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Printing Techniques That Make Your Screen Printed Tees Pop

Posted by George Kilian on February 18, 2016 11:00:24 AM CST


When you start to discuss printed tee shirts with your customers, be creative and think outside the box to guide their designs. Give them a few that will stand out, rather than just sticking to the regular printing basics. Here are a few trends we have seen that you may want add to your toolbox:


Reflective ink is functional for safety and a cool effect for designers to experiment with. Garments printed with reflective ink provide enhanced visibility for joggers, cyclists, construction workers and others who work around traffic at night. This technique adds about $1.50 per print.


One of the original specialty affects in the world of screen printing, puff ink is a plastisol that has been modified with the addition of a heat-reactive foaming agent. The ink expands when exposed to high temperatures as the garment is cured. It gives your graphic a three dimensional look. It adds about $0.25 to the print.


Vintage printing captures the look and feel of your favorite old t-shirt. Start with an athletic heather tri-blend or retro baseball raglan for a classic vintage look. Next, add some distress to your art to enhance the effect. Request a soft-hand ink additive or even water-based ink. After the first wash, you won’t even be able to feel the print! Price varies depending on the look you’re going for.

ONE-COLOR AOP (all over print)

Just as it sounds, this print can be executed with one screen and the shirt does not have to be 100% polyester like sublimation printing. We have a specialized press that cranks out one color all-over prints all day long. For example, we do a one color all over print of a tire graphic on a tee-shirt. Then go back and add a standard print right on top of it like a race team, tire company, or mechanic shop. Looks like a custom cut and sew shirt and be done in quantities as low as 72 pieces. Price varies from $1.50 to $4.00 per one color print depending on quantity and design.

These are just a few ideas to take your tee-shirt designs to the next level. There are more than 30 specialty inks and printing techniques to show your customer. Every customer is different, so these effects may not be right for everyone, but you can add value and demonstrate creativity by showing them the options.

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George Kilian

Written by George Kilian