Create a Screen-Printed Slogan

Chicago-based Culture Studio Custom Screen Printing & Embroidery (asi/700559) is printing lots of simple slogan T-shirts, a hot throw-back trend. “Slogan/text-style imprints are usually spot color, but that doesn’t mean they’re simple” to produce, says Nick Ernst, production manager. Here’s how to do it in five steps.


Know YOUR client’S expectations.

Many customers want a soft, smooth imprint, so to achieve that, choose the appropriate white base ink for your garment fabric to create a smooth underbase. One to try, according to Ernst: Rutland High Opacity ink.


Check your screen tension.

Ernst suggests using a tight screen to ensure that the ink will release properly from the screen and lay down as evenly as possible. Properly stretched screens need less pressure to release the ink from the screen. This is important because too much pressure can stretch the shirt and the design in the printing process, making it harder for the top colors to cover an underbase. 


Determine your technique, based on your shirt color and fiber.

If you’re printing on dark/black T-shirts, be sure to use the right white ink on the base screen; Ernst suggests that if you’re printing a polyester garment, try Rutland’s Super Poly White ink.


Flash-cure the shirt.

Note: Don’t over flash-cure the design or you’ll be left with rough text rather than leaving a smooth hand.
Tip: Use the right mesh. One to try: Ernst recommends Muramaki Smart Mesh LX150, LX180 or LX225, since it retains tension well and creates a consistent result.


Use a crush plate.

After you’ve flash-cured the shirt, use a crush plate – that’s a rubber cylinder with a Teflon bottom that comes down on a regular screen and rolls over the imprint to help smooth and soften it.