How can I identify a great screen print? To the average human eye, it’s almost impossible. Every printer carries a subconscious checklist of what to expect in their prints. The fact is, after printing for so long, you start to expect more out of your shirts. First, I ask myself if it's a match, is it opaque, does it feel good on my hand, did it fail the wash test? A great screen print should be a very close imitation of your artwork. Sometimes, a printer will apply either too much or insufficient pressure when laying down the ink. You can notice this if you look at your design and sharp lines begin to look rounded. Your printer must deliver pure bliss through every single stroke of the squeegee. Each stroke delivers more opacity to your print. The result: a print you can't keep your hands off.
But wait, what's my first time supposed to feel like?
I know, you’re confused. I was too. The feel of your print derives from the canvas and the inks used. In screen printing, there are two types of ink: plastisol and water-based.
Plastisol ink should tame the cotton fibers by sitting on top of them, providing a smooth consistent feel across the entire print. Plastisol colors are much more opaque. They will stand out much better on dark garments and are capable of printing on just about any material known to man.
Water-based ink is known for its superior soft hand feel. The ink absorbs into the substrate leaving no feel of ink. Unfortunately, it is limited to cotton - preferably 100% ringspun cotton. Ringspun cotton is much softer than typical cotton. When it comes to these inks, a softer shirt equals a softer print. These inks are transparent, so they won't show up well on dark garments.
Did you expect more?
I think we can reminisce on a time our t-shirts left us wanting more. You remember that cool tee you bought at the mall? You were gonna wear it on your night out next week. In fact, you were so excited, you put it on once you got to your car and wore it on the way home. You knew you were gonna get it dirty. It's okay, just throw it in the wash, everything will be okay… or so you thought. You take your shirt out only to realize the design you fell in love with on the shirt is cracked and faded.
The printer did such a great job printing the shirts... but in the end, it didn’t even matter. Your love has faded along with the print. Most people believe a print that cracks is a result of improper printing techniques. In fact, it's usually due to rushing the process. Sometimes, a printer will crank up the speed of their conveyor dryer. This allows them to push out twice as many shirts with half the quality. Drying ink is like baking a cake. Unless you let it cook for the right time, you'll still have that undercooked and unsatisfying center.
Factory Inks never cuts corners. Our customers deserve more than a quickie. Each print is held to the highest of standards. We believe a great screen print will last forever.
If it feels good to you, then wear it. Express your passion and set your own trends.
Just make sure you look good doing it.
Let's talk screen printing.