How to Achieve Fashion Shirt Treatments

A few basic products and techniques are all you’ll need to create one-of-a-kind looks on light-colored garments.

By Charlie Taublieb, Contributing Writer

August 8, 2012

Staying competitive in the decorated apparel marketplace means being offering your customers something different than what they will find in the other shops in your area.

One easy way to stay a notch ahead of your competitors is to create fashion looks on T-shirts by applying simple processes with the right supplies.

In this article, I’ll take a look at how to prepare water-based and discharge inks for innovative techniques such as spraying, dipping, rolling and printing. These applications provide an allover-looking print with the use of minimal equipment instead of a large-format press. I’ll cover not only the process, but the specific formulas needed for creating these unique ink applications. Once the inks are prepared, I’ll show these treatments on the shirts that, when finished, can be screen printed, foiled, have rhinestones or studs added, or left as they are.

The following photos were taken at the Special Effects Shirt Treatments and Embellishing workshop, held this past January at the Long Beach Imprinted Sportswear Shows. They show how to spray for light-colored shirts. Attendees in this hands-on workshop created their own distinct garments and learned how the process can be done in a production environment. Additional techniques will be covered in future issues of Impressions.

Spraying Formula for Light-Colored Garments
Quick Cure Base: 100%
Penetrant: 5% to 10%
Lubricant: 5% to 10%
Kosher Salt: About 10% to 15% before adding water
Pigment: Up to 10% based on desired strength
Water: 400% to 500%
The mixture needs to be able to pass through a spray nozzle. Shake well before using.
*All formulas are based on weight; Rutland products were used for this project.

See the attached gallery for the step-by-step process.

Charlie Taublieb, Taublieb Consulting, is a technical screen printing consultant with more than 30 years of industry experience. For more information or to comment on this article, e-mail Charlie at or visit

Hear Charlie speak on screen printing topics at the 2012 Imprinted Sportswear Shows. Workshops and seminar rates are reduced if you pre-register: