How To Add Art To A Screen-Printed Shirt

Learn how to modify or enhance a T-shirt design that’s already been printed.

1. Start with a pre-printed shirt. Customers may forget things like names, titles or additional information when submitting art – or they may want to add something later. Knowing how to add art elements on a shirt that has already been printed will save you time and wasted garments.

2. Reburn the screen. Create a screen with the new element added to the original design. This will allow you to get proper placement for the new artwork.

3. Tape off the original design. The original design has already been printed, so there’s no need to print it again. Tape off that part of the screen so no ink can get through.

4. Line up the screen (see inset image). Place the screen on the shirt and make sure the printed design and the taped off design on the screen line up. This will ensure proper placement of the additional artwork.

5. Print. Hold the screen in one hand and spread the ink with the other. Match the ink to the print that’s already on the shirt. Before printing, do a test print of the entire design on a waste shirt to make sure things line up properly.

Tip: Charge for additional printing. Some customers may say that this is just completing a job that’s already started. However, screens need to be reburned and additional work needs to be done to complete the shirt, and of course, you’ll be investing additional production time. Rule of thumb: If the customer did forget to add something to the artwork when the job was originally commissioned, they should pay for the extra time and work that was done to make the job to their specifications.

Reburning a Screen
The easiest way to add artwork to a garment that has already been printed would be to reburn the screen with the new artwork added. This requires reclaiming the old screen and then burning it again with the all the art required for the garment. Even though part of the design will be taped off for the reprint, reburning a screen as a whole will allow the new art to be centered properly with the old art and ensure that you have proper registration and placement.

Watch This!
Reclaiming a screen can be a vital part of adding art to an already printed design. Catspit Productions provides tips on how to successfully reclaim screens including things like how to deal with semi-cured emulsion and dealing with screen lock. View the video here: