When you are doing screen printing, you want to create perfect posters, canvasses, fabrics, artwork, and textiles, but this isn’t always possible as plenty of problems can come about during the process, and you come out short of the results you were expecting.
Thankfully, you can increase your chances of success by keeping a close eye on the common screen printing problems and avoiding them.
Wondering what these problems are? Here they are:
Fibrillation is when the fabric you are printing on looks frayed and raised. The fabric can also appear textured and make your print rough and unpleasant to look at.
Fibrillation often happens when you are printing on top of an extremely soft or lightly knitted fabric. This is not to say that all soft fabrics will give horrible prints. When done right, soft fabrics can produce stunning prints, but if you aren’t keen during the process, you get atrocious prints. If you aren’t keen as you are brushing the material to give it a softer touch, you raise the fibers hence the rough, ugly look.
Fibrillation will also come about when you overwork the ink when printing. As you are pulling the ink back and forth during the printing process, the fabric can get distressed, pulling the fibers up and away from the garment.
Although fibrillation is a common problem, you can prevent it from happening.
How do you do this?
If the soft material is getting textured, print on top of a tight-knit fabric.
If the fibrillation is due to overworking the paint, be conscious when pulling the ink and ensure you are exerting the right amount of pressure. You also should use as few strokes as possible to complete the print.
If you are using white ink on a dark-colored garment, flash cure the garment in-between prints to give the ink an extra layer of barrier before settling down. When you do this, you not only prevent your fabric from fraying, but you also prevent your white ink from looking grey.
Screen Getting Loose
Every time you pass a squeegee over the mesh, the screen should completely snap off the substrate leaving behind a clean and crisp print. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen especially when you are printing many garments at the same time.
The reason for this is because when you repeatedly use the screen, it gets loose, and the screen ripples across the substrate, smearing ink, blurring the edges, and shifting the substrate’s surface. In short, you have a shoddy print.
To prevent this, always confirm that the screen has proper tension before you start any printing. For perfect prints, the screen should have a tension ranging between 20 N/ (inch) 2 and 25 N/ (inch) 2.
Although you can get away with lower tensions when printing mono colors, ensure that the tension doesn’t go below 20 Ne N/ (inch) 2, as you will start having color bleeding issues.
Using The Wrong Ink
Using the wrong ink is common with fledglings, but even experienced printing professionals can use the wrong inks when they aren’t concentrating with the process. If you are new to screen printing, you should know that not all inks are the same.
For the best results, you should use plastisol ink. This ink is thick, opaque, and properly covers the entire garment. Avoid thin ink, as it will soak through and disappear through the garment.
Most ink companies claim their inks are print-ready, but this is not the case. Only a handful of the inks are print-ready, while the majority require you to thoroughly mix them and add additives before using them in your project.
The mixing and additive adding wastes your time and increases your chances of making mistakes. To avoid ink problems in the future, as you mix and add additives to these inks, don’t overdo it and thin them too much.
The Ink Quick Drying
Does the ink dry on the screen immediately after printing? This is known as quick drying, and it significantly affects print quality. Quick drying often happens when you add too much ink into the print medium but it will also happen when you leave the screen to dry between prints.
To fix this, take the screen to the washout booth, rinse it thoroughly, and then start over.
Stains On The Garments
The garments you are screen printing will have stains on them for plenty of reasons, such as: machine oil leaks during sewing, over inking, dirty hands, and many others. You can prevent the stains from coming about by:
- Ensuring your hands are clean all the time
- Using dry lubricants
- Keeping the working area clean
- Covering the screen printing materials when not in use
- Regularly wiping the machine and floor after oiling
Screen prints cracking
The screen prints should be sharp and flexible so you can have them on everyday wear such as t-shirts, hoodies and so on.
For a great look, you want your design to be clean and not cracked.
If you are constantly producing cracked prints, chances are you are curing them the wrong way. If you new to this, curing is the process by which the ink dries and sticks to the garment. To avoid cracking, cure the prints at 320 degrees Fahrenheit for one minute.
To learn more about curing and how to produce clean and crack-free designs, visit thrive screenprinting.
You are said to be having an image bleed when the excessive ink passes through the screen, and the image bleeds at the edges. Image bleeding often comes about due to using too much ink or misusing the squeegee.
To avoid bleeding, flood the screen with the right amount of ink, then use a well-edge squeegee to push/pull the ink through the screen. When pulling the ink, ensure the squeegee is at a 45-degree angle to the screen.
Avoid pulling the ink more than once, as you will put too much ink on the screen, resulting in bleeding.
In A Nutshell
Although screen printing is easy, it requires high skill and heedfulness to prevent the problems from coming about. When doing the printing, be cautious of every step and you will come out with clear and smooth screen prints you will be proud of.