Every so often, screen printers are faced with certain obstacles they need to overcome in order to provide their customers with the best possible looking custom apparel. One of these challenges is known as pallet marks. The pallet is what the garment is placed on during the actual printing stage. Just as the term implies, a pallet mark is when the outline of the pallet leaves a mark on the t-shirt that is being printed on.
There are three main factors that cause a pallet to leave a mark on a screen printed t-shirt: squeegee problems, flash temperature, and type of material.
There are two different ways that a squeegee can cause pallet marks on a custom printed t-shirt. More common of the two is the squeegee pressure. If the pressure that the squeegee is running over the screen is too high, it could imprint an outline of the pallet on the garment. The length of the squeegee can also be the cause of a pallet mark on a screen printed tee. If the squeegee extends over the edge of the pallet, the pallet outline could possibly show on the shirt.
When you’re out in the sun for too long, you usually gain a little color to your skin. The same can be said for garments that undergo too high of a temperature during the flash. The flash is used to dry the ink during the screen print cycle to avoid printing wet ink on wet ink. If the temperature is too high, it can slightly scorch the pallet impression onto the garment that is being printed on.
Type of Material
In most cases, pallet marks occur on dark colored, cotton t-shirts. It is possible and likely to use the same squeegee pressure and the same flash temperature on both a light and dark garment, and only see pallet marks on the darker colored t-shirt. The only way to try and avoid pallet marks in this case is by using the correct squeegee size, pressure, and flash temperature.
Custom screen printers never want to send their customers a screen printed t-shirt with a pallet mark on it. That doesn’t mean that every pallet marked shirt needs to be tossed in the misprint pile, because pallet marks are removable.
More often than not, spraying the pallet mark with water and sending it through the conveyor belt of the dryer will remove the mark. Another option for removing the pallet mark is to simply steam dry it.