How To Create a Textured Screen Print

Texture varies the printed surface for a unique look.

1. Choose a design.
First, select a design that could benefit from having a textured finish. The goal is to use the texture to enhance the design’s appearance.

2. Select a texture to add to the print.
Ensure the texture isn’t so corrugated that it will damage your screen. For example, kitchen shelf liners and car mats are two popular choices.

3. Prepare the pallet.
Cover it with pallet tape; apply a heavier-than-normal amount of pallet adhesive to the paper. Apply your chosen texture material to the pallet. If it doesn’t adhere as well as needed, tape the textured material’s edges to the pallet.

4. Put the shirt on the pallet as you normally would.

5. Print the garment. 
A thicker texture will most likely affect off-contact, so make adjustments once you’ve prepared the pallet. Pay close attention to the ink curing. In many cases, the recommended curing time and temperature will work. If, however, you’re using a heavy texture where the ink may have a heavier-than-normal deposit, additional curing time may be needed.

The reason your typical screen print is smooth is because printing is done on a smooth pallet. As the print is made, the squeegee moves smoothly across the screen without any obstacles. Adding another element to the pallet causes it to not be smooth. The result is an ink surface that has varying degrees of height or texture. Keep in mind that not all designs will look good with the texture effect. A design with a great deal of fine lines or text may become distorted. Test the technique until you find the right fit of texture and design.

Watch This!

If a textured print doesn’t appeal to your client, try adding foil to a garment. Atlas Screen Supply shows the steps necessary to apply foil to a design printed with plastisol inks. To learn more, watch the video here.

All screen print and instructions provided by Dave Gehrich, vice president, and Kayla Gayton, marketing assistant, of Atlas Screen Supply.