Establish your company as a leader in garment decorating by mastering difficult printing techniques. The author highlights two extreme applications that separate skilled and innovative printers from novices.
By Rick Davis
This brings us to standard screen printing of finished garments. Again, the goal is to bridge the image across the seam of the garment with as little interference to the garment or the image as possible. One simple method of getting a graphic to cross a seam is to break up the image so that you can print a portion of it on either side of the seam. This is commonly done with athletic jerseys, where the letters of the team’s name are separated across the garment so that the seam of the garment falls between characters. With more complex images, however, this approach can make it difficult to maintain the integrity of the design.
The biggest problems when splitting graphics come when the image will be printed on garments of different size. Depend¬ing on the graphic, you may need a separate set of screens for each garment size you will be printing.
You’ll face no bigger obstacles than when you want to completely overprint the seam in order to preserve the graphics integrity. In these situations, you generally must strive for a happy medium. Although you can print across the seam with multiple colors and solid images, you will inevitably have to stop production frequently to wipe the screens (ink will build up on the screen around seam areas of the print). You also will have to keep the following two points in mind:
• As you print from garment to garment, no two prints will fall in the exact same place on the garments. In other words, the seam of the garments will always make contact with a different part of the screens, leading to ink buildup that can eventually cause smearing of the printed image.
• As the ink builds up on the screen, an occasional garment seam will line up with this buildup, and the heavy volume of ink will be transferred and fill the seam. The excessive ink deposit will lead to the curing problems mentioned previously.
Knowing up front that seam printing is a more costly and time-consuming process is half the battle when taking on such applications. The rest of the fight lies in maintaining the graphics integrity and not producing a huge smear of ink around seams.
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