Friday, April 8, 2011

Screen Printing Start-up :
1st Batch of 1st Production

Before I started to print I decided to put hardener on my single stencil. Even if it would make it less easy to decoat, I thought that I rather have a durable stencil, because I will be scrubbing off the ink from it many times later.

I started printing at 1:30 in the afternoon and was able to print 25 shirts by 5:30 (I stopped printing because it was getting dark). So with me doing all the work (wearing the shirt on 7 pallets, printing one coat of ink per shirt, washing the stencil, hanging the shirts, then start again) I make 6 shirts in an hour. Not bad. I can probably make 50 one-color print shirts in one working day.

I actually had fun printing. Of course I've learned many things in my first day of production. I realized that my design, even if it looked simple (a single colored print of small words and phrases within a big phrase), was sensitive to print. To much pressure on the squeegee expands the black areas, affecting the thickness of the small text, and less pressure on the other hand, accuratley prints the small text but leave some black areas less solid. I pull the squeegee twice. I put moderate pressure on the first pull and much less on the second. That kinda worked for this design.

Also, I had glog problems. Pressured water or scrubbing with a soaped sponge didn't work (I was afraid to try a brush). I don't have a spray-on screen opener. I forgot to ask MultiPrint if they have anything like it. I've heard that screen openers are quite pricey.

So as a result, as I continue printing, some sharp corners became blunt, some small holes began to disappear, some smooth edges became a bit rough. But somehow, it seemed okay. The originally crisp n' clean design changed into worn n' weathered.

When I'm done with this job I'll stay away from designing crisp n' clean prints. I'm concentrating on rough, weathered and distressed designs - the rustic or vintage look (that I've always find interesting). Well, at least until I find an effective and affordable way to quickly declog screens.

I had one reject shirt today. Lesson learned: Once you remove the shirt from the printer don't put it back and try to print over the previous print, most especially if the registration is unreliable. =/

It's Thursday. I'm gonna hang-out with some friends tonight. I'll just cure the prints with a flat iron in the morning.

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