Print Do's & Dont's for Apparel Printing

We want your order to look as awesome as you do! We've put together a list of things to consider and things to avoid when preparing your order.


Why Not To Print Over Seams, Pockets or Zippers

To get the best quality print when screen printing, we need as flat of a surface as possible between the pallet (that the garment lays on) and the screen (that holds your design). The fronts and backs of t-shirts are consistently smooth and the same thickness, which allows us to get a perfect print every time. However, when you print over a seam, pocket or zipper, it creates an inconsistency, because these are thicker portions of the garment. When you print over these portions of the garments, it creates a gap in the print where the ink from the screen does not touch the shirt due to the ridge caused by the seam. We do our absolute best to give you the highest quality print possible, but when a print goes over the seams, we cannot accept responsibility for any negative effects caused by this issue.


What Garments Don't Show Detail Well

With advancements in screen printing (including high mesh count screens and specialty presses) we can recreate a level of detail with t-shirts that was previously unattainable just 5-10 years ago. However, due to the way some garments are constructed, they will not work well with detail. The following is a list of those garments:

  • Ribbed Garments
  • Canvas Material (Aprons, Bags, etc.)
  • Burnout Tees
  • Pique Polos

These items do not work well with detail because they are not smooth like standard t-shirts.


Why Not To Print On Ribbed Garments

Ribbed garments provide the best form fit of all blank shirts as they stretch to meet the size of the individual wearing them. This is great the for final consumer but makes printing on them a problem. When you pull a ribbed garment onto the press, it is not stretched out, so the ink only goes on the top of the ribs. Then, when the shirt is put on, the ink pulls apart, exposing a gap between the ribs that is not printed. We can apply more pressure on the press to try to force the ink into the gaps, but this limits the amount of detail that is actually shown on the garment. Because of these issues, we strongly suggest that you do not print on ribbed garments.


What Issues Will Arise When Printing Hoodies

Hoodies are one of the more difficult garments to print on, but they are also one of the best selling items during the winter. The following are a few issues to be aware of when printing hoodies:

  • Double lined hoodies can only print 1 color ink and no underbase. They slide around on the press so we cannot accurately register multiple colors.
  • Pockets on hoods have to be glued down to print over them. Because of this, when you receive your garments, they may still have some of the glue spray in the pockets. This should wash out after one wash.
  • Prints on the hood itself vary based on what brand of sweatshirt you are printing on. We may have to heat press the design onto the hood if it is double lined. Only single lined sweatshirts work with hood prints.
  • We do have special pallets that have indentations for the zipper and pocket seams, but not every sweatshirt is exactly the same. When you print over these portions of garments, it creates a gap in the print where the ink in the screen does not hit the shirt due to the ridge caused by the seam. For this reason, we do not recommend printing over-the-zipper.
  • When you print over the seams, it can throw the registration off. You may see white poking out from under the design.
  • Hoodies are made with thick fabric and soak up a lot of ink. The color of the sweatshirt will often times influence the ink colors. To get the highest quality print when going over zippers &/or pockets, we recommend using a 100% cotton or 80/20 blend hoodie and using all discharge colors without an underbase.
  • When printing hoodies, we cannot mix them with regular t-shirts on an order because they require a different set of equipment and settings on the printing press. If you would like to order the same design on both t-shirts and hoodies, we will need to set up your order as two separate designs.


What to do Differently on Tri-Blend Tees

Flash units on presses burn the tri-blend material, so tri-blend shirts are not underbased. Please take this into account when you order them. Without an underbase, tri-blend tees will have a faded/vintage look, which is what the shirts were intended for. When printing tri-blends we always recommend using either 100% waterbase ink or a waterbase discharge ink to get the softest print possible. If you don't use waterbase ink, your only real option is plasitsol ink. We recommends that you only opt for a tri-blend tee if you are looking for a soft shirt with a soft print.

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