Thursday, January 27, 2011

10 Things Never to do While Screen Printing Water-based inks and Discharge inks

Don’t stop, slow down or take a phone call or Twitter break. Keep printing. If the ink dries in the screen it’s trouble. If you do have to stop you can try wrapping the screen with plastic wrap. We've tried that with mixed results. And by mixed, I mean not really successful, but others have reported better results.

Don’t put too much ink on the screen. It will start to dry up and become gloppy, to use the technical term. If you put too much ink on the screen at once it may become thick and uneven and be hard to get through the screen mesh.

Don’t put too little ink on the screen. Be sure there’s enough for a good back flood stroke to protect the ink from drying in the image you’re printing.

Don’t leave your ink container open. Keep it covered as much as you can so the ink doesn’t get gloppy or dry up on the edges.

Don’t print too many different colors unless you are pretty experienced at it. The more colors you are printing, the more time the ink has to dry up in the screens. But it depends on the ink. Some inks dry more slowly. We do 3 colors pretty well with Aerotex inks. 4 not as well. We’re getting better.

Don’t zone out. Go carefully, keep checking your work and making sure no problems are cropping up and you can avoid expensive mistakes. In screen printing, mistakes generally cost.

Don’t guess at curing temperatures. Buy an infrared thermometer gun. We try for around 325 or 350 degrees for discharge inks and also for water based.

Don’t rely on your memory. Make notes. Write down exposure times, inks used, mesh counts, what worked right, ideas, inventory, everything.

Don’t wait to wash out your screen after you finished printing. Get some water onto that thing right away. And if you start having drying problems during a run, mist the screen (on the ink side) with a light mist of water.

Don’t think you can get away without test printing. Always test print if you are doing something for the first time, or haven’t tried something in a while.

But, DO have a good time making cool stuff and especially enjoy wearing your beautiful and very comfortable eco-friendly creations!

Model Tony Robinson, actor and artist, enjoying the shirt we made especially for him. Check out his work here.
The Liberal, Born to Raise Issues shirt is available here.

Next: Birth of an Award-Winning Poster


  1. I want to learn Sacramento Screen Printing and want to start a home business, how do I go about it? Please tell me if anyone knows anything about it.

    Sacramento Screen Printing

  2. thank for this pretty post. In the beginning we got too much problems to print t-shirts and some other stuff for our company they were same as you mentioned above in the article
    But it'll helpful for new one...

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  4. Wow, it looks like you get spammed a lot in these comments! Don't worry - I'm not a spammer! :)
    I'm new to screen printing and find your posts really helpful, thanks a lot.

  5. Thanks for the tips. They were a need-to-know info. Well, back to work.

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