Screen printing a shirt design has become more and more popular because of its cost-friendiness of printing and creating unique t-shirts. There is an art to shirt design that.

Keep reading our guide to learn how to design a shirt and the basics of screen printing.

Prepare The Artwork

When it comes to designing a shirt, your main focus will probably be on the artwork that is going on the shirt. You can either design the artwork yourself or have a customer bring you their design. If you’re creating shirts for a company, then it may be as easy as getting the company’s logo.

You will want to make sure that the artwork is quality. Good quality artwork will produce good quality work when it comes to the screen printing process. Make sure that your artwork is clear and concise.

One Color at a Time

If your artwork has multiple colors in it, then you will want to figure out a way to separate them. When you are screen printing you will be doing one color per layer of screen printing.

Using a source like photoshop is a great way to create layers so you know which color will be going on the shirt first. You may also want to limit the number of colors you use on a shirt because too many colors may look too busy.

Film Positive

Once you’ve decided on your artwork and separated the colors into different layers, you will want to create your film positive. This is a transparent sheet that will burn your image onto a silkscreen. Whatever you want to print on your shirt will be printed on the film positive.

Starting the Screen

Now is the time that you will make your screen. The frame is either wood or aluminum with polyester mesh stretched over it. This mesh will hold your image onto the screen and let the ink pass through it when you press it with a squeegee.

Set Up Your Screen Printing

A screen printing press will hold your printing platen and a variety of colors. Some screen printing presses have the ability to print more colors at a time.

Make sure you remember to tape off the edges of your screen printing frame so you do not get ink in places that you don’t want it. At this point, you will complete a test print to make sure that everything is lined up.

Printing Your Shirts

Right before you print your shirts, remember to apply adhesive to your platen to make sure that it does not move around during the process. Now you will load your shirt onto the press and get the printhead aligned.

Now you will apply the ink which could be a one or two-step process depending on how much ink came out. When printing multiple colors, you will repeat the process with each different color.

Dry Your Shirts

Inbetween prints you may need to flash dry your shirt. A flash dryer will have to cure and set the ink into the shirt. Once you are completely finished you will also want to dry the shirt so the ink is cured and stays put.

Print Screening a Shirt is Fun

Now that you’ve followed along with our process on how to print screen a shirt, you can order many shirts for your friend, family or company.

Rocky Mountain Apparel has a great design lab to help you customize shirts for any and all occasions. Make sure to check out the services in screen printing, embroidery, graphic design, and promotional products.