12 Missteps to Avoid in Screen Printing
Sep 17, 2019
Screen printing is a highly demanding job that requires skills and expertise. For newbie printers, it can be challenging to do this task with accuracy. Screen printing involves a myriad of different tasks that need to be executed with precision. Whether you are printing logo and custom patches on a t-shirt or creating imprints on a mug, you have to be knowledgeable to avoid the costly mistakes during screen printing.
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While it takes time to learn the art of screen printing, you can avoid some major mistakes to make this job as flawless as possible during the initial stage. To perfect your screen printing job in the formative years of your business, we list here some critical mistakes that you need to avoid in order to succeed in this business:
1. Not Preparing Yourself
Preparation is what makes you ready to perform a job with perfection. Screen printing has too many steps and you have to gear up yourself to pull off this job and timely grapple with any issues you might face in the course of each of these steps.
Therefore, you should prepare yourself with all the required materials and tools in order to perform this job with precision.
2. Using Too Much Ink
Using too much ink can spoil the quality of your prints. It is difficult to manage too much ink on screen and it makes it hard to perform clean stroking since the ink become too thick. Having too much ink on screen can hinder smooth print stroking and back flooding. Therefore, you should put the ink in moderation to make it easier to perform stroking in order to get a clean print.
3. Not Maintaining an Off-Contact
Maintaining an off-contact is essential to get a clean print on a substrate. Off-contact is a standard gap between a screen and a substrate. It helps effectively release the ink onto a substrate during the stroking. Ideally, you need to keep a gap between 1/32 inch to a quarter of an inch.
To help achieve the right gap between a screen and substrate, you can take help of a shim with the right size and put it between the screen and platen and then adjust the knobs of screen to raise it above the platen until it levels the size of the shim.
4. Stroking Too Hard
A firm stroking is essential to transfer ink onto the substrate but it shouldn’t be too forceful or it will spoil a print. Putting too much force and pressure in the stroking increases the chances of smearing and ghosting and you end up messing your prints.
To get the right print, it is important that you apply only moderate force in stroking to release the ink on the substrate. Apart from spilling the ink on the substrate, forceful stroking can also drag the stencil forward and you might miss the right spot for the print.
5. Not Checking Your Screen
The screen is the most important equipment in a screen printing job as it contains the stencil, holds the ink and helps release the ink over a substrate. So it warrants all your time and attention after every job. To ensure that it is in a sound condition, you should check your screen and make sure that it is properly clamped so that it doesn’t budge or shift during stroking.
Besides, you should check it for any breakage or damage that might damage a substrate. Checking these things will help you avoid botch the job and you will get a perfect print on the exact location of a substrate.
6. Not Taping the Screen
Taping the screen is important to secure the screen and avoid letting the ink pass through its sides. Not only does it block the ink from slipping through edges of screen but it also saves your attire from accidentally coming into contact with the ink. Therefore, you should always tape your screen before starting the printing job.
7. Not Curing with Flash Dryer
Printing on dark shirts requires a coat of white ink to produce bright colors on a substrate. You can skip this step if you are using a plastisol ink. But if you use a white ink like the majority of the printers do, then you will need to cure it using a flash dryer.
A flash dryer will cure the ink and it will easily gel with colors of the artwork. Ultimately, you will get an appealing design with vibrant colors whether you are printing a garment or custom made patches.
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8. Not Drawing the Pallet Lines and Registration Marks
After all the hard work and efforts, you don’t want to get a misaligned print and this is why professional printers recommend drawing pallet lines and registration marks to get a print on an accurate location. Therefore, you should always draw the pallet lines and registration marks in order to get a well-aligned print on the exact location where you intend to print a design.
9. Using a Screen with Wrong Mesh Count
While it is standard to use a screen with a mesh count between 110 and 125, it doesn’t always work for the different types of designs, especially when you are creating halftones. A screen with a wrong mesh count can mess up the entire print and you might waste your time and money.
This is why you should always use a screen with the correct mesh count to get a perfect design on a substrate.
10. Not Cleaning the Ink On Screen After Every Print
This is one of the most common mistakes that printers commit. Not washing your screen in between the prints causes the ink to dry, especially when you are using a water-based ink. To avoid this ordeal, you should keep a water spray bottle to use on the screens after every run. This will wash away the ink from screen and it will be ready for the next run.
11. Not Cleaning the Equipment After Every Run
The equipment in a printing facility needs to be cleaned after every run. The screen can have residues of emulsion, the squeegee can still have some ink, the platen can have frays or lint of clothes. All these things can come in contact with the print and spoil it. Besides, your hands can have grease and flecks of colors that can ruin a print.
Therefore, you should make it a habit to clean your equipment after every job so that they don’t destroy a print and your printing goes as smoothly as possible.
12. Not Doing a Test Print
A test print can save you from loss of time, money and efforts that go into creating a design. With a test print, you can assess the initial quality of a print before you run an entire project. This will help you set the colors, accurately align the design as well as fix any issues in the initial stage. So always run a test print before you begin execute the printing of an entire consignment.
Screen printing is a tricky job that needs to be done with care. By taking into consideration all these mistakes, you can do this job with success.
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