Friday, February 11, 2011

How to Center a Shirt for Silk Screening

Some shirts that you will buy come with a center crease and many people use that center line to line up the shirt. I do too, but being a careful, ok, perhaps paranoid type I don’t trust that crease. I know that the crease can be off center or the shirt can be sewn crooked and it’s best to double check your placement so that you try your best to avoid a misprinted shirt. Also, not all shirts come with that center crease. Most of the recycled and higher quality shirts we buy don’t have one. A lot of the shirts we buy that don't have a center crease have side seams, however.

So, here’s how I line up a shirt on the platen.

I draw a carefully measured center line down the center of the platen. This is always good to have as a visual measure.

We will decide where to place the design on the shirt and figure out where the design on the screen will fall on the platen and I put a piece of masking tape on the platen and draw a mark about where the collar should fall to make the design print correctly on the shirt.

I open up a shirt from the bottom and slide it onto the platen all the way to the shoulder seams, making sure the shoulder seams are even on the platen edge.

I pull the shirt back carefully, keeping it straight until the collar hits the mark.

Then I use my thumbs to measure the distance from the edge of the platen to the arm hole seams and check to make sure they are the same distance on each side.

Then I slide my hands under the platen until my fingers are touching the side seams (if the shirt has side seams) and measure if the distance is even. If my fingers are touching the side seams and the platen is falling at the same place on each hand, the shirt should be pretty centered.

When the shirt has no side seams and no center crease, it’s a little harder. For the smaller sizes I use the same method as above and just look at the arm hole seams to see that the shirt is centered. For the larger sizes I fold the shirt in half lengthways and create a center line that looks right to me.

I pick up the shirt by the center line and get Freddy to help me slide it onto the platen and I place the center that I have pinched onto the center line drawn on the platen.

That’s how I place the shirts. Other people have other methods and you should check out everything you can and decide what works for you. Let me know if you find a better way. I'm always hoping to learn something new!

Next: Top Ten Worst Screen Printing Mistakes


  1. Cool Article !!! Nice Job !!!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. How to Center a Shirt for Silk Screening..??

    I already get that answer.... Many many thanks for sharing with us..
    Digital T-Shirt Printing

  4. we use a laser system and lights to make sure we have excellent visibility. Check us out at to see it in action!

  5. With screen printing t-shirts, you can either design your own t-shirts or use one of the standard designs offered by those firms that specialize in t-shirt printing.

  6. I have been experimenting with photographic images and lines per inch with Photoshop. Posted the results here: Do you have a formula you use?

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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