It’s a common scenario – you buy a shirt whose design you absolutely adore, only to see that design fade away after a few washes. Crestfallen, you buy another one, only to repeat the cycle. Or maybe you take the shirt home and notice, in better light, that the colours run together in an unattractive way, or that the surface of the print is rough and gummy.
This is a low-stakes version of what some businesses come up against when they order screen printed clothes in bulk – they pony up a lot of money, and in return they get a lacklustre pile of printed clothes from the screen printing company. It shouldn’t be this way. This article will look at different ways of spotting a great screen-printing job, so you never have to be disappointed with your order.
This is, ultimately, a matter of preference. Some clients want a print that doesn’t feel raised at all, that more or less matches the texture of the garment. This is most often the case with finer t-shirts. But then there are bulkier clothes, like hoodies or basketball jerseys, and for those you might want a more textured feel, something that adds to the heft of the clothing. Find a good screen-printing shop here in Toronto, like R&P Prints and you should be able to discuss this with them, noting your preference. What is unacceptable across the board is rough, gummy screen prints, which in addition to feeling odd also look cheap.
You’ve probably heard of “colour bleeding”, where the outer definition of a design sort of bleeds into the surrounding area. It can be detrimental for tattoos, and it can be a real nuisance for screen-printed shirts. In general (unless you’re going for a specific “bleeding” aesthetic), you want clear, crisp lines with complete division between colours. Dye migration can happen on polyester fabrics, so if you want to ensure that your order comes out perfectly clean and crisp you could always take the precaution of ordering cotton t-shirts. Go check out the screen printing companies website and see if they display examples of their work – this is a great way of telling which companies take pride in the look of their garments.
Faded, cracked screen prints aren’t that much fun to wear, and, if you’re ordering for your company, can make everyone look bad. To make sure that your shirt has been cured properly, and that the dye won’t crack or fade in the wash, stretch the fabric horizontally; since most fabric is constructed with the lines running vertically, stretching it this way will tell you whether the print will crack. As you can tell by the photo above, a properly cured print job will stand up to a stretch, no problem.
You don’t have to settle for gummy, rough, uneven, bleeding, cracked or faded screen prints. Choosing a quality screen printing company with experience and examples to back it up will make certain that you never have to open up a box of lacklustre shirts again.