T-shirt printing is one of the most profitable businesses. It attracts a wide array of clients from different industries who want to print apparels for various reasons. There are clothing manufacturers who want certain prints on their range of t-shirts. There are corporations who want to imprint their logo and brand name on a t-shirt to use it as a giveaway for tradeshows.
And there are also amateurs who want to get prints on their apparels as a form of self-expression. They hire print services to create one-liners and slogans on their apparels to make a fashion statement.
However, t-shirt printing is an expert job that involves professional precision and accuracy and any negligence in performing this job can cost in the form of increased overheads and decreased profits.
To familiarize you with the most common issues in t-shirt printing, we list here some goofs that can occur in a t-shirt printing job:
Bleeding is also known as color migration and dye migration. It is one of the most common issues in t-shirt printing. The issue mostly occurs with heat press printing when a print is transferred on a t-shirt using a transfer paper or decal.
Since heat press printing involves the use of heat, the dye of the fabric evaporates and comes into contact with the ink of the print. This results in blotchy random spots around the print. Bleeding mostly happens on a polyester fabric.
To avoid this issue, you can use a cotton t-shirt since it hardly bleeds. However, if you only want to print on a polyester t-shirt then you can buy bleed-resistant SanMar t-shirts that never bleed. To further ensure the quality of job, you can use plastisol ink with thick low-bleed blockers to create a strong underbase on the fabric which will not let the dye of fabric get affected by heat.
Ghosting occurs when the color of a t-shirt fabric under the print fades and forms a silhouette of the print design. Ghosting can be caused by various reasons. Some of the common causes are:
- Use of low-bleed ink
- High levels of humidity within the printing facility
- Excessive moisture in the t-shirt fabric
- Printing on t-shirts that use colors like green, blue, yellow and violet
The issue of ghosting can be overcome by setting the right temperature setting, humidity level, as well as using the right type of ink. Remember that the use of low-bleed ink is only recommend for 50/50 blended fabric. For fabrics made from 100% cotton, you should only use a regular ink.
Proper curing is also essential to avoid this issue. However, you must not over heat or over flash the t-shirt or it will cause the dye to lose the fabric. Finally, you should not pile the shirts right after the curing and let it cool down for some time. This also goes for printing embroidered patches that you can use on a t-shirt.
3. Prints That Peel Off
This issue is often associated with prints produced from DTG or heat press printing. In most cases, it is occurred due to improper pretreatment.
Pretreatment serves as a kind of primer that helps the print binds firmly onto the fabric of a t-shirt. In the case, when pretreatment is not properly applied onto a t-shirt, it results in a weak bond between the print and t-shirt and the print eventually peels off after a few washes.
In addition, a print can peel off in the event when a printer doesn’t apply the right controls when heat pressing a print. To get a durable print, it is important to use the right settings to control temperature, pressure and time during heat pressing a t-shirt. If the settings are appropriate, it will result in a durable print that will never peel off.
4. Faded Prints
A faded print can occur for various reasons. Among them, the most common reason is the use of low-quality ink. Using poor quality or low-opacity ink can result in a faded print. To create a durable print that never fades, you need to use a t-shirt made from high-quality fabric and apply high-quality ink from famous brands like Speedball, Jacquard and Amex.
For screen printers, it is important to ensure that the job ends in a good coverage and the dye is evenly spread over the entire print area. This increases the life of a print and it will last longer and will not easily fade.
5. The Issue with Printing Halftones
The case of halftone is a bit different from the other issues mentioned in this article. The thing with a halftone print is that it is often goofed up at the design stage.
Remember that the quality of a halftone print depends on the number of dots that appear in an image on screen. Just like custom embroidered patches look as good the number of stitches they have, the halftones prints look as good as the number of dots they have.
The higher the number of dots in an image, the crisper will be the quality of print. Lines Per Inch (LPI) and density are the other things that you must set appropriately before printing a halftone image.
6. Change in Color Tones
Often, printers complain of the difference in the colors of design and the colors on final print on a t-shirt. The majority of times, this difference in colors occurs as a result of the discrepancy in the tones of different colors. The colors you see in a design on screen look different on a print.
For example, if you want to produce a print on a t-shirt in a light shade of blue, it could translate into a higher hue of blue color. The reason is the variance between the different tones of a color.
To avoid this issue, you should use Pantone Matching System (PMS) which is based on standardized color reproduction system and is used by professional printers around the world. The colors in PMS system use a universal color code that is a 4-digit number and a letter. So whatever the shade of a color you want to print on a t-shirt, you can produce the exact tone of that color using the PMS code.
These are some of the common t-shirt printing issues. By taking into consideration the factors mentioned in this write-up, you can avoid happening these issues with your t-shirt printing job.