Ink Kitchen: Out, Damn Spot

Advice and secrets from the screen printing know-it-alls

Advice and secrets from the screen printing know-it-alls

A garment-dyed shirt is a wonderful thing – comfortable and it comes in beautiful colors. However, there are a few limitations that go along with these shirts, and one is that you cannot remove the ink if you make a mistake.

Here are some best practices for garment-dyed shirts:

  1. Use a good emulsion
  2. Get a thorough exposure
  3. Carefully “pinhole” the screens and put tape on the back of the screen where there is no image as insurance policy.
  4. Make sure everybody’s hands and shirts are clean before they go anywhere near the garments.
  5. Good housekeeping in general helps, particularly around the load and unload stations. No ink except in your screens!
  6. Customer service may want to inform customers that they may have to live with small pinholes (spots.)
  7. Contract customers have to accept a higher imperfect rate, or if you are buying the shirts you have to figure in higher spoilage on the garments.

All of this because you cannot use a dry cleaning gun to get out pinholes or spots of ink.

Maybe not what you wanted to hear, but that’s the story.

Look at these photos: I try to take the tiny black trademark ® symbol off the shirt with my spot cleaning “gun.” It takes it off, but also takes the dye out of the shirt. This would work with regular plastisol on most regular shirts, but not with garment-dyed shirts. – RR

In the Cart

At Motion Textile we are working on implementing legit carts for job staging. (I’ll define job staging as the collection of screens, inks, squeegees and flood bars per production specifications in advance of a scheduled print run.) We currently use flat shelf utility carts, which are awesome for garment staging, but not so much for job staging. If you incorporate job staging as part of your production process (and if you don’t, you should), you too may have struggled to find the right solution for your shop. We’re currently testing out a few options, but I must say I was more than impressed when we received this cart (below) from our friends at Graphic Screen Fashion (GSF). – TD

Tom Davenport is founder and president of Motion Textile, Inc. (asi/72662). He currently serves on the Board of Directors for SGIA.

Rick Roth is the president of Mirror Image Inc. He is known for his award-winning screen printing and embroidery as well as his philanthropy. Visit The Ink Kitchen blog at www.theinkkitchen.com.