I’ve been creating artwork for the garment-decorating industry since 1986 and I’ve earned every one of my gray hairs because of it. Artwork lies at the heart of all decorating processes in our industry. Without it, we’d be selling blanks.Full Story
It can be scary to realize a print’s underbase is showing when it shouldn’t be. Many times, a design’s top colors should completely cover the underbase, but a variety of things can happen to cause the white print on a dark garment to spread slightly and peek out from beneath the edges of the top colors.Full Story
The process for printing on T-shirts has fundamentally remained the same for decades because it mostly was done on 50/50 blended and 100% cotton T-shirts.Full Story
Screen printers face a variety challenges, but there is a solution for every issue; you just have to know where to look.Full Story
How do you develop the most exact Pantone color matches? It’s not as easy as it seems and a lot of effort is involved.Full Story
Twelve years ago, Jesse Hudson — a college administrator — asked if I could help develop a textile screen-printing curriculum for secondary and post-secondary schools to be used at the SkillsUSA state and national screen-printing competitions.Full Story
Screen printing on fleece is by no means a new process; fleece is only second to T-shirts among garments in terms of printing popularity. This installment of the Impressions Tech Tips Newsletter will feature printing on the American Apparel® Mason Fleece Drop Shoulder Sweatshirt (style HVF496W).Full Story
Tips for finding high-quality ink at a reasonable priceFull Story
Tips for proper curing during the colder months of the yearFull Story
During the past decade, there has been a new revolution in garment-manufacturing technology. Consumer demands have necessitated new fabric and style development using a wide variety of different organic and synthetic fibers.Full Story
From computer requirements to new features, here’s what you need to know about this new graphics and design program.Full Story
Digital computer-to-screen (CTS) imaging and LED-exposure technologies have brought much advancement to the screen-printing industry and, with it, confusion about screen- imaging and exposing choices.Full Story
Use this method for generating unique halftones to deliver art that sets you apart.Full Story
In this Impressions Tech Tips Newsletter, sponsored by Comfort Colors®, we will explore the possibilities available to decorate two kinds of dyed shirts.Full Story
Because of technology, today’s water-based inks present new possibilities for screen printers.Full Story
The elements of sustainability and what they mean to screen printers.Full Story
Offering clients the latest in apparel styles and fabrics is key for a successful textile screen-printing company.Full Story
I visit many screen-printing shops around the country — both small and large facilities — and one of the biggest, and costliest, issues that challenges screen printers is working with white ink.Full Story
In the decorated apparel industry, shop owners always are looking for ways to level out their business cycle.Full Story
Countless small-shop owners, garage-based operations, hometown printers and startup decorators make a living via the manual screen-printing process, as it remains the heart of most garment printing.Full Story
If you are a custom screen printer, you likely will receive numerous artwork sources that need to be converted into workable designs.Full Story
While the classic aesthetic of embroidery has traditionally dominated the customized headwear market, there still remains a significant place in the hat-decoration business for screen printing.Full Story
A look at how the distance between screen and substrate could make all the differenceFull Story
Along with the specialty-ink evolution, it’s interesting to see how the advances or applications of other technologies have helped screen-printing industry veterans get where they are today.Full Story
For many screen printers, the thought of drawing a design isn’t appealing. In fact, a lot of experienced artists either don’t draw well or wish their drawing skills were better.Full Story
As an apparel decorator, I consider it my mission to deliver products to customers at prices they are happy to pay, all to meet my profit goals.Full Story
A mat-down screen helps to create a finished product with a soft-hand feelFull Story
When it comes to screen printing — specifically inks — I am often asked, “What’s new?” or “What’s trending?” My initial thoughts are, “What has been forgotten?” or “What hasn’t the customer seen?”Full Story
With their unique properties, decorating fitness garments offers screen printers challenges above and beyond those of a regular T-shirt. To solve these challenges, it’s important to first define a “fitness” garment and its qualities compared to those of a “typical” apparel choice.Full Story
The consumer and retailers of today’s market have driven the textile embellishment industry to research and develop new technologies to meet demands. Those demands include more environmentally friendly inks and prints with a softer hand than that which traditional plastisol inks can provide.Full Story
In your screen-printing shop, if you’ve addressed issues dealing with time, workplace rules, staff and space, the good news is you’ve almost completed the path to smooth, efficient workflow.Full Story
Ensuring optimal workflow is an important aspect of profitability for your decorated apparel business. Unfortunately, problems inevitably will arise.
Throughout the decades, we have witnessed a tremendous transition in the white inks that we use every day. Basic inks have evolved, from plastisol and water-based, to the current non-PVC products on the market. Some market trends also have changed white textile screen-printing inks to bring us to where things currently stand.Full Story
Pretend for a moment that all the tasks needed to complete an order are nestled adjacent to a train track that circulates throughout your shop.Full Story
Customers want that decorated shirt, cap or bag and they want it now. Shop-to-market speed expectations are at an all-time high — especially with e-commerce players upping the ante — and today’s decorators are navigating the best ways to meet demand without sacrificing quality.Full Story
Computer-to-screen (CTS) imaging dramatically is changing the way we make screens for screen printing, similar to how photo emulsions changed the process years ago.Full Story
The hoodie is a common staple among customers, especially those ordering custom athletic team apparel. The comfort, warmth and printability of this style have made it one of the most sought-after items for fans, competitors and coaches.Full Story
My father is a master carpenter, and I learned early on that doing the best job requires not only skills and training, but also the proper tools.Full Story
Pulling a squeegee on a manual screen-printing press and transforming a blank T-shirt into a colorful piece of commercial art is one of the most ubiquitous starting points for jobs in the decorated apparel industry...Full Story
The dryer preforms a very important job in a screen-printing shop. If it’s not working properly it can result in the ink that cracks, or falls off after a garment is washed.Full Story
My background is in halftone photography, and when I was using this old-school technology, it was imperative to have the proper light in the dark room where the film was handled.Full Story
It’s an eye-opening experience to think about how much specialty inks have evolved over the years and how the advances or applications of fringe technologies have helped screen-printing industry veterans...Full Story
Screen production is one of the most critical aspects in determining the final quality of your finished product.Full Story
In this installment of the Impressions Tech Tips Newsletter, sponsored by American Apparel, we will showcase the ladies’ Ultra Wash tee (style RSA6320).Full Story
I wholeheartedly believe that if our industry held one philosophy above all others, scrape rates (misprints) would drastically decrease and profits would subsequently increase.
With the return of warmer weather comes headwear season — and both are accompanied by a new profit opportunity for garment decorators.Full Story
In our world, we’re often asked why non-PVC products (such as water-based inks) are considered “green” and PVC plastisols aren’t. Is one truly friendlier to the environment than the other? Not necessarily.Full Story
There are many ways to decorate apparel, yet one — if not the main — issue always is the customer’s budget.
If there is one sure-fire way to lose clients in this industry, it is to sell them finished garments that fade after five to 10 wash cycles.Full Story
Owning a heat press has never been more exciting than it is today due to the wide variety of heat-
applied graphics available.
During the past two decades, there has been a push from different organizations — including environmental agencies and large sporting goods companies — to have traditional plastisol inks either modified or replaced.Full Story
Screen printing halftones on textiles is not as daunting of a process as some people make it out to be. However, there are steps that must be followed to ensure success.Full Story
From the day we started our textile screen-printing business in 2006, my father, Bob, and I knew an automatic press was in the cards. But as with everything else, we recognized that timing and planning were critical with respect to making the leap.Full Story
One of the most important factors when it comes to designing for T-shirts is knowing exactly what the customer wants up front. Before you can even pick up a pencil or grab that pen and tablet, you already should have a good idea of what you want to design, as well as what the customer expects.Full Story
When trying to garner new sales for your apparel decoration business, it is important to have a complete portfolio of what you have done, can do and potentially could do.Full Story
As a departure from the typical step-by-step review of decorating one particular garment, let’s review the challenges and processes for printing on two new garments from American Apparel.
Follow these expert guidelines for producing brilliant fleece prints while avoiding the pitfalls of this lint-producing fabric.Full Story
One way to stand out from your competitors is to offer a process that they don’t, particularly with regard to printing placements. This will not only create a specific demand that can land you clients who appreciate higher levels of creativity and artwork, but it also can develop strong customer relationships that are built on a “can-do” mentality.Full Story
Decorating garments with flock is a technique that has been practiced for decades and could be considered the first real “special effect” for garment decoration.Full Story
People often ask me whether waste inks can be thrown in the garbage or flushed down the sink. The short answer is “No” to both disposal options.Full Story
“Gellusion” is a special-effects printing technique that lends itself well to creating a shiny 3-D effect print on a garment.Full Story
Following is a brief explanation of the methods, and reasons behind them, when it comes to reflective-ink printing.Full Story
In this installment of the Impressions Tech Tips Newsletter, we will review the optimum printing techniques for embellishing the new suede fabric from Next Level ApparelFull Story
There are multiple ways to apply numbering to team uniforms, including sewn-on appliqué, heat transfer and CAD-CUT numbers, die cuts, direct screen printing and more.Full Story
In this Impressions Tech Tips Newsletter, we will look at the American Apparel unisex polyester mesh athletic tank (style H458) and T-shirt, and the different means of embellishing these garments.Full Story
“Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don't have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up.”
As my most recent birthday approached, I took some time to think about what I would receive as gifts. Socks were my first thought, followed by undershirts.
In the last article of this series on controlling the variables of the textile screen printing process, I will review the factors surrounding flashing and curing procedures.
Many screen printers frequently ask whether textile inks will ever become PVC-free. That question usually is quickly followed by, “What are the alternatives to PVC plastisol?”
One of the reasons I like working in this industry is that it has a great mixture of art and science. There is a craftsmanship feel to it that is palatable on the production floor.
Thanks to ink manufacturers, these three prevalent fashion trends can easily be duplicated in your shop.Full Story
Finding someone with a good eye for color was a must for any busy print shop. One of the tools we found really handy was the color wheel. Using this tool can help you see the relationship of color and give you examples of how other colors can be used during mixing.
Follow the advice in this Impressions Tech Tips Newsletter, sponsored by American Apparel, and rib knits will be coming off your presses in no time.
When a customer asks you for a custom gallon of sky blue ink, what color are they really asking for?Full Story
Screen printers have searched high and low for the perfect white ink. The truth is, good traditional screen printers can choose among a variety of white inks from each of the manufacturers, and each will work great if used for the appropriate purpose and under the right conditions.
The interaction between needle, thread and garment can seem like a cruel joke to novice embroiderers. The image that is viewed on the screen is almost never the same as what is sewn on the embroidery machine.Full Story
Follow these tips to manipulate the main element in a design to better showcase it.Full Story
New fabrics, weaves, treatments and different constructions all have become the norm in ladies apparel. There are art, screen and printing considerations with these fabrics that are important if you want to create a quality finished product that will maintain durability and have good visual appeal.Full Story
If you haven’t heard anything yet about light-emitting diode (LED) exposure technology, don’t feel too badly. While it has been a topic of discussion among tech-savvy screen printers for more than a year, it’s just now beginning to attract interest among apparel decorators in general.
For many new screen printers, a manual press is an entry-level purchase that they make when building their businesses. These workhorses are pretty simple machines, but there are some basic preventative maintenance chores that should regularly be performed to keep them working smoothly.
Now, we come to the remaining variables of the squeegee’s printing parameters, flood bars, flashing and curing. Here, we will continue with the actual squeegee applications.Full Story
With the expanded gamut of garment configurations entering the market today, screen printers must constantly remain aware of printing techniques and procedures required to print on these specialty fabrics.Full Story
So what are caviar beads (in screen printing terms) and how can they be used?Full Story
Five expert tips for screen printers to remember when trying to extend the usability of their inks.Full Story
In this installment, let’s consider the variables of the ink transfer/printing process found in transferring ink from the screen to the fabric surface.Full Story
Computer-to-screen technology offers increased speed, better detailing, the elimination of films and more for medium and large screen print shops.Full Story
In this technical bulletin and video, we‘ll be using the JERZEES NuBlend 50/50 cotton/polyester fleece to demonstrate an effective method of optimizing printing on blended fleece.
In this installment of “Controlling the Variables,” I will review the effects of the frame and screen tensioning on the screen printing process.
Any time spent fixing a “bad” screen means you are losing money. Once a screen is on press, if the stencil breaks down, you are not being compensated for the time and materials it takes to reshoot the screen.Full Story
We are asked a lot of questions when it comes to artwork and screen printing, but the most popular subject still is black shirts.
Textile screen printing inks have come full circle when you consider that water-based inks were among the first ink systems used to print garments. Now, some printers are switching from plastisol inks, the longstanding standard for screen printing, back to water-based systems.
Broaden your shop’s profit margins and add to your printing arsenal by learning the steps involved in this special-effects printing process.Full Story
In this installment, we will review the primary variables that require controlling or standardization in order to maximize the desired quality results to maintain your primary client base.Full Story
Get vibrant, soft-hand results on tricky fabrics that contain varying amounts of polyester, cotton and rayon.Full Story
As the cold season is coming, customers are stocking up on heavier garments like fleece. Here are some tips on how to improve prints on fleece.
If your shop is not efficient at making screens, you most likely are losing profits without even realizing it.Full Story
The sports may be different, but the stress levels and challenges have been the same. If you are thinking about getting into this service, or maybe you already have one or two of these under your belt, this article offers tips for you to pull off a successful print run.Full Story
The main obstacles to fast and efficient color matching involve educating customers, previewing and preparing the artwork properly, and using the right tools to modify or mix inks properly.
New screen printers — and even many experienced ones — eventually ask one common question: “What mesh count should I use for this job?”Full Story
In this technical newsletter and accompanying video, you’ll learn how to achieve excellent color and tone range on your next true four-color process job (also known as 4CP or process color).
I frequently get calls from customers asking for advice on how to print on polyester. Although this topic has been covered in previous articles, here are some quick tips:Full Story
I recently was reminded of an experience I had when interviewing for a plant manager position during my first year after being laid off from Disney.Full Story
This article will review the variables involved with printing on nylon and the correct procedures needed to ensure a winning product each time.Full Story
One super-easy trick to add some interest to any design you’re working on is to do a clipping mask using Adobe Photoshop.Full Story
In all the years I’ve been in the screen printing industry, I’ve only walked into a few shops that had well-maintained ink departments.
As the popularity of poly-performance apparel grows, so does the interest in sublimation, since it’s the ideal choice for decorating anything made of polyester.Full Story
The popularity of French terry has skyrocketed due to its comfort and adaptability to different apparel silhouettes.Full Story
A printer’s goal is to make money. With that in mind, here are a few more practical tips that may be helpful as you continue to run your business.Full Story
As the drive for additional styles and fabrics have flooded our industry, the need to perfect the printing on 50/50 blends has become a necessity for every screen printer.Full Story
Twenty years ago, Richard Sawyer saw a major need in the action sports industry for a full-service screen printing company that offered package programs.Full Story
Communicating with a customer or a vendor about printed colors may sound easy at first, but it can actually become a complicated chore without some sort of standard to measure against.Full Story
The adhesive type that is best for your screen printing shop depends on your needs.Full Story
Screen printers work with chemical systems daily. However, there’s been a big push to become more environmentally conscious, as well as reduce waste and the impact of the things we use.
This much we know: Ink trends generally follow fashion trends.Full Story
One of the main determining factors in choosing the right knife is the purpose for which it will be used.Full Story
With the popularity of allover printing, it's becoming increasingly common to screen print over zippers, seams and pockets, particularly on fleece apparel.
Printing onto sportswear used to be a straightforward affair.Full Story
Artists who work for screen printers (or screen printers who also double as artists) must handle several tasks that are more complex than the basics, such as copying artwork and adjusting images for production.Full Story