and breakdown charts
should look. For ease of manipulation and for permanent storage of your data, record the
numbers in a spreadsheet program. If you're really ambitious about this, you can create
updated charts and graph them to show increases or decreases in setup and breakdown
If you can do your stopwatch work discreetly, you'll get better, more realistic numbers.
You want to know how long the process takes under normal circumstances, not the time
it takes when your operators are going for the record under your watchful eye.

On your setup time sheet, start the clock as soon as the previous job is done. Stop the
clock when the first good print of the current job goes onto the dryer belt. For breakdown,
start the clock when your inspector at the end of the belt says the current order is
complete. Stop the clock when the operator reaches for the first screen of the next job.
And if your operator leaves for the restroom, grabs a cup of coffee, or stops to discuss the
last Monday night football game, keep the clock running. All downtime outside of actual
printing time is attributed to either setup or breakdown.

After you've compiled at least ten setups and ten breakdowns for each category (one
color, two color, etc.), calculate the average setup and breakdown times for each category
by totaling the values in each column and dividing by the number of times recorded in
each column. For example, let's say you add all the minutes recorded in the "three-color
jobs" column, and you arrive at a total of 240 min for 10 jobs. The average is calculated
as follows:

240 min total ÷ 10 ledger entries = 24 min/setup

Perform the same calculation for the breakdown times on your ledger sheets. Then
combine the numbers for setup and breakdown to make your final production-time
calculations easier. You'll want to re-measure and recalculate the setup and breakdown
times at least once a year to see where you stand against your own average.

Fig. 4
Setup and Breakdown Times
Manual Press
Times shown in       1           2       3       4       5       6
minutes              color       color   color   color   color   color
Setup                7           16      25      34      43      52
Breakdown            5           8       11      14      17      20
Automatic Press
Times shown in              1     2     3     4     5     6
minutes                     color color color color color color
Setup                       7     17 27 37 48 60
Breakdown                   5     8     13 17 22 27
Average setup and breakdown times are calculated for typical jobs
as shown in these tables. These values are combined for each
number of colors printed, and the total times are used in the actual
production-time estimate chart (Figures 1 and 2).

Calculating printing time
Use the same ledger procedure for calculating your print time numbers, which
undoubtedly will be unique to your own shop. Print time is the time span from when the
first good print goes on the dryer belt until your inspector says the order is complete. As
with the calculations for setup and breakdown, print time includes all the time spent at the
coffee machine, repairing a screen, or running to the warehouse for just one more
medium, white T-shirt.

Figure 6 shows a sample form for recording actual production (printing) time. Now,
because setup and breakdown numbers will be fairly consistent for all types of printing
jobs (e.g. multiple flashes), all setup and breakdown data can be recorded on one chart.
But your printing times will vary for those special jobs we discussed earlier. That will
necessitate additional charts for each type of special job. You will use one chart for wet-
on-wet work, another for flash printing, etc. You will also add extra columns to record
the number of pieces in each job.

You'll total the print-time column again, just as you did when calculating setup and
breakdown averages. But this time, rather than calculating the average, you're going to
total the columns for number of pieces and time. Then you'll divide the total time (in
minutes) recorded on your chart by the total number of pieces produced. This will give
you a figure that is the estimated production time to print one garment.

Let's do an example. Under the heading of five-color automatic wet-on-wet jobs, let's say
you have 10 entries that total 412 min of production. The total number of pieces produced
in 412 min is 2575 pieces. Divide 412 min by 2575 pieces to get the time necessary in
your shop to produce one five-color garment on an automatic press.

412 min ÷ 2575 pieces = 0.16 min

Now, let's put that number to practical use -- estimating the production time for a five-
color job. First, create your own chart that resembles Figure 2, the production-time chart
for automatic presses. Then plug 0.16 min into the "five-color jobs" column. To calculate
print time for a 500-piece run in your own shop, multiply 500 times your 0.16 per
garment number:

500 pieces x 0.16 min/garment = 80 min total production

To this 80 min, add your previously-calculated setup/breakdown number for a five-color
job (automatic press) to arrive at the estimated production time for your own unique

Your own schedule

As you fill out your work schedule based on your own estimated production times, be
certain to allow a little extra time for the unexpected--and for those special last minute
customers. A surefire way to get yourself into trouble is to schedule every minute of the
week. If things are moving according to schedule, you can pull orders ahead from next
week's schedule. I generally block out 80% of my schedule with work orders right up
until a week before production. Then I'll start to fill in the extra 20% with either overflow
work from the previous week, new "rush" orders, or production from upcoming weeks.

The ability to estimate production time gives each of us the information we need for
planning, scheduling, pricing, and order taking. Based on actual historical data in your
shop, this information eliminates the risk that comes with making assumptions because,
as we all know, those time-estimates we pull out of the air are never long enough! As an
added bonus of regular timekeeping, you will be able to identify problems with your
production process or employee productivity. Your production schedule will be more
than guesses and wishful thinking. It will be production reality.

Fig. 5
Recording Setup and Breakdown Times
 1 color    2 color     3 color     4 color     5 color 6 color

To use this table, record individual setup or breakdown times in
minutes under each category of colors printed. When a column is
completed (after recording times for at least 10 jobs), total the
minutes and divide by the number of jobs you timed. The resulting
number will be the average setup or breakdown time for jobs with
that number of colors.

Fig. 6
Production Time Data Table
 1 color    2 color     3 color     4 color     5 color 6 color
pcs time pcs time pcs time pcs time pcs time pcs time

To use this table, under each color category number, record the
number of pieces printed and the total minutes required to print
the job. Repeat this exercise for at least ten jobs. Do not include
setup and breakdown times, but include all the time between the
first good print off the dryer and completion of the final print. Add
up the times and the number of pieces printed for each column.
Then divide the total time by the total number of pieces to get the
average time per garment for that number of colors printed.
                                Adhesive Removal

Get powder off of your dark garments

Having trouble removing powdered adhesives from your dark garments? Try this simple
solution: Spray the affected area of the garment with isopropyl alcohol, and cover it with
a sheet of transfer paper. Next, place the garment under a heat-transfer press set at
approximately 325 degrees F for 10 sec. Then peel off the transfer paper while the
garment is still hot. Surprise--no adhesive!
                       Aligning the Art

Get the tools in place before you begin

Printers should place at close hand all the tools they need to
                             set up a job and keep the press
                             running. Pin bars, T-squares,
                             scissors, plunger cans, wipes,
                             pens, tape, block out pens, and
                             common hand tools should be
                             immediately available. Every
                             minute that printers spend
                             hunting for basic supplies means
                             more expensive downtime at the
                       Applying Capillary Film

The wetter, the better

                                                    The wetter, the better: This
                                                    is the key to applying
                                                    capillary film correctly and
                                                    avoiding pinholes in the
                                                    mesh. Before applying the
                                                    capillary film, degrease the
                                                    mesh. Then, spray water up
                                                    the screen to form a sheet
                                                    of water on the mesh.
                                                    While spraying, make sure
                                                    that you have the capillary
                                                    film rolled up in your other
                                                    hand--with the emulsion
(dull) side facing out--so that it can be rolled down the screen immediately
after the water spray has stopped.
                  Applying Foil

Foil the flakes

                     When you're applying foil to a screen-
                     printed design with a heat transfer press,
                     if the foil does not separate cleanly from
                     the design it will leave small flecks of foil
                     in areas where you do not want it.
                     Remove the unwanted foil with a lint
                     roller or a blast of compressed air.
Attaching the fabric to the screen frame of a silk-screen

Follow these steps to attach the fabric to the screen frame of a silk-screen printer:

   1.   Spread a small amount of glue in the grooves of the frame.
   2.   Clean off any excess glue from the surface.
   3.   Place the fabric and the PVC wire over the frame.
   4.   Press the fabric into the groove by tapping the wire with a hammer.
           • Begin at one corner, holding the fabric taut along that side as you tap it
                into place.


           •   Continue
               holding the fabric taut until the wire is all in the groove.


   5. Cut off any excess wire.
   6. Trim excess fabric with a knife.
 Attaching the screen frame to the base of a silk-screen

Follow these steps to attach the screen frame to the base of a silk-screen printer:

   1. Place the screen frame on the base with the grooved side facing the base.
   2. Center the screen frame on the base.
   3. Align the back edges of the screen frame and the base.
   4. Position the hinges on the aligned edges 30mm in from the corners of the screen
   5. Screw the hinges to the back edge surfaces.



                  Avoiding Ink Buildup

Keep your nylon-mesh run neat

When you're printing nylon-mesh garments, use this
tip to avoid the mess of ink buildup on the platens.
Using spray adhesive, firmly glue a junk T-shirt
onto each platen. Spray a light coating of spray
adhesive on the T-shirt, slide the mesh garment over
the T-shirt, and print. Carefully remove the mesh
garment and place it on the dryer belt. Then swing
the platen under a flash-cure unit and cure the ink on
the T-shirt. Keep repeating this cycle until the job is
done. You can then peel off the T-shirts and throw
them out.
                               Bad Hair Day

Let's define a "bad hair day." For starters, hair has nothing to do with a bad hair day. You
don't even need hair to have a bad hair day, and if you have enough of them, you
probably won't have any hair left after a few months anyway. For some people, getting up
                                         in the morning and having to go to work is bad
                                         enough, but when they get to work and anything
                                         that can go wrong does go wrong--that's a classic
                                         bad hair day.

                                          The fact is, only two things can cause a bad hair
                                          day: the things we do to ourselves and the things
                                          we allow other people to do to us. I'll talk more
                                          about these issues later. First, let's get the horror
                                          stories out of the way.

                                       When you're in business, you always will have to
                                       deal with quick-turnaround jobs, impossible drop-
                                       dead dates, and last-minute changes to the art,
                                       order quantities, and press proofs. That's the
                                       nature of the screen-printing game, folks. If you
                                       can't accept it, get out of the business--which is
                                       exactly what a friend of mine did when he
couldn't take it anymore. He's now driving a cookie truck, and he loves it. Who's next for
the cookie truck?

Sometimes it seems as though the planets are in a certain alignment that sets the entire
world against you. These are the days when nothing goes right, and they usually start out
when the company truck refuses to start, just as you are about to make a critical pickup or
delivery. Being a professional, you grit your teeth and take on the rest of the day, but
things don't seem to get any better. While you're dealing with the dead truck, you are
informed that three people just called in sick--again. "Well, that's okay," you think to
yourself. "It's such a fun challenge to work shorthanded!"

The first shift starts, and you discover yet another employee hasn't shown up. What is it
this time? Car trouble? A sick grandmother? Food poisoning again? You can't possibly
know when the employee doesn't call, can you? And as your fuse becomes shorter and
shorter, you realize that the game is still on. In spite of the rain showers, you still need to
go on hitting.

You have a rush job to print, but the screens are not good and must be remade. But hey,
that's okay because the ink for said job didn't arrive anyway. You ask your shipping
people to track down the ink while the screens are being reshot. So far, so good. Then the
phone rings. It's the customer you were supposed to ship a job to yesterday, but didn't.
You dance around the subject, make promises you hope you can keep, and then pick up
the next caller. It's the customer you were supposed to deliver an order to this morning
when your truck wouldn't start. By this time, you're tap dancing, and you're getting pretty
good at it.

For a blessed few minutes, you are treated to the sounds of normal production. Things
seem to have quieted down. Then you hear the press stop and see some production people
at your door. In their hands are parts printed with the wrong color. But hey, that's okay,
because it's the second color! You are thankful they didn't wait until the last color to mess
up the job! Then you remember that this job was for the customer you were supposed to
deliver to yesterday and you wonder how you're going to smooth over those waters a
second time.

Now it's back to the screen room to look at those screens that are being remade. One of
them is no good, but hey, that's okay, because they got one out of the two screens right--
and hitting 0.500 in baseball will get you into the Hall of Fame! Unfortunately, it occurs
to you that screen printing is not baseball.

The good news is, the shipper has found your missing ink. The bad news is, it's in New
Hampshire, and you're not. But hey, that's okay, because you still don't have screens for
the job anyway. With any luck, you'll have a good set of screens by the time the shipping
company locates New Hampshire on a map!

The fuse is now down to the housing of the bomb. The volcano is about to erupt. The
dam is going to burst. And your wife calls. You forgot your lunch, you forgot to take out
the garbage, and don't forget to stop and pick up something-or-other on the way home.
Just as you're hanging up the phone, one of the few employees in the building is punching
out for the day. "Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you about my doctor's appointment...." And
you reply: "You guess? Custer guessed!!"

In the middle of all this fun, another customer call, demanding a job quote in a
ridiculously short amount of time. It's for an outrageous project with quantities of fifteen
and twelve different printing options. Mind you, the quote is only for budgetary
considerations, but the customer needs it for tomorrow's board meeting. You hang up the
phone and mumble, "Idiot."

That customer is the straw that broke the camel's back. You are now over the edge, and
everyone is feeling your wrath. Depending on the type of person you are, you might jump
in your car and drive around until you cool off. Or you might play "ostrich," burying your
head in the hopes that today's problems will vanish at 5 o'clock and everything will be
different in the morning.

When most of us face these bad hair days, we do the most unproductive thing of all. It's
what I refer to as "posterior" management. As long as we have someone else's posterior
in our sites, we have somewhere else to level the blame. When we pass off the blame, our
sins are absolved! We vent our frustrations on any poor soul who gets in our way--
usually an innocent bystander. We can deal with the fallout later because, after all, it's not
personal. At least, not to us.

Where the fault lies

In situations like this, whose posterior really deserves a good kicking? Let's examine that
question closely.

Remember the truck that broke down? When was the last time it was serviced? Does the
company have a service policy and schedule, and is anyone keeping track of the service
records? If not, why not?

Remember all those employees who called in sick or left early? Do you have a policy for
absences or advance notice for leaving early? When you have no policy, you tend to be
too flexible, and when employees know you're flexible, they can bend you into knots. Do
you have a limit for tardiness, sick days or personal days? And do you cross-train
employees so all bases are still covered even when people take time off?

More self-inflicted wounds are found in the screenmaking department. How well are your
people trained, and are they responsible for doing quality checks before the screens are
scheduled to go on the press? No? Why not?

The delivery service responsible for the late ink shipment presents another serious
problem with a simple solution. Work only with those services that are dependable or get
yourself another vendor. Establish a list of criteria your suppliers must meet in order to
do business with you. It's called a "vendor certification program." Make sure your
suppliers know what's expected of them, and monitor their performance to keep them in

As for that job that was printed with the wrong color, look at the system you use for
writing orders and communicating production specifications to the people on the shop
floor. Are your orders clear, concise, and easy to understand? Do they leave room for
judgment calls, or do they spell out in no uncertain terms exactly how the job should be
produced? Who checks the production orders for accuracy? Who signs off on the color
and the print quality? Do all your people, including the sales people, understand the role
they play in getting the job done?

What about that last-minute quote request? Well, deal with it, because that's just part of
doing business.

The best corrective action is preventive action. If we deal with these little problems when
they are still little, we can put out the fire and take steps to keep it from igniting into
another full-blown crisis.
Next time you have a "bad hair day," think about what caused it in the first place. Was it
everyone and everything out to get you, or were you just your own worst enemy?
            Blotting the Screens

Check the local paper

                        Need a source of clean newsprint for
                        blotting screens? Your local
                        newspaper company is bound to have
                        some "end rolls" or "stub rolls" that
                        contain a lot of newsprint but are too
                        small to put back on the big presses.
                        You can often buy these rolls for a
                        reasonable price.
                            Bowl Scrapers

Get every drop

You can buy giant rubber bowl scrapers from restaurant supply houses that are ideal for
scraping the bottom of 5 gal. ink buckets.

                              Have some Brochures printed up to hand to your customers so
                                   they can see some of your work and company’s you have did
                                   work for. Brochures are single sheet documents usually printed
                                  in one or two colors or in a full four-color process. They come in
                                 several sizes and styles, depending on the application, and can
                                be custom printed to your specifications. Most printers can print in
                               full color and offer standard sizes of 8-1/2 x 11, 8-1/2 x 14, and 11
                              x 17. Research has shown that a brochure printed in four colors (full
                             color) will attract more attention than one printed in black & white
                            (two color). Paper stock will vary from printer to printer but most will
offer 60#                  to 100# gloss or matte text. A successful marketing strategy starts
with content and          design. Check with your printer, they are very flexible and may be able
to give you some great ideas on how to get started.

Take a Look at the Recommended Brochure Printing Companies Below.
                            Business Cards

Business cards are a good reminder for your customer to have and also you can
writ the price of the job on it Business cards traditionally come in a standard 2 x
3-1/2 size and are commonly printed on 100# or 12pt-14pt card stock. Many
printers have the ability to print full color custom graphics and pictures on the
front and back of your cards. Research has shown that a business card printed in
four colors (full color) will attract more attention than one printed in black & white
(two color). You can even create and design your card right online.
Business Forms

      Business forms are documents (invoices,
      receipts, purchase orders) used by
     companies to manage their accounting
    and finances. They are needed in any
    business, large or small, and come in
   various styles and sizes. Business forms
  can be printed straight from your computer
 or can be ordered for manual input. They
 also can be custom printed to reflect your
company logo
          Buying Emulsion in Bulk

Bigger is better

                   If you use direct emulsion at the rate of a gallon a
                   month or so, consider buying emulsion in 5-
                   gallon buckets. Get one clean plastic 1-gallon
                   bucket as a mixing bucket and mix the emulsion
                   as you need it, one gallon at a time. You can
                   order the sensitizer in quantities pre-measured for
                   mixing with one gallon. Most suppliers offer a
                   good discount on direct emulsion in 5-gallon lots.
                         Calibration Form

The Secrets of UV-Dryer Setup

                 UV CALIBRATION DATA

   Date: _______ UV Unit: ________________________

Lamp hours: 1=__________ 2=__________ 3=__________

                       Conveyor-speed setting (ft/min)
                  10      10     20     20      40       40
1. Time in
2. Time in
3. UV section
time (actual
4. % diff.
5. %

                 Temp               UV (mJ)
  Conveyor        (°F)
    speed          @ Lamp Lamp Lamp Lamp Lamp
  (Ft/min.)       UV setting setting setting setting setting
                      Call Back

Get the details

                  Always ask for the person's name, business,
                  address, and phone number any time any customer
                  calls and asks about your products. Put this
                  information into a computer data base. The best
                  computer program to do this is Act! From
                  Symantic. This information is valuable beyond
                  belief and hard to find and keep organized if you
                  don't do it right the first time.
                          Cap Printing

Smooth the wales

Are you having trouble getting a smooth, even-colored print on corduroy
caps? Try this tip. Mix 40-50% puff ink into the plastisol you regularly use.
When you cure the ink, the ink will puff up off the corduroy wales just
enough to give you a very even print. For a very sharp image, print this ink
mixture through a 160 mesh screen.

Reduce cleaning time

If you use spray tack (and most screen printers do), you know that it ends up
all over everything--especially the floor under your press. In some shops,
space is limited, and moving the press to clean under it is not easy. To avoid
this problem, cut a piece of cardboard the same size as the side of your
machine's base. Then secure it to the base with tape. You end up with a
disposable spray-tack baffle that cuts down on tack buildup, saves time, and
costs little or nothing. When a spray-tack "wig" starts to grow on the baffle,
simply throw it away and cut a new one. You can also tape cardboard to the
floor directly under the print station to avoid even more cleanup headaches.
    Choosing the Right Printer for your Job
With each printing job you order, your choice of printer can
                           change. Experienced buyers of
                           printing services often use
                           several printers regularly. Your
                           main goal as a consumer is
                           match your print job to the
                           printer who gives the best
                           quality at the lowest price.

                             Printers can specialize in many
areas. Some printers specialize in continuous-form materials
such as invoices and purchase orders. Other printers focus
on books, newsletters or post cards. It is also possible for
printers to incorporate different printing methods as well,
such as the popular offset lithography and gravure printing,
while others use techniques like flexography or screen-

Giving all your jobs to one printer often means paying more
than you need to or settling for lower quality. Some printers
may accept a job they don't have the equipment to do
themselves, only to outsource it to someone who can.

Put large projects out to bid
Since some printers use different types of equipment, they
may not be the suited to handle every print job. Since
efficiency is the key, you may need to put large or complex
print jobs out to bid. In other words, let competing printers
vie for your business. This will allow you to find the best and
most efficient printer based upon your particular print job.
Giving all of your jobs to one printer often means paying
more than necessary or settling for lower quality. Some
printers will often accept a job they don’t have the
equipment to complete, only to outsource it to someone who
can. It would be more cost effective to find a printer that
can complete the print job alone than to send the job out to
another company.

Check References & Build a Relationship
How good is a printer’s service? An effective customer
service representative will help manage the process
smoothly and provide information as needed. You want a
printer that will be able to make recommendations about paper
sizes or ink. This will eventually help you become more efficient which
will allow you to save time and money.
                   Cleaning a silk-screen printer

It is important to thoroughly clean a silk-screen printer after using it. Leaving ink to dry
on the screen will ruin it.

Use plenty of rags or soft absorbent paper and the appropriate cleaning solvent to remove
all the ink as soon as possible after using the printer.


       Keep flammable cleaning solvents away from flames.

Cleaning solvents

       Here are the solvents to use to clean a silk-screen printer:

         If you use...      Then clean the printer                 And clean it...
       Oil-base ink           •   Rubbing alcohol        At the end of the printing job, or
                              •   Gasoline (petrol)      within a few days at most.
                              •   Kerosene
                              •   Paint thinner          Tip: Leave it covered or
                              •   Soap and water              wrapped well if you do not
                                                              clean it immediately.
       Water soluble          •   Soap and water         Immediately after the last use, or
       ink                                               the ink will harden and ruin the
                 Cleaning Rags

Check the hospitals

               Running out of cleaning rags? Contact local hospitals
               and nursing homes. They regularly throw out old bed
               sheets, operating room sheets, and worn-out gowns.
               They may be willing to give them away or sell them to
               you for a reasonable price. The sheets are usually
               laundered before they are disposed, so they are clean.
                  Cleaning the Platens

Try a spray can lid

To quickly and easily remove lint and spray adhesive from a platen, spray a
                                   little cleaning solvent on the dirty platen
                                   and then scrape the lint off with the
                                   plastic lid of an adhesive spray can. The
                                   lid won't scratch the platen. It is easy to
                                   hold and will quickly scrape off the old
                                   adhesive and lint. You can wipe the
                                   platen clean with a rag.
                        Color Balance

Using natural light

                                          If you can't afford a special color
                                          balanced lamps to illuminate
                                          areas where you do color
                                          evaluation and color matching,
                                          your best bet is to use a room
                                          with white walls and large, north-
                                          facing windows without curtains.
Do your color matches in this room during the middle of the day. This is the
best natural light for seeing color.
                        Color Matching

Run a test square through the dryer first

                            When trying to create an ink color, don't mix
                            the ink, load the screen, print the shirt, and then
                            find out that the ink color changes slightly
                            when you run it through the dryer. Instead, mix
                            the ink dab a little on a test square and run it
                            through your dryer. When it comes out, dab
                            some next to the cured ink and accommodate
                            the color change by lightening or darkening
                            your color before you load any on the screen.
This saves you from having to clean screens between color changes.

Buy in bulk

                                           Reduce your costs and consumption
                                           of screen-cleaning and other
                                           solvents by buying in bulk, then
                                           transferring the chemicals into
                                           small, easy-to-use containers. By
                                           doing this, you can avoid the high
                                           cost of buying chemicals in small
                                           quantities as well as the waste
                                           associated with dispensing
chemicals frequently from large containers. However, make sure that you
follow all of the rules for storing large quantities of chemicals properly and
safely, and label your dispensing containers according to the Right-to-Know
              Create a Glossy Transfer

How to wow your customers

                                  Here’s a slick trick to impress those
                                  customers who want a glossy transfer look
                                  on their direct-printed garments. After the
                                  design is printed and cured, put the garment
                                  in a transfer press with a piece of smooth
                                  cold-release transfer paper or Teflon-coated
                                  fabric between the heated platen and the
                                  ink. The heat and pressure of the press and
                                  the smooth layer of paper or cloth will leave
                                  a shiny, smooth surface on your direct-
                                  printed design. You must experiment with
heat, pressure, time, and paper to achieve just the effect you want. The
smoother the release paper or fabric, the shinier the print. Let the garment
cool before peeling. This technique is especially effective with metallic inks.
                           Credit Card

Put your junk mail to work

                             Many organizations send out plastic
                             membership cards similar in size to credit
                             cards. I save all the heavier ones and use
                             them to scrape excess ink from the screens,
                             apply block out, and in some cases as a
                             squeegee on a very small image. They clean
                             up easily and if one inadvertently gets
thrown out--no big loss.
           Critical Factors in Screen Printing

                                     Screen printing can be easy and fun, or hard work
                                     and very frustrating, depending on the procedures
                                     used. What procedures do you use?

                                     Do you use wooden frames? Do you take ink from
                                     the manufacturer s container and put the ink in the
                                     screen? Do you have sore joints, such as elbows and

                                    The sore joints are carpel tunnel syndrome. Printing
                                    stiff inks through low tension screens on a repetitive
basis can cause carpel tunnel syndrome. Stiff inks and low tension screens can also make
printing hard work and achieving acceptable quality a frustrating adventure. These are
problems common to many shops, and avoidable. Here are the solutions.

Inks Any screen printer with even minimal experience will recognize that some inks are
stiff while others are loose. Most people compensate for the inconsistency with squeegee
pressure and angle. That is a mistake.

The first of two objectives with ink is to have all colors print the same regardless of color.
If the inks print consistently regardless of color, then a consistent squeegee angle and
pressure can be used. Ink consistency is a critical factor to improving quality.

The way an ink prints can be modified using two products all ink manufactures and their
distributors offer. These products are soft hand clear (also known as extender base and by
other labels) and curable reducer. Ink is mostly composed of PVC (plastic), plasticizer,
and pigment (color). PVC is a white powder, but by adding a clear, oily-like fluid called
plasticizer the combination becomes either soft hand clear or curable reducer.

The difference between soft hand clear and curable reducer is the relative proportions of
PVC and plasticizer. Soft hand looks and prints like ink, because it is ink, but it has no
pigment added. Curable reducer is plasticizer with a little PVC added to reduce the risk of
too much plasticizer being added to ink. If too much is added to ink, the ink will never
cure regardless of the time and temperature of curing. So curable reducer has to be used
very carefully.

Most inks are made with more pigment than is necessary for the job. The manufacturer of
the ink does not know whether the ink will be printed on a light or dark shirt. If the
amount of pigment in ink is insufficient to provide the opacity desired, the only solution
is a heavier, perhaps bullet-proof , print. On the other hand, if there is more pigment than
required, the solution is simple.

                                    The soft hand is ink without pigment. If soft hand is
                                    mixed with pigmented ink, the percentage of pigment
                                    will decline. 10-15 years ago it was common to use 7
                                    parts, for example, of soft hand with one part of
                                    pigmented ink to prepare an ink for printing. Today
                                    inks are much more user friendly, and do not require
                                    such severe alteration. However, frequently, they do
                                    require some adjustment to meet the requirements of a

                                    Before adjusting the ink, stir the soft hand in the
manufacturer s container. Then stir some pigmented inks. Compare. You will notice the
soft hand stirs easier, and may appear more creamy. Print the soft hand through a screen.
Print a pigmented ink. You will notice the soft hand prints easier. There is less resistance
to the squeegee. That is significant. The ease of printing, and therefore the amount of
squeegee pressure you will feel is required, is in part determined by the pigment in the

So if soft hand can be added to ink, the combination of soft hand and pigmented ink will
take on the printing characteristics of the soft hand clear. The concentration of pigment
will be reduced. This procedure is acceptable, if used for light colored garments, but not
dark garments, because opacity will be reduced.

The amount by which an ink can be altered without losing color strength can be
determined by testing. First, print the color through a screen on a scrap shirt. That
provides a color sample using 100% pigmented ink. Then, mix equal portions of
pigmented ink with soft hand clear so that the pigmented portion is only 50% of the total.
Only teaspoon quantities of each are necessary. Mix well and print next to the first print
sample. Do the colors match? If yes, repeat the experiment, but this time with two
portions of soft hand and one of pigmented. Mix well and print next to the prior two

The progression of testing is 100% pigmented ink, 50%, 33% (1 of 3 parts), 25% (1 of 4
parts), 20% (1 of 5 parts), and so forth. At some point the print sample will be lighter in
color. At that point the ink has been modified too much. The prior mixture that provided
the color strength desired will also provide the maximum assistance to printing easily.

This mixture should be recorded on the job record, along with notes that the ink was
applied to white or light colored garments. If the ink is stirred well, and the stick used for
stirring pulled straight out of the container, the ink probably will draw out like taffy or
gum. Such long body inks require one more modification step.
Curable reducer changes the adhesive quality of ink. An addition of 2-4% by weight to
the ink can have dramatic affects on the way ink prints. The composition of curable
reducer differs substantially depending on the ink company that made the product. If the
curable reducer is watery, then strict compliance to the rule of not applying more than 2-
4% is important, or the ink will come out of the shirts in the customer s wash. If the
curable reducer pours more like a heavy dairy cream, then up to 10% can be applied.
Always measure with a scale. Never just pour curable reducer into an ink container.

                                 When ink containers are opened, sometimes what
                                 appears to be a clear oil is visible on top of the ink. That
                                 is plasticizer. When the ink is mixed well in the
                                 manufacturer s container, the ink becomes easier to stir.
                                 That is because the plasticizer is being absorbed into the
                                 ink. That minute quantity of plasticizer on top of the ink
                                 has a dramatic affect on how the ink stirs. So an addition
                                 of 2-4% will have a similar impact on ink, although such
                                 modification should never be made in the manufacturer s

                                  The curable reducer, then, allows ink to shear more
easily. When ink that has been modified is stirred, and the stick removed, the ink falls off
the stick more easily rather than drawing out like taffy or gum. The ink will release from
the screen easier when printing, and printing will be easier. Inks can be modified to be
consistent achieving one of the critical factors to printing success.

One word of caution is in order. If curable reducer is added to process inks, dot gain may
be experienced. So it is better not to use curable reducer when printing with process inks.
All inks should be stirred and compared before adding any soft hand or curable reducer.
Some inks being sold today will not require modification for your particular job.

The second objective with ink is to mix the ink for the printing situation. For example, a
coarse mesh like 60 or 110 monofilament requires an ink with more body than when
printing with 305 mesh. When there are 305 holes per inch, they are a lot smaller than
when there are only 110 holes per inch. The ink to be printed through a high mesh count
like 305 needs to shear a lot easier than when using a coarse mesh.

There are other factors determining the printing situation. Dark garments will need more
opacity than light, and so slightly more body or adhesive quality to the ink will be
helpful. The texture of the garment can make a difference also. The keys to determining
just how an ink should be prepared are experience and record keeping, but modifying ink
to the printing situation is a critical factor to printing success.

The benefits you can expect to realize by modifying inks include easier printing, faster
printing, less ink printed, more consistency in the thickness of the ink deposit, softer
hand, less ink build up under screens, and better registration.
Screens Nearly all screen printers recognize that tighter screens perform better than soft
screens. The fact is that all mesh relaxes, and unless there is a way to return to the higher
tension previously enjoyed, a screen printer is doomed to print on low tension screens
that are known to produce quality unequal to tight screens.

                                      A brand new mesh, such as a 205 or 305, will relax as
                                      much as 25% within two hours after initial tensioning
                                      to its initial limit. A more coarse mesh will not relax
                                      as dramatically, but still substantially. If the mesh is
                                      retensioned to its limit without breaking, the mesh
                                      will relax another 15% within 4 hours. If the mesh is
retensioned a third time and checked after 8 hours, the tension will decline about 5%.
After each print run, if the tension is checked, it will decline about 3-5%. After the mesh
has been retensioned several times and printed on 500 times, the mesh is work hardened
and dimensionally stable.

Tight mesh offers a number of benefits. The mesh is less likely to move out of
registration during printing or to allow one color to bleed into another. Flash curing can
be omitted in most printing situations, and therefore productivity increased. Registering
screens can be easier, and less ink builds up under the screens when printing off-contact.

There are less obvious benefits. For example, a tight screen offers less resistance when
pulling a squeegee, reducing labor, and cuts the ink more cleanly and evenly rather than
dragging the ink across the surface or printing a heavier than desirable deposit of ink.

Soft mesh that is coated with liquid emulsion may have visibly thicker emulsion towards
the center of the screen than close to the frame. The inconsistent stencil thickness will
deposit more ink from the center of the screen. If the objective is continuous change in
color across an image, the uneven quantity of ink deposited may produce color that does
not meet the job requirement. Tight screens avoid this problem. Capillary film also can be
used to insure a uniform stencil thickness.

                                  Soft mesh also allows driving ink into a shirt or through
                                  a shirt. When a shirt is soaked in ink, and then cured, a
                                  bullet proof print results. Any time ink appears on a
                                  platen, then the ink passed through the shirt rather than
                                  being cut off and dropped on top of the garment. Ink that
                                  is embedded in the shirt is more difficult to cure, because
                                  the ink is insulated from heat by the fabric. Garments
                                  with ink on the surface cure faster with less heat and less
                                  risk of scorching.

Mesh tension, then, is a critical factor. When this requirement is met, then achieving the
next critical factor is possible. The mesh must be parallel to the print surface and at a
uniform off-contact distance to release a consistent ink deposit and to hold registration.
Off-contact printing allows depositing and cutting ink to a uniform thickness. Printing
on-contact, by contrast, would pick ink up from the image when raising the screen. Ink
under a screen would build up and spread under the screen as the screen makes repetitive
contact with the garment. Image resolution would suffer, and the color printed may be
unsatisfactory by the insufficient quantity of ink printed.

                                  A uniform off-contact distance is easy to achieve by
                                  simply setting up the press with a piece of plexiglass
                                  1/16-1/8 thick on the platen and the color arm that holds
                                  the screen resting on the off-contact bolt in the
                                  registration gate. The screen must rest on the plexiglass
                                  at all four corners of the mesh. Then when the plexiglass
                                  is removed the mesh will be parallel to the platen and
                                  off-contact by a uniform distance.

The screen should be checked for flatness by resting the screen on plate glass. If two
opposite corners rock, then the screen should be adjusted to be flat. The platen can be
checked for flatness with a straight edge.

Capillary Film When the emulsion manufacturer coats a polyester sheet with emulsion to
very precise thickness standards, the possibility of an inconsistent stencil thickness from
pulling the scoop coater an inconsistent number of times, or at different angles, speeds
and pressures is eliminated.

Capillary film allows a more predictable ink deposit. A thinner film and ink deposit
would be desirable for process printing, and thicker when more opacity is important.
Very thick films, that is, films 50 microns to possibly 1000 microns can be used with
high density inks to print a third dimension in addition to width and height. The hand or
feel of the image will be smoother also with capillary film. Pin holes are eliminated,
because film is applied to a wet screen that has been flushed of all pin hole causing dust

The exact amount of light necessary to expose different stencil materials can be measured
with an exposure calculator. Positives are commonly made using inexpensive vellum
paper on computers and photocopy machines. The images typically are not dense black
and allow light to pass through the image. The exposure calculator and predictable stencil
thickness are important to avoiding over or under exposure.

Squeegee The blade is intended to cut the ink. The blade should be straight and sharp.
Straightness can be checked by standing the squeegee up on a surface known to be flat,
like glass, and back lighted. If light appears under the blade, the blade is not straight. A
local carpenter with a planer can straighten the blade.

A squeegee should be sharpened each day. Like a barber bringing up the edge of his razor
by running the razor over the leather strap before each customer, the screen printer needs
to bring up the edge on a square edge that is already sharp. All that is required is fine
sand paper like a 200 grit mounted on a flat board between two wood strips that hold the
squeegee straight up while the squeegee is dragged lightly across the sand paper. Very
little material will be removed from the blade.

                                   Press The screen can be very tight, the ink can cut
                                   easily, and the stencil can deliver a uniform quantity of
                                   ink, but if the press is moving during the process,
                                   quality will suffer. The platen must not move. Push
                                   down on your platens. Do they move? If so, they need
                                   to be supported. The platen should be as stiff as the
                                   floor you stand on.

                                   Similarly, when the color arm of the press is in or out of
the registration gate, even before a screen is put in the machine, the color arm must not
deflect. Try twisting the arm when out of the registration gate. Try moving the arm
laterally when the arm is in the registration gate.

When screens are tightened in the channel clamps, the flanges of the channel clamp must
not spread out of parallel from tightening the knobs on the screen. The person printing
can avoid introducing a pitch to screens by checking that both flanges are parallel.

The support to the printing process provided by the press is a critical factor to your

Curing Heat level does not replace dwell time that an ink is exposed to the heat. Many
screen printers think they only have to turn the heat level up to get a full cure. Actually,
sometimes it is necessary to turn the heat level down, but leave the garment in the dryer
for a longer period of time.

Curing inks is like cooking a turkey. A 25 lb turkey takes longer to cook than a 10 lb
turkey. If we try to speed up the cooking of a 25 lb turkey by increasing the heat level,
the outside of the turkey will be burned and the center uncooked. As inks are printed in
thicker deposits or with greater amounts of pigment, more time is required for the heat to
penetrate the ink and raise the ink temperature to a point of fusion with the garment.

A process ink printed through 20 microns and a 305 mesh may take only 20 seconds for a
full cure under the right dryer, but a high density ink printed through 400 microns and a
60 mesh may require a minute and a half for full fusion to the garment.

The Critical Factors These are the fundamentals to printing quality images cost
effectively and with the least effort. These fundamentals are the same whether printing on
T-shirts, caps, signs, beach balls or hockey pucks. Once these critical factors have been
adopted for your printing, then you will be ready to move to advanced printing methods.
        Customer Relations

How does your business sound?

                  When you're away from your office, call
                   your business and pretend to be a customer.
                   How does your business sound over the
                  phone? Are your employees friendly and
                 helpful, or does someone answers the phone
                 with a "yea?" or even worse "Joe's Screen
                printing, whadda ya want?" If you have a
                voice mail system, is it easy to use, or time
               consuming and intimidating?
               Cutting Ruby Film

Don't slice too deeply

              When cutting ruby film with an artist's knife, never use a
              brand new blade. The sharp new blades often penetrate
              both layers of film, damaging the art underneath and
              making the entire phototool delicate and prone to tear. To
              avoid this, run the new blade across a piece of wood or
              cardboard before using it to cut film. This leaves the
              blade sharp enough for detailed work but dulls it just
              enough to keep you from accidentaly cutting deeper than
you want.
                      Darkroom Dust

Don't sweep!

Never sweep or vacuum in the darkroom. Sweeping stirs up dust that settles
on lenses, film, cover glass, and art. Instead, damp mop the darkroom at
least once a week.
                     Diazo Tips

Burst your bubbles

                Here are two diazo tips: To make sure that the diazo
                powder is completely dissolved, check the white
                bottle-cap liner. If you see brown flecks, keep
                shaking. Also, after you mix the diazo solution into
                the emulsion (using only plastic or stainless-steel
                blades, please), let the emulsion stand for at least an
                hour so that the bubbles can rise to the surface and
            Dissolving Diazo Sensitizer

Warm it up

                                          Do you have a problem dissolving
                                          your diazo sensitizer--that brown
                                          powder you add to direct emulsions?
                                          Do you shake and shake the little
                                          bottle, but are still unable to dissolve
the "goo" at the bottom? Next time, speed up the task by using warm water
for dissolving the sensitizer. You will be amazed by how much time you
save. Of course, take note that diazo powder is heat sensitive. Use a
thermometer to make sure the water you use is no warmer than 110 degrees
              Dry Capillary Film

Check the dryness indicator

               One of the nice things about capillary film is that,
               unlike direct emulsions, it has a built-in dryness
               indicator. If the polyester backing sheet peels off
               easily, then the capillary film is dry enough to expose.
               If the backing sheet is hard to remove, or will not peel
               off at all, let the screen dry another 30 min.
       Economical Emulsion Remover

Try a spray gun

The most efficient and economical way to apply emulsion remover to a
                            screen is with a spray gun. You can pick up a 1-
                            2 gal. sprayer at your local hardware store and
                            it will hold enough emulsion remover to clean
                            100-120 screens. The same amount of emulsion
                            remover applied with a brush from a bucket
                            will only clean about 50 screens. The same tip
                            will also work with degreasers. Make sure the
                            sprayer you buy is caustic-chemical resistant or
                            the reclaimer will dissolve some of its working
parts. Always remember to wear plastic gloves, a plastic apron, and goggles
when working with these chemicals.
                        Fan Cage Filter

Bust the dust

                                       When drying screens in your
                                       screenroom, it is not recommended that
                                       you have fans blowing across the
                                       emulsion to dry them because they'll
                                       also blow dust, dirt, and lint into the
                                       wet emulsion. Nevertheless, it's a fact
                                       of life that most screen printers do this.
                                       Here's what we do to handle this
                                       problem. Cut a piece of screen mesh
                                       and tape it to the back side of the fan
cage to act as a filter. Your screens will dry without being contaminated with
dust particles that cause pinholes.
                        Film Box

Dissipate static beforehand

              Does your capillary film attract dust that causes pinholes
              and other screen-preparation problems? To avoid dust-
              related difficulties, try to reduce the amount of static in
              your capillary film. Cut your film pieces about 10-15
              min. before you plan to use them, and store them in a
              large, flat film box. Cutting and storing in this manner
              will cause the static to dissipate so that you can brush
              any dust off of the film.
                            Film Cutting

Use that table!

                                                 Always cut overlapping film
                                                 on a light table. This helps in
                                                 all aspects of film creation.
                                                 Your films will register better
                                                 and it is easier to keep track of
                                                 what you are doing. Also,
always tape at least three sides of each film to your light table. That way you
reduce the chance of your films slipping to almost zero.
                 Film Removal

How to keep it together

                           When pulling off the small pieces of
                          ruby masking film, keep the area clean
                          by sticking them to a piece of tape. Roll
                          the tape into a cylinder (sticky side out)
                          and place it on your finger or the
Finishing the screen frame of a silk-screen printer

How to make a silk-screen printer for all the steps in making a silk-screen printer.

Follow these steps to finish the screen frame of a silk-screen printer:

   1. Tap the nails (tack’s) in far enough so that they do not stick out and the surface of
      the screen frame is smooth.
   2. Sandpaper all surfaces with the medium sandpaper..
   3. Apply one coat of varnish.
   4. Let dry for at least 24 hours.
   5. Sandpaper lightly with the fine sandpaper.
   6. Apply the second coat of varnish.
   7. Let dry again for at least 24 hours.


Varnish on top
                    Flash Curing Nylon
Try a liner

Ever wonder why flash curing multicolor designs on nylon jackets is
relatively easy, while doing the same thing with nylon bags and piece goods
is more difficult? The liner in the nylon jacket is the secret: It insulates the
platen. When printing piece goods, a hot platen makes the ink stay tacky
longer. Here is a solution that has worked for me: Apply a layer of platen
adhesive or platen paper (glued on one side) to a clean platen. Using a web
spray adhesive, glue a layer of fleece material onto the platen. Then apply
some spray adhesive to the top of the fleece and begin printing normally.
                     Flash Gun Substitute

Try a paint-stripping gun

If your flash-curing unit is being repaired, you
need two flash-cure units and only have one, or
you don't have a flash-curing unit, a paint-
stripping gun can be a practical substitute. Paint-
stripping guns, available from most hardware and
paint stores, can also be used to cure prints too
large for your flash-curing unit. (These guns are
like super-strength hair dryers that blow high
volumes of hot air.) Some paint-stripping guns
have high and low settings. Use the low setting
for nylon and the high setting for cotton.

Print up some flyers to put on car windshield’s so you can get your t-
shirt business going fast, Flyers are single sheet documents usually
printed in one or two colors or in a full four-color process. They come
in                       several sizes and styles, depending on the
                          application, and can be custom printed to
                          your specifications. Most printers can print in
                           full color and offer standard sizes of 8-1/2 x
                            11, 8-1/2 x 14, and 11 x 17. Research has
                            shown that a flyer printed in four colors (full
                             color) will attract more attention than one
                             printed in black & white. Paper stock will
                              vary from printer to printer but most will
                              offer 60# to 100# gloss or matte text. A
                               successful marketing strategy starts with
                               content and design. Check with your
            printer, they are very flexible and may be able to give you
some great ideas on how to get started.
                       Friendly Design

Can this design be printed?

                          Can your designers print the designs they create?
Nothing will improve the printability of your designs faster than having the
designers prepare screens and print their designs periodically. Remember,
"printer-friendly" designs are faster, easier, and less expensive to print.
                      Garment Quality

You get what you pay for

                             It always pays to print on the best garments
                             possible. Top-quality T-shirts are more
                             consistently sized. The colors match better from
                             batch to batch, and the shirts look better and
                             shrink less after washing. But the best reason for
                             using top-quality shirts is that your designs will
                             print and look better on them. T-shirt fabric is a
knit material that consists mainly of cotton fibers (or a cotton -polyester
blend) and air. Low-quality shirts have more air and fewer fibers in the mix.
High-quality shirts have more fibers and less air. You can't screen print on
air; the ink won't stick. The more fibers you have under the screen when the
squeegee passes, the brighter and sharper your print will look.
                      Garments See the Light

With Electroluminescent Heat Transfers

Last year, introduced readers to screen-printable electroluminescent (EL) lamps that can
be used in electronics and other industrial and graphics applications. allows the
production of EL panels solely from screen-printable materials. Now the company is
taking EL technology into the safety and novelty arenas, as well. Read on to discover
how you can use its latest discovery--EL heat transfers--to expand the appeal and
functionality of your decorated garments.

                                  Nearly everyone has seen children's athletic shoes that flash
                                  in various colors of light with each step that a child takes.
                                  Tiny light-emitting diodes (LEDs) embedded along with
                                  small batteries in the soles of each shoe are the source of the
                                  flashes, which are triggered by pressure from walking,
                                  running, and jumping.

                                  Shoes and garments that emit or reflect light have proven
                                  popular not only for their novelty, but also for the safety
                                  value their high visibility provides. Today, besides LEDs in
                                  shoes, we see a variety of technologies and materials used to
Figure 1: EL heat transfers       enhance the visibility of fire-fighting uniforms and other
This image shows a                emergency-service clothing, options that include
functional EL transfer after      photoluminescent (glow-in-the-dark) as well as reflective
application to a garment. The
eyes and teeth, lit
                                  films and inks.
simultaneously here, are
each a separate EL panels    However, with photoluminescent products, light emission
                             decreases over a relatively short time (typically under 12
that can be lit sequentially at
a speed determined by the    hours) when the material remains exposed to darkness. And
                             reflective materials only "light up" when they are struck by
light from vehicles or other sources.

Imagine an alternative that would provide the continuous-lighting benefits of an LED and
the flexibility and durability of printable material. Consider the additional benefits you
could realize by powering the printed material in timed intervals to create a pulsing light
effect, rather than just continuous lighting. These capabilities aren't science fiction;
they're real performance attributes of polyurethane-based electroluminescent lamps,
lamps that can be combined with graphics to produce light-emitting heat transfers for
application to a wide assortment of garments.
The appeal of EL

EL technology is not new to the area of safety clothing. Conventional EL films, such as
those used in electronics appli-cations, have seen some limited use by cyclists and
runners. But these films are typically just small panels that are affixed to garments
temporarily--they are not permanent elements of the clothing, nor do they exhibit the high
flexibility one expects from a garment.

With printable EL materials, however, garment screen printers can create light-emitting
designs that are flexible, durable, and permanent parts of the garments to which they are
applied. This means EL designs can be optimized for particular safety applications and
garment styles while providing more comfort for the wearer.

Because printers can create EL designs and patterns in virtually any configuration, the
benefits of the technology extend beyond safety applications. Coupled with
multifunctional power supplies, complex lighting sequences can be created that not only
light up but animate garment graphics. Based on the success of other light-emitting and
reflective garments, this new EL technology promises a high level of appeal when used in
children's clothing and novelty products. It's use in promotional T-shirt graphics is also
promising because it turns decorated T-shirts into highly-visible mobile maquees.

Depending on the specific light-emitting chemistry chosen, printable EL materials will
give off different colors of light when powered, as well as a range of different reflective
colors when un-powered in daylight. The results when used as heat-transfers for garments
are images that look much like conventional graphics in daylight conditions, but "come
alive" with a light show when activated in darkness.

The materials and construction methods used to create EL transfers re-sult in transferred
graphics that will withstand multiple washing and drying cycles. Additionally, the small
battery-operated power sources included with garments that feature EL transfers present
no risk of shock (the wearer of an EL garment could safely stand under a shower while
the EL design was activated).
          Gauging Squeegee Pressure

Don't work too hard

It's easy to tell when you're not putting enough pressure on the squeegee:
You don't get good ink coverage on the shirts and the design looks faded or
uneven in spots. But is it possible to use too much squeegee pressure? How
can you tell when you do? Yes, it is possible to use too much squeegee
pressure in both automatic and manual printing. It's also easy to detect this--
both during printing and on the printed shirt. During printing, just keep
checking the platens on your press. If you can see the design printed on the
platen, then you're pushing too hard. You're printing the ink through the
shirt, not onto the shirt. You're working too hard and wasting ink, too. Too
much squeegee pressure wastes ink, tires printers, and smudges designs.
When I'm evaluating the quality of the print on a T-shirt, I always turn the
shirt inside-out. I look at the back of the printed area closely to see how
deeply the ink penetrates the shirt. Halfway is about right. If I can clearly see
ink on the inside of the shirt, I know that the printer, or the person who set
up the automatic press, was applying too much pressure to the squeegee.
                   Get What You Pay For:

How to inspect a t-shirt

What makes some T-shirts better than others? Or to put it another way, why are you
willing to pay more for some brands than others? Is one brand better simply because it
costs more or because the ads say it's better? Maybe it's time to find out if you're getting
your money's worth.

All else aside, you need T-shirts that provide a good printing surface. They must be well-
designed, made with good quality materials and free from mill defects. They should not
discolor the print and should wash well. How can you determine if a T-shirt has these
qualities? It's really not difficult.

Fabric concerns

Several factors affect how well a T-shirt will print and how good the print will look after
the shirt has been worn and washed a few times. The first factor you should be familiar
with is called fiber mass (Figure 1).

                                                  Figure 1: Fiber mass

                                                  The higher a
                                                  garment's fiber mass,
                                                  the better the quality
                                                  of the garment and
                                                  your print. Here, two
                                                  different shirts
                                                  printed with a black
                                                  design on the front
                                                  show the influence of
                                                  fiber mass. The shirt
                                                  on the left has a
                                                  lower fiber mass and
                                                  the print shows
                                                  through two layers of
                                                  the garment.

Generally speaking, T-shirt fabric is a mixture of two substances: fiber and air. Fiber
mass is simply the ratio of fibers to air. The fibers may be cotton or polyester, but fiber
type isn't the property of greatest concern. What's more important is how many fibers the
shirt has to support the graphic--you can print on fibers, but not on air.

Get a magnifying glass and take a close look at a T-shirt. Even the heaviest T-shirt has
                         lots of spaces in the fabric. You can see large spaces between
                         the loops of yarn with the naked eye. But there are also tiny
                         spaces between the fibers in the yarn. T-shirts with lots of
                         fibers and very little air (high fiber mass) are called
                         heavyweight T-shirts. T-shirts with less fiber and more spaces
                         are called less friendly names by screen printers who've had to
                         print them.

                           How can you determine what the fiber mass of a garment is?
                           It's not practical for you to measure it in your shop. However,
two numbers--one you should know and the other you can calculate--are a good
indication of fiber mass: fabric weight and stitch density.

Fabric weight -- The first thing to check is the weight of the T-shirt fabric. The jersey
material used to make most T-shirts ranges from 5-6 oz/sq yd. Usually, the higher the
fabric weight, the greater the fabric mass. Obviously, it's not practical to weigh a square
yard of T-shirt fabric. Some mills provide that information in their sales literature; with
others, you have to ask for it.

Stitch density -- The second number you should know is stitch density. You can measure
                              the stitch density of any T-shirt yourself. All you need is a
                              linen tester (a small magnifying device you can purchase
                              from your screen-printing supplier) and a steady hand. To
                              calculate stitch density, first count the number of courses per
                              inch (courses are the rows of stitches across the fabric). Then
count the number of wales per inch (wales are the chains of loops that run up and down
the fabric). Multiply courses per inch by wales per inch and the resulting figure is the
stitch density. All other things being equal, the T-shirt with the higher stitch density will
have the higher fabric mass.

As a training exercise, I strongly recommend that you purchase several different brands
of T-shirts, determine their fabric weight, calculate their stitch density and record the
results. You will find the data very interesting.

Inspection time

You can make relatively accurate determinations of fiber mass by inspecting an
assortment of T-shirts. Purchase some white and black sample shirts (all the same size)
from a variety of mills. Lay them all out on an inspection table with a white surface (or a
table covered with a white bed sheet or a butcher paper) in a room with excellent lighting.
Lift and feel each garment. The garments with high fiber mass will feel heavier and
smoother. Inspect the surface of each garment with a 5x magnifying glass. The garments
with a smoother surface will print better.

Pick up a black T-shirt and look through one layer of the fabric using a strong light
behind it. The garments with heavier fiber mass will block out more light. Take some
squares of stiff black paper (construction paper works fine) and place one under each
white garment. On really flimsy shirts, the square of black paper will show through two
layers of fabric. Next, place the squares of black paper inside each T-shirt, between the
two layers of fabric. On some shirts, the black will show through one layer of fabric to
some degree, but not on other shirts. The results of these tests will show you which
brands of T-shirts have higher fiber mass. Keep records of the test results. You will need
them later.

Compare sizes

While the sample shirts are laid out on the inspection table, check the sizing. Sizes will
vary dramatically from mill to mill. One mill's large will be the same size as another
mill's medium. The easiest and fastest way to check sizes is to lay one shirt over another
(Figure 2). You will quickly notice the size variations from mill to mill. Minor variations
in size among manufacturers are to be expected and are not a problem, but when the
variations are a full size, you should take notice.

                                                Figure 2: Size

                                                Sizes listed on T-
                                                shirt labels can be
                                                misleading, so it's a
                                                good idea to
                                                compare different
                                                brands. According to
                                                their respective
                                                manufacturers, both
                                                of these shirts are
                                                adult large sizes.

Construction details

Turn the T-shirts inside out and look at how the neck and shoulder seams are sewn. The
collar may have two seams, one seam, or no seams. On some brands, a piece of cloth tape
will be sewn up one shoulder seam, across the back of the collar and down the other
shoulder seam. With other brands, the cloth tape is sewn just across the back, inside the
collar. After checking the collar and shoulder seams, inspect the hems on the sleeves and
the bottom of the T-shirt. These are usually sewn in one of two ways. Most commonly, a
single line of tiny, vertical stitches (called blind stitching) is used. On some garments,
however, you will find seams sewn with two parallel lines of stitches.

For the screen printer and the ultimate wearer, these construction details don't matter too
much, but you should be aware of them and how they vary from brand to brand. You
should also make a habit of inspecting a random assortment of T-shirts from time to time
to see if the sewing is neat and consistent.

Some screen printers prefer T-shirts with what is called a quarter-turned body. I'm sure
you've noticed that most T-shirts have a fold down the front of the shirt. (By the way, this
fold is not a reliable indicator of the center of the shirt.) Some screen printers find that
this fold interferes with the accurate printing of fine details and requires too much platen
adhesive to hold down. So they buy quarter-turned shirts, which have the fabric tube that
makes up the body of the shirt turned one quarter before it is cut during manufacturing.
The folds run down the sides of the T-shirt, rather than down the front and back. If you
have problems printing on the fold in the middle, ask for quarter-turned shirts.

Jersey or interlock knit

Another option for textile screen printers is interlock-knit garments. Interlock-knit
                                  garments have a heavier, smoother fabric than standard
                                  jersey-knit garments. You can tell interlock knit from
                                  jersey knit by its appearance. Jersey-knit fabric looks
                                  different on the back than it does on the front, but
                                  interlock knit looks the same on both sides. T-shirts
                                  made from interlock-knit fabric cost more, but often
                                  work better for designs with extremely fine details such
                                  as process-color prints.

Mill defects

Wouldn't it be great if nobody ever made mistakes? Wouldn't it be great if you never
misprinted a shirt? Wouldn't it be great if every shirt the mills shipped was constructed
exactly according to specs? But this is the real world. Everybody makes mistakes,
including the T-shirt mills.

What is a reasonable rate of T-shirts with mill defects? Based on my experience and
conversations with knowledgeable screen printers and mill insiders, you should expect a
mill defect rate of less than 0.5%. Regularly inspect a random sample of your incoming
T-shirts for mill defects and keep records of the results. It's not practical to expect the
printers to do this while they are printing the shirts, although if they are sharp, they will
occasionally spot a defective shirt. The people sorting and folding the shirts at the end of
the dryer should also be trained to inspect for mill defects and keep records of their

The defect list

What mill defects should you and your staff looks for? Check the entire shirt for neatly
trimmed threads. The seam between the collar and the body should be smooth, with no
puckers. The hems on the sleeves and at the bottom of the shirt should be even and lay
flat (Figure 3). Overall, the stitching should be smooth, regular and even. When the shirt
is laid out on a table smoothly, the bottom hem should be an even width and straight
across the body of the shirt. All the seams should be closed. Turn the shirt inside out and
inspect it again for uneven stitching and open seams. All shirts of the same brand and
labeled the same size should have the same body width and length. But it's not unheard of
to find a size large neck label in what is obviously a size medium shirt.

                                                 Figure 3: Mill Defects

                                                 Although mill defects such
                                                 as uneven hemlines don't
                                                 make T-shirts unusable,
                                                 periodically check and record
                                                 these construction details to
                                                 determine which mills are
                                                 likely to provide higher-
                                                 quality garments.

Check the shirts for pinholes--that is, places where the garment has been stitched but the
thread is missing. Slide a piece of cardboard of a contrasting color inside the shirt. Does
the fabric appear to be of an even color, or are there areas where the fabric obviously
varies in density? Look for stains and dirt on the shirt. Check for slubs, which are thick
places in the yarn that look like knots. Occasionally you will find a dropped stitch, which
looks like the run in a nylon stocking. The various pieces of the shirt, body, collar and
sleeves should all be the same color. If you buy large quantities of T-shirts, you should
also inspect for variations in color from batch to batch.

Create a T-shirt inspection form and keep careful records of your inspection results.
Defects such as open hems, wrong sizes on the neck tag, dropped stitches and color
variations on the shirt obviously make the garment unsuitable for printing and resale.
Other defects, such as irregular hems or color variations between shirts, are usually not
considered major defects that render a shirt un-saleable, but keep records of these defects
anyway to determine what mills provide better shirts.
Quality after printing

Judging T-shirt quality before going to press can help you avoid costly production
problems and unhappy customers. But examining T-shirts newly arrived from the mill
will only provide a partial assurance of quality. The fact is, quality is also measured by
how the shirt performs and holds up after printing.

Wash testing

                         The washing machine is the ultimate testing device for T-shirts
                         and the designs printed on them. All screen printers should, but
                         few do, regularly wash printed and unprinted shirts to determine
                         how well the shirts and the printing will stand up to the stress
                         they will encounter in the real world.

                         Three important qualities of a T-shirt that you can check by
                         washing it are how well the T-shirt resists shrinkage, holds its
                         shape and resists pilling.

Shrink testing All T-shirts will shrink to some extent when they are first washed. As a
general rule, cotton/poly T-shirts shrink less than 100%-cotton T-shirts and heavyweight
T-shirts shrink less than lightweight T-shirts. Shrinkage is measured both horizontally
and vertically because T-shirts often shrink more in one direction than in the other.

Shrink testing is simple. All you need is a new T-shirt, a 10 x 10-in. square of rigid
material (I use Plexiglas), an indelible marker and a washing machine. Using the marker
and 10 x 10-in. plastic template, draw a square on the center of the body of the T-shirt.
Wash the shirt in hot water as you normally would. After drying the shirt, measure the
horizontal and vertical dimensions of the square you drew. Divide the difference between
the initial horizontal or vertical dimension (10 in.) and the post-wash dimension by 10
and you can determine the percentage of shrinkage in each dimension.

If you call the mill or the distributors that supply your T-shirts, they should be able to tell
you the claimed horizontal and vertical shrinkage percentages of the T-shirts they
provide. Nevertheless, I recommend that you regularly test T-shirts to determine the
actual percent of shrinkage for yourself.

Garment distortion The next garment-construction problem to check for when you wash
test T-shirts is garment distortion. In other words, how well does the garment hold it's
shape when it's washed and dried? You may not have noticed it, but occasionally T-shirts
do not leave the washing machine in the same shape as they entered.

Testing for garment distortion should be done along with shrinkage testing. The
procedure is also simple. Smooth a new, unwashed T-shirt out on a large sheet of paper,
carefully trace it's outline and draw the 10 x 10-in. square on it for shrink testing. Then
wash the T-shirt and place it back on the outline. Is the T-shirt still square or have the
horizontal and vertical lines changed to diagonals? Check the wales (vertical lines of
knitting). Are they still straight up and down, or do they run on a slant? Garment
distortion is rarely a problem with well-made T-shirts, but if you buy the economy
brands, it's something to watch for carefully.

Pilling The final problem that wash testing will help predict is pilling. Pilling only occurs
on shirts knitted with a cotton/polyester yarn. It's not as common as it once was and more
often seen on fleece goods than T-shirts. Pilling is the appearance of rough little bumps of
fibers on the surface of the garment as the garment is subjected to wear and abrasion.

If you suspect that the garments you buy might have a pilling problem, use your washing
machine to perform a rough test. The procedure is as follows: Load a test shirt or two into
the washing machine with a full load of laundry. Include some blue jeans and clothes
with zippers in the load--you want to expose the T-shirts to some abrasion in the wash.
After washing and drying the shirts at least five times, check the garments for pilling.

Cheap, easy and fast

I'll leave you with two final thoughts. First, all of the tests that I've outlined are cheap,
easy and fast. It's a pity that so few screen printers bother to use them. I guarantee that if
you perform these tests regularly and record the procedures and results carefully, you will
save a lot of money. I know I did.

Second, T-shirts of above average quality cost more because they are generally worth
more. They are worth more to the screen printer because they have fewer defects, they
are easier to print, the printing looks better on them and you can sell them for more
money. I never missed an opportunity to try to convince my customers to let me print
their designs on top quality T-shirts. I made more money that way and the customer was
more pleased with the final product.
                            Getting into Ink
It's not an exaggeration to say that ink is the lifeblood of the
screen printing industry. So, once you've mastered fundamentals
like getting ink to stick to your substrate, it's really worth your
while to get to know a little more about ink itself

Fortunately, there is a lot of information available. Every ink manufacturer
provides some sort of brochure about their products, and discussions
about ink turn up in almost every screen printing trade journal and forum.
Within this you'll find information that can not only help you improve your
present screen printing operation, but can provide you with ideas about
additional screen printing opportunities you might want to consider.

You will, however, be encountering a few unfamiliar ink-related terms.
                             Information sources are often aimed at
                             experienced audiences so they sometimes
                             overlook the need to supply basic definitions.
                             That's what we're going to do here.

                                    Adhesion and Cohesion: Factors that make
                                    ink work
                                    A screen printing ink has to stick to two things:
                                    First of all, it has to stick together enough to
                                    make it a printable substance, and after being
                                    printed, it has to stick to the surface of the
                                    substrate. Cohesion describes the ink's ability to
                                    hold together and adhesion refers to its power to
stick to a different material like a substrate. Printing is possible because the ink
wants to adhere to a different material more than it wants to stick to itself.

Ink has only two basic components: pigment, which provides color and a vehicle,
which provides the ink's cohesive and adhesive properties. Pigments are finely
ground powders derived from various, mostly inorganic, compounds. They are
not dyes. Dyes, which are also occasionally used in screen printing inks, dissolve
in the vehicle; pigments do not. Pigments remain in solid form both in the ink and
on the substrate.

Supporting the pigments in a printable medium and getting them to adhere to the
substrate is the job of the vehicle, the liquid portion of the ink. Sometimes
referred to as the carrier, or the base, the vehicle is a combination of binders and
solvents. Solvents not only have to keep the ink liquid enough to be printable, but
they also have to control how the ink dries. Solvents must evaporate slowly so
that the ink does not dry in the screen, but once the ink is printed, those solvents
must dry quickly so that drying time doesn't slow down production. Almost all
solvents used in inks that dry by evaporation are volatile substances and
flammable to some degree. Water-based inks are the exception, but they also
take the longest to dry.

The binder is a solid or heavy liquid that provides body to the ink. Its most
important job is getting the pigment to adhere to the substrate. Binders are film-
forming resins like ethyl cellulose and nitro cellulose, which are used in most
screen printing inks. Some product literature will call them film-formers rather
than binders.

The vehicle undergoes changes as the ink dries. Solvents evaporate, leaving
only resins and pigment on the surface of the substrate.

According to the dictionary, rheology is the study of the properties and behavior
of fluids, specifically how they flow and react to pressure. When screen printers
use the term, it applies only to ink, and what they are usually talking about is an
ink's viscosity.

Viscosity is how a liquid flows. Liquids with low viscosity flow quite easily; liquids
with high viscosity are thick and tend to stay put. Viscosity can change. Inks, for
example, react to a number of factors from outside temperature to the force of
the squeegee.

Probably no other single characteristic influences how ink prints as much as its
viscosity. If you work with different types of screen printing inks, you will soon
discover that the viscosities of screen printing inks can vary widely.

The long and short of it
Screen printers often refer to inks as being either short or long. A short ink tends
to drop in a blob like a spoonful of gravy. A long ink is stringy like honey. All
screen printing inks will seem short when compared to the inks used in other
types of printing, but screen printing inks evolved not from ink but from sign
paints and still retain some paint-like qualities. Generally, a short ink is what you
want for screen printing.

Thixotropy refers to the tendency of some liquids to run more freely after being
shaken or stirred. The viscosity of a thixotropic liquid is lowered when it is
agitated. The more you stir it the thinner it gets. In screen printing this term refers
almost exclusively to ink. The plastisols used in printing T-shirts and other fabrics
are thixotropic inks.

Shear is force applied to a material. When referring to ink, shear describes the
force applied to an ink either by stirring or by the movement of the squeegee.
Shear will be of greatest concern to printers printing with a thixotropic ink,
because the force of the squeegee can reduce the viscosity of the ink and
change its printing characteristics.

II. Additives
Manufacturers know that sometimes a screen printer will have to make
adjustments to the ink to adapt it to special conditions, so they supply a range of
compatible additives designed to alter an ink's basic characteristics. Many of
these additives are actually ingredients already present in the ink. All the printer
is doing is modifying their proportions.

But caution should be the rule when you begin to modify your ink. The additives
that can be used with a particular type of ink and the proportions that can be
safely added will be detailed in the product information supplied by the

The proportions for additives are often given as a range rather than a single
figure and usually in the form of a percentage of the total mix by weight. The
purchase of an accurate electronic scale is very useful for obtaining consistent
results in mixing in additives, and is essential when you get into mixing colors.
Color formulas -- for matching Pantone colors, for example -- are given by

Once an ink has been modified, any leftovers must be carefully labeled with the
additives used and the percentages. You now have separate versions of that ink
and you don't want to mix them up. Mistakes are easy to make and unfortunately
are common.

Manufacturers tend to supply inks at their highest printable viscosity, because it
is easier to thin an ink than it is to make it thicker. For this reason thinners are
probably the most commonly used type of ink additive.

A thinner's job is simply to lower an ink's viscosity. But you have to be careful. By
altering an ink's viscosity you can change almost everything about it: how it flows
through the mesh, how it dries, and how well it adheres to the substrate. The
addition of significant amounts of thinner can make an ink more transparent or
make it dull. Add too much and the ink begins to break down.
Thinners often include several different solvents, and manufacturers have
developed specialized thinners to match every kind of ink they produce. When
purchasing thinner, it is important to get the right one. To be on the safe side use
only the specified thinner and never add more than the recommended
proportions. Thinners from other manufacturers may not be compatible, and
using inexpensive thinners from a paint store is definitely not a good idea.

Fast thinners and slow thinners
Inks that dry by evaporation depend on thinners already in the mix to control their
drying speed. But the temperature of the surrounding air can profoundly affect
their evaporation rate. In summer, when outside temperatures rise, inks can dry
so quickly that they clog the screen.

One solution is to by mix up a thinned-down version of your ink before you start
printing, and add that when you have to replenish your supply. The thinned ink
will blend in with the ink already in your screen and the extra thinner will help
replace the thinner it has lost to evaporation. When temperatures rise especially
high, an even better solution is to replace your normal thinner with one
specifically designed to evaporate more slowly. These are called slow thinners or
retarders. Some printers automatically add retarders to their ink anytime they will
be printing fine details or when they expect to be printing at a slower speed.

Transparent bases
Almost all types of ink incorporate a transparent base in their mix, but transparent
base is also available as a separate additive. Transparent base makes an ink
less opaque without greatly lowering its viscosity, useful whenever you want
more of a background color to show through. In addition to making inks more
transparent, however, they can also make a glossy ink dull and affect an ink's
leveling ability, leaving it with a rough surface. Some caution is advised.

Thickening agents
Thickening agents are most often used when printing on highly absorbent
substrates. Thickening agents act like transparent base, but do not reduce the
density of the ink. They usually require some form of machine stirring and are
probably best used by experienced printers. Thickening agents can also affect an
ink's gloss and it's leveling ability, and can make an outdoor ink less weather-

Now that you're equipped with some of these basic definitions, you're ready to
tackle some of those technical ink-related articles. Remember that there are
many types of ink out there, but the ones you need to focus on are the lacquers,
enamels, or epoxies. Those are the ones most often used in sign printing.
              Getting Started Screen Printing
Most people starting out spend too much money. If you are new to screen printing, the
risk is you will buy what you do not need or more than you need.

Local businesses and schools usually do not request more than two colors. They may not
have the need or want to pay for more colors.

The orders requiring more
colors or lots of shirts, or
items that would be a new
printing problem can be sub-contracted to another screen printer. That allows a person
with limited funds to start a business without spending a lot of money on capability that
will seldom be used.

The dryer can be a flash dryer rather than a faster conveyor. An exposure unit can be
made at home for under $50 to avoid spending $1200 and more. People starting out do
not need a lot of money to offer excellent quality to customers.

The starting point for a new business is a realistic assessment of who the customers will
be, and what they will need. Keep it simple. Planning to print T-shirts and one other item
at first, like tote bags, will make starting a new business a more pleasurable, productive
and profitable experience. Too many different items to print can create too many
problems for an inexperienced screen printer.

Training Before spending any money, get training. Screen printing involves many cross
                              roads at which you will make decisions. Will you go in
                              the right direction? For example, there are several types
                              of wooden screens, welded aluminum and retensionable
                              screens. There are diazo, dual cure and photopolymer
                              liquid emulsions and capillary films. That is just the
                              beginning to the number of choices, and each requires

People starting out typically select the lowest purchase cost, and do not consider the
ownership costs. If one screen costs $16 and another $35, but the $16 will produce some
misprinted shirts, slower production and aching wrists, is the $16 screen the better buy?
Most people never ask the right questions.

Training is available from many sources. There are books, schools, seminars at trade
show, trade magazines, audio and video tapes, and people who will help you. You might
even take a job working for another screen printer before starting out on your own.
During this process the choices of products and technology should be itemized and
evaluated. The risk is, being new, you might not know the right questions to ask. What
might seem like the best option might not be the best option. Mistakes can be costly, and
may ultimately require investment a second time in a type of product that has already
been purchased.

To a large extent, a person new in business relies on what sales personnel and screen
printers suggest. To make sure you are taking advice from a major league player and not
a career minor leaguer, the work of the mentor should be inspected and critiqued. There
are lots of sales people who have never printed.

Many screen printers have not taken the time and spent the money to itemize and
evaluate the choices. When offered a satisfied customer list, consider the source. Anyone
can produce such a list. Even cold calling screen printers in the Yellow Pages does not
establish whether the person answering the phone is a major league player.

You need to see the advisor in action to know if you have the best source of information.
Trade shows, shop visits and published accomplishments are good ways to evaluate the
person whose advice you will be relying upon. Their advice is a form of training.

Training reduces risks. Unfortunately most people start out without any training. Too
many get frustrated and give up on their dream of having their own business.

Press Selection Most people starting out think more colors are better. Actually, more
colors on a manual press result in lower productivity.

For each one foot increase in the diameter of a press, the person printing will have to
push the screens around in a circle an extra 3.14 feet per shirt. That is because the
circumference of a circle is measured as diameter times Pi (3.14). Selecting a 6-color
press with an 8 diameter rather than a 4-color with a 3 diameter adds 5 x 3.14 or 15.7 of
movement per shirt, or 1570 for 100 shirts.

That machine will be the foundation to the print. The foundation needs to be rock solid. If
the platen or color arm in the registration gate move during printing, printed images may
be out-of-registration. Push down on the platen with the force used when printing. Does
the platen deflect at all? If it does, find another that does not deflect.

When the color arm is in the registration gate without a screen, an attempt should be
made to move the arm laterally and to twist the arm. There will be zero movement of
platens and color arms on the best presses. Larger diameter presses are more difficult to
design without deflection, because the force you apply is being leveraged over a longer

People often ask about the difference between a press with one platen versus four or six
platens that rotate independently from the screens. If your business will involve a lot of
flash curing, the rotary press will be more efficient. A rotary press or platen is sometimes
referred to as a speed table. A press with a speed table requires more space and costs
more money than a press without this feature. The question, then, is whether or not a
flash is necessary.

A lot of flashing may be unnecessary. For example, if screens are very tight, a lot of
printing can be wet-on-wet. That means successive colors are printed without flash
curing. The color of the garment, mesh count, type of ink and choice of liquid versus
capillary film bear on the answer whether flash curing will be necessary.

There are all those cross roads in the decision making process again. If the customers are
businesses and schools requiring typically two color images rather than retail store
customers who want 6 colors, the cost of a speed table can be avoided. The cost of lower
productivity from flash curing on a few jobs may be better than a larger, less productive,
press on all jobs.

Micro registration is a key feature to be considered. The image in the screen is exposed
from a positive. A positive is a black image on clear or transparent medium like vellum.
The positive is taped to the platen and the screen is moved until its image matches the
positive from which the screen was made, exactly. When tightening the screen in the
press, often the screen will move slightly, especially if the screen is over tightened.

Rather than loosen the screen, the micro is unlocked and micrometer-like fine
adjustments can be made. That is micro registration in theory. In practice, a micro may
move a screen over a curved line or along a straight line. A curved line is almost
impossible to work with, but the more common situation, particularly if you buy an older,
used press. This is a feature to see demonstrated, but only an issue if printing a lot of jobs
more than two colors where the colors are butt registered or four color process.

There are many other features in a press to examine. What is the range in size and weight
of screens the press can accommodate without screens flying up or falling down? What
attachments are available to expand revenue? How fast can an attachment be changed?
Are there knobs or press structure for wet shirts to catch on and smear when the shirt is
being removed? Doing your home work is important to getting the most value for your

Dryer Flash dryers cost less and take less space than a conveyor, and can be used for a
full cure. A flash cure is typically 6-8 seconds whereas a full cure is 60 seconds.

A flash cure prevents the ink from picking up under subsequent screens during the
printing process, but does not cure ink sufficiently for ink to survive repeated washings.
Sometimes flashing is necessary. Dark shirts with a very soft feel, or hand, often have
been printed with a very thin coat of white ink, known as an underbase, flash cured, and
then over-printed with the same or different color. Materials that do not absorb ink like
nylon jackets must be flashed before printing the first color and between each color so
shrinkage occurs before printing and inks are not smeared by subsequent screens.
The problems with using a flash unit for a full cure are low productivity and stress you
suffer worrying about the cure. At best you can fully cure 30-40 shirts per hour with a
flash unit compared to 100-150 and more with a conveyor dryer. A conveyor runs at a
constant speed and temperature giving a consistent result. The stress that comes with a
flash unit is the concern too short of a cure time will create unhappy customers when the
ink washes out. Too long of a flash will scorch the shirt. The margin between too short
and too long is very thin. Monitoring the cure time while trying to load and print other
shirts creates stress. The solution is slow curing and low productivity.

When selecting a flash or conveyor, look first for a temperature control. A household iron
has temperature control to regulate heat for 100% cotton versus synthetics. Heat control
is a must, but many dryers do not include this requirement.

Check flash dryers to see if they are top heavy and subject to tipping over with an
element at 350 degrees. Check for legs that stick out for someone to trip into the hot
element rather than a stand positioned out of the way. The element must be absolutely
parallel to the platen for puff inks to puff evenly. You might want casters on a flash unit
for your convenience.

A flash unit in smaller shops will be 110 volts so it can be plugged into any electrical
outlet. Outlets are designed for a maximum of 15 amps. Some flash units will draw 19
amps. Excessive amps in a circuit can cause a house fire. A plug with two parallel bars is
designed for a maximum of 15 amps whereas one bar perpendicular to the other bar is
designed for 20 amps.

Heat for curing comes from wattage. Watts are volts times amps. A 220 volt unit will
produce the same wattage as a 110 volt unit that draws twice as many amps. A new shop
can buy more curing capability by specifying 220 volts. The circuits, switches, etc., in the
dryer will last longer with lower amps and higher voltage like 220, 230 or 240 volts. Gas
as a replacement for electricity only makes economic sense in larger dryers.

Flash dryers and conveyors without vents bake the ink whereas conveyors with vents
have substantial convection. A conveyor without a vent, or which has a covered vent,
runs much hotter, because less heat escapes. That is acceptable on a lot of jobs, but dark
shirts being cured in a conveyor can create an odor you won t want to smell all day. The
choices will be a vented dryer, or open the windows and doors.

You never want to find lint on shop surfaces, because that means you are breathing lint
which gets lodged in your sinuses. Adequate draft in a vent makes a dryer less efficient,
but the work environment healthier. Lint in sinuses causes headaches. I learned this when
I was unable to work for five weeks after printing 100% cotton shirts two consecutive
nights in a 25,000 sq. foot room without venting.

Screens Every screen printer with 20 minutes or more experience pulling a squeegee
agrees tighter screens are better. When a screen is tight one color is less likely to bleed
into another color. Half tones will be reproduced more accurately rather than be dragged
across the shirt. Ink can be cut easier and more cleanly. There will be less chance of ink
build up under a screen and more chance of a brighter, softer image in the garment.

All mesh relaxes. Higher mesh counts like a 230 or 305 threads per linear inch composed
of 35 micron diameter threads will lose 25% of its tension within two hours of being
tensioned close to its breaking point. Lower mesh counts lose tension more slowly. Often
screen printers receive what they think are tight screens which they recognize as being
softer at the end of the first print run of 100 shirts or more.

The solution is to retension mesh after two hours, then four hours, and the next day
before using the screen on the first job. When the job is over, remove the ink and stencil,
and retension after each job until 500 prints have been accumulated on the mesh. At
about this point, the mesh becomes work hardened, and will not need further
retensionings. Jobs will be easier and faster to set up, but more importantly, image quality
will be far superior.

At a trade show, observe what kind of screens the press manufacturers are using, and
their image quality. Find out what the large contract printers use. Then find out if your
advisor is major or minor league by the screen recommended.

Emulsion Liquid emulsion should be applied with a scoop coater devoid of any nicks.
The angle, speed and pressure applied during the coating process affect the stencil
thickness. Other variables to stencil thickness are the number of times the scoop coater is
drawn up each side of the screen, air temperature and humidity. Capillary film avoids all
these variables as long as the person coating the screen does not squeegee the wet, soft
stencil material into the mesh.

Capillary film is fundamentally different from liquid emulsion. With film, the ink passes
around the threads of the mesh and the image is created by pure stencil material. The
image resolution will be better when the mesh is not in the stencil influencing how the
image is created. That is another reason not to squeegee wet capillary film into mesh. The
film thickness controls the thickness of the ink deposit and therefore color. With liquid
emulsion, the mesh count meters the amount of ink passing through to the shirt.

Capillary film avoids production losses from pin holes and provides other benefits, but
most of the screen printers (the people you might ask for advice and training) use liquid
rather than capillary film. Most of these folks have not itemized and evaluated the
choices in emulsion versus capillary film, or did so before the newer, better formulas
were developed. Liquid emulsion is fine for start up shops for non-critical work, short run
jobs with large images in multiple colors, and when you have time to fix pin holes in

Ink The ink companies all know each other s prices. When you realize that you can print
say 300-1000 shirts per quart, a dollar or two difference works out to $ .006 - $ .002
difference in cost per shirt. Performance is the issue, not price.
Inks are the most difficult part of the screen printing process to understand. The ink
companies worry about how their colors match to independent standards so your image
meets your customer s requirements. Suppliers talk about viscosity which is a statement
about flow. An ink most screen printers favor is viewed as creamy.

Too much flow can result in dot gain. That is ink that spreads out on the garment. The ink
deposit might get thinner losing color strength or sink into the garment allowing the color
of the garment to influence our recognition of color.

Inks should be stirred well before being removed from the container. When stirring, pull
the stir stick straight out of the container. Does the ink drop off like yogurt would, or
remain attached to the ink in the container like a string when the stick is 6 above the
container? Now we are talking about shear. Shear is seldom mentioned by suppliers, but
is a critical performance characteristic to image resolution, color strength and the feel of
the printed image.

Conclusion Starting a screen printing business means confronting the cross roads to your
success over and over again. Your largest investment will be your time and wisdom to
select the right advisors.

                            I am always amazed at trade shows and on telephone calls
                            when people only ask price. Only twice in 22 years have I
                            been asked the right question. Ask why you should buy a
                            product and not other products. Ask why you should buy from
                            the sales person and not the competitors. Find out how the
                            competitors answer the same question. Then find independent
                            evidence of who was right.

                            That will put you on the right road to success.
                       Glass Cleaning

Both sides, each time

Unless you like pinholes in your screens, clean both sides of the glass in
your vacuum frame before every exposure. Use a clean lint-free cloth or a
window washer's squeegee.
                 Handy Block out Pen

Keep it by the press

Keep a block out pen handy by the press. Blocking out pinholes as they
appear is cheaper than removing the pinholes from the printed garments
                  Holding Design Detail

Underexposing is not the answer

Underexposing screens in order to hold more detail does more harm than
good. Underexposed emulsion is weaker and more liable to cause pinholes
and breakdown on the press. Additionally, when exposed to some of the
chemicals in inks and cleaning solutions, the screen becomes difficult or
even impossible to reclaim. If you want your screen to hold finer details,

1. Use a higher mesh count,

2. Dyed mesh,

3. A different emulsion,

4. Capillary film instead of direct emulsion,

5. Film positives instead of vellum,

6. A better light source or all of these items.
                   How much money can I make?
This is what you've been waiting for; you're interested in starting your own business but you want
to know how much money you can make.

Amount of time needed for labor:
10 minutes to coat the screen with emulsion:
15 minutes to burn the image into the screen
30 minutes to wash the image
30 minutes to set up the screens and register the print
52 minutes to print a three color print onto 24 t-shirts

2 hours and 17 minutes for the entire job

Price for the supplies:
$ .73 Silkscreen costs (Note: A silkscreen costs $20, but they can be used up to 5,000 times
depending on your care of them. You can change images as often as you need).

$ 1.50 Emulsion (coating you put on a screen in order to place the image in the silkscreen)

$ .50   Plastic tape

$ 2.70 Ink (Note: it cost $.035 per imprint per color )

$ 44.00 T-shirt cost (wholesale cost is $22.00 per doz. for 100% heavy weight white cotton t-shirt)
Click here for sample white t-shirt prices!
$.20 Electricity

$ 49.62            Total cost for materials
So how much can I make?

Normal charge for 24 white t-shirts would be $8.00 each for company to pay to have this job done
Remember art work is a separate charge and is extra profit if you do the art work your self .

$192.00 Would be the price charged
-- $ 49.62 Material costs
$142.38 profit after material costs

Divided by 2 hours and 17 minutes
$62.35 per hour
There you have it. With our machine, you can earn $60 or more per hour printing t-shirts. This is
very easy to do, and can be done by mothers or teenagers.
   How to burn an image into a silk- screen.

Most people want to know how to burn the image into the screen. It
            is probably the most difficult part of silk-screening but it
            is very simple to do. This tutorial is a simple outline of
            how to get your artwork from you transparency to the

             Step 1:
             First, you need to prepare the screen. The screen
             needs to be degreased so the emulsion will form a
             better bond with the screen. This can be done by
             spraying degreaser onto the screen and wiping it off.

             Step 2:
             The emulsion will now be applied to the screen. In a
             low-light room, pour the emulsion into the screen
             coater. Apply the emulsion to both sides of the screen.
             It is important that you do not apply the emulsion too
             thick. It is also important that a uniform coat is applied
             to the screen.

             Let the emulsion dry for about an hour (or longer) in a
             dimly lit room. A fan should be placed about five feet
             away from the screen to assist in the drying process.

             Step 3:
             Prepare the artwork. A tutorial on how to prepare the
             artwork can be found by clicking here.

             Step 4:
             Place the artwork on the screen.

A piece of glass should be placed on the artwork. This will act as a
vacuum so your artwork will not move while it's being burnt into the
Step 5:
An exposure light is in included with Package #1, #2, and #3. Place
the exposure light about one foot above the screen. Please take a
look at the diagram below to see how everything is situated.

A black felt or cloth is placed beneath the screen to absorb light so
that no light is reflected back up to the screen.

Step 6:
Burning times will vary, but ten minutes is a safe time. It is better to
over-burn than under-burn the screen and emulsion.

After your screen is burnt. Take a spray bottle and mist the screen
with water. Take your screen outside or to a sink or tub and rinse out
your screen. If you are having trouble getting the emulsion out, you
may have to increase the water pressure of your hose or sink.

You should be left with your image burnt into your screen. Once this
step is complete, you are well on your way to printing t-shirts.
            How to make a silk-screen applicator

A silk-screen applicator is a necessary part of silk-screen printing equipment. Making an
applicator is fairly easy.


Here are the materials needed to make a silk-screen applicator:

   No. of pieces                  Part description                      Part name
   2               13mm wood, 200mm x 73mm                          sides
   1               5mm wood, 200mm x 60mm                           spacer
   1               5mm rubber x 200mm x 26mm                        rubber blade
   9               25mm jolt head (finishing) panel nails
                   carpenter's glue
                   fine and medium sandpaper


The firmness of the rubber blade on a silk-screen applicator is important for making good

The rubber should not be too pliable (flexible) or it will bend when pressure is applied
and won't push the ink through the screen properly.
It needs to be firm, but not too stiff.

   •   Unless the edge is perfectly straight, an applicator with rubber that is too firm
       won't push the ink through evenly and may wear out the fabric or stencil in
   •   You can sometimes make the edge straighter by scraping it on a flat cement
       surface or sanding it.

Follow these steps to make a silk-screen applicator:
1. Cut all materials to size.

2. Glue and nail the pieces together with the plywood spacer and the rubber in
   between the two sides.

3. Cut three nails off to 20mm in length. Nail them through the wood enclosing the
   rubber strip to secure it.

4. Tap the nails in far enough so that they do not stick out.


5. Sandpaper all wood surfaces with the medium sandpaper.
6. Apply a coat of varnish to the wood surfaces.

   Caution:                     Do not varnish the rubber!

7. Sand lightly with the fine sandpaper after the first coat has dried.
8. Apply a second coat of varnish..
9. Let dry again at least 24 hours.

See also

How to make a silk-screen printer
    How to make the base of a silk-screen printer

                     Making new silk screen Base plate

A silk-screen printer base is the bottom piece of a silk-screen printer. It has a
smooth solid surface.

In humid climates, it is best to make a base reinforced with a frame so that it
doesn't warp. The base frame is made of pieces of wood attached to the base
to make it stiffer. The instructions in this module are for a reinforced base.

If there is no danger of the wood warping, you could use the base of the silk-
screen printer without the frame.

See: How to make a silk-screen printer for all the steps in making a silk-
screen printer.


Follow these steps to make the base of a silk-screen printer:

Here are the steps to follow to make the base of a silk screen printer:

   1. Simply use the 380mm x 280mm piece of plywood as the base of the
      silk-screen printer.

        Reinforced framed base

        In some climates, it may be helpful to reinforce the base with a frame
        so that it doesn't warp. The base frame is made of pieces of wood that
        attach to the base to make it stiffer.

Here are the steps to follow to reinforce the base with a frame:

   2. Use the optional base frame pieces described in the chart in Materials
      needed to make a silk-screen printer .
   3. Make a frame by joining the base frame sides to the base frame ends.
   4. Use two 50mm nails and carpenter's glue to fasten each joint.
   5. Pre-drill for the nails to avoid splitting the wood.
   6. Glue and nail the 5mm base to the base frame, as illustrated.
   7. Use panel nails cut off to 15mm in length.

silk-screen printer base

    Piece of plywood as the base of the silk-screen printer for the
    How to make the base of a silk-screen printer

                           Making new silk screen Base plate

A silk-screen printer base is the bottom piece of a silk-screen printer. It has a smooth
solid surface.

In humid climates, it is best to make a base reinforced with a frame so that it doesn't
warp. The base frame is made of pieces of wood attached to the base to make it stiffer.
The instructions in this module are for a reinforced base.

If there is no danger of the wood warping, you could use the base of the silk-screen
printer without the frame.

See: How to make a silk-screen printer for all the steps in making a silk-screen printer.


Follow these steps to make the base of a silk-screen printer:

Here are the steps to follow to make the base of a silk screen printer:

   1. Simply use the 380mm x 280mm piece of plywood as the base of the silk-screen

        Reinforced framed base

        In some climates, it may be helpful to reinforce the base with a frame so that it
        doesn't warp. The base frame is made of pieces of wood that attach to the base to
        make it stiffer.

Here are the steps to follow to reinforce the base with a frame:

   2. Use the optional base frame pieces described in the chart in Materials needed to
      make a silk-screen printer .
   3. Make a frame by joining the base frame sides to the base frame ends.
   4. Use two 50mm nails and carpenter's glue to fasten each joint.
   5. Pre-drill for the nails to avoid splitting the wood.
   6. Glue and nail the 5mm base to the base frame, as illustrated.
   7. Use panel nails cut off to 15mm in length.
silk-screen printer base

    Piece of plywood as the base of the silk-screen printer for the support.
How to prepare artwork for a multi-color shirt!
Preparing artwork for you t-shirt is an important step. You don't need to be a professional artist to
enter the screen printing field. Many people have started successful businesses even though
they could barely draw stick figures. This tutorial will show you how to prepare artwork for a two-
color t-shirt. Artwork can be prepared in many different computer programs. Corel Draw and
Adobe Photoshop are two popular programs used by screen printers.

A two-color shirt requires two separate screens that must be predpared. The tutorial below will
show you how to prepare the artwork needed to burn into each screen.

The Image                                       The image on the left is the design we will put on
                                                the t-shirt. This design has two colors, red and

Color #1 – Black                                      In order to print multiple-colors on t-shirts,
your artwork must be separated into the different colors. We need to separate the red and black
                                                   parts of the image.

                                                    The four bulls eyes on the left are actually
                                                    "registration" marks. These are used to line
                                                    up your multi-color jobs on the silk screen
                                                    machine. This will ensure that your images
                                                    print where they are supposed to when they
                                                    are printed on the t-shirt.

This image would be printed off on transparency or vellum. We are now finished with this color.
It's time for the next color.

Color #2 – Red                                   The next color to be printed is black. This is done
                                                   the same way as the first color. The
                                                   registration marks are also on this image.

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