There are specifics to garment printing that any apparel clothing production business should know of including some things to avoid to establish decent printing technique and proper placements. Here is our guide to achieve quality garment printing for your clothing business.
Printing Colors on Dark Clothing
Printing a white ink layer used as an underbase is suggested to allow the colors to come out. Inks are not vibrant enough when printed directly on dark clothing and they tend to lose their saturation. The white ink layer serves as a primer in order to achieve the right brightness.
For example, if you want to print a yellow design on top of a blue shirt, the result may become light yellow when printed directly on the blue shirt. However, with a white underbase, the yellow will remain bright on top of the blue shirt. I know the process ends up as a two color print (white underbase & yellow), a good clothing line should not mind the additional expenses as long as you are able to achieve top notch color quality.
Printing White on Dark Clothing
The best method for printing white on dark fabric is the print-flash-print technique. It may sound so complex but to break it down, it only means you have to print two layers of white ink on dark garments. Getting it done once won’t be enough to come up with a vibrant shade of white. Working with dark garments is costly and takes more time compared to light fabric as any garment product design company will tell you.
How to Print on Tri-Blend Garments
Tri-blend garments are very thin and heat-sensitive. Because of these properties, we cannot use underbases or flash units for the curing process of ink colors after the printing process. You simply have to print regularly on tri-blend garments and not mind the faded results. In fact, this is the vintage style wherein tri-blend garments are designed for.
A single pass of ink even without the underbase should be enough to show the color. The texture of the garment allows ink to easily pass through but do not expect a bright and vibrant outlook since the single coating will only achieve the faded/vintage look.
Printing over Trims
Printing over pockets, seams and zippers can be quite challenging since they cause surfaces to be uneven disrupting ink consistency. Most customers understand the expected consistency of prints over trims and this should not be a problem. However, as a garment manufacturer with high standards, you would not want to settle with print inconsistencies and unevenness.
The only solution for this is to keep the surface as flat as possible and make sure the garment is laid firm and stable while being printed. In case there are zippers, make sure they are closed to keep the clothing surface still.
The Challenge of Printing on Hoodies
Printing on the backside of a hoodie does not really pose a challenge but if the print is on the front side then it is a different story. Most hoodies have full zippers upfront which is clearly an obstacle to the printing process. The best way to deal with zippers is a zipper pallet which will deal with the ridges. You can never guarantee perfect prints when dealing with zippers but at least the zipper pallet allows the ink to gather around the seams. The best way to test the design idea by looking into getting an apparel prototype made.
Aside from the zipper upfront, other issues to be dealt with when printing on hoodies includes how its thick fabric affects the printing process particularly screen printing. Due to its thickness, the printed design may have overlaps and underbases may be noticeable with dark hoodies. However, if you are printing on double lined hoodies, there should be no issues such as overlapping and an underbase is unnecessary.
Never Print on Ribbed Garments
Ribbed garments are stretchable and are designed to be form-fitting. Keep in mind ribbed garments are not stretched out when loaded to the printing machine. Thus, the ink may not sink deep on to the fabric due to its material. When the garment is worn or stretched out, the design will most likely be distorted resulting to bad print sizing and scale. Printing on ribbed garments is never advisable for clothing lines.
The following garment printing techniques should come in handy for clothing manufacturers who are still new to the business. These tips and techniques are already proven and tested in the clothing manufacturing industry. There are more printing techniques out there but the aforementioned ones are the most useful most especially for small batch clothing manufacturers.