Special Effects: ‘A Real Money Maker’
Lone Mountain Printing doesn't back down from a challenge when it comes to taking T-shirts to the next level.
When Colin Shane started Lone Mountain Printing in a one-car garage, there were roughly a dozen other screen printers in his town of Bozeman, Montana. The problem was, all of those shops were vying for the business of about 40,000 people.
“I had to find a way that separated me from everybody else I did business with,” says Shane. “We started utilizing higher-quality garments and we started offering things that a lot of [shops] didn’t offer.” He began to emphasize foil printing, metallic inks, four-color process, and more.
Lone Mountain used metallic ink for this barrel-aged beer anniversary shirt.
Six years later, Lone Mountain is nestled in a cozy 3000-square-foot facility running a 12-color automatic press. Of course, it didn’t happen in the blink of an eye. As with many in the industry, screen printing is more of an identity than a job to Shane. “As a screen printer, I look around … and I see potential everywhere,” he says. “I’m one of the guys you see walk into a store and grab a T-shirt and start pulling and tugging on it, trying to figure out what they did with it.”
At the onset, developing an expertise in special effects was a long journey of trial and error – but to him, it wasn’t arduous. “It was just taking the time to play around with it all and having fun and going back to what it means to be a printer, and that’s doing things you love,” Shane says, and the process continues to this day. “I’ll come in on a weekend and I’ll put in 20 to 24 hours just playing around. What happens if I change the squeegee angle or the blade? What happens if I try it with a different mesh?”
This dramatic artwork was developed from an original photograph to showcase how special effects can add depth to any design. Lone Mountain’s commercial special effects work ranges from adding metallic to a barrel-aged beer anniversary shirt to flocking mustaches onto polyester neck tubes for the ski market.
“I love screen printing, but I don’t like the repetitiveness sometimes, so I have to give myself a break by giving myself what I call ‘playtime.’” And even better? “It’s a real money maker.”
• Emulsion: Saati Textil PHU
• Frame: Newman Roller Frame M3 23 x 31
• Garment: Next Level 6210
• Inks: Virus Inks
• Press: 12-color RoqPrint YouP16XL
• Dryer: RoqTunnel 3015GE
• Flash: RoqDry Eco 14400XL