T-shirt Designers Should Learn to Screen Print For Themselves

While there are a bevy of websites across the internet that make it easier for small T-shirt designers to bring their designs to market, often times they can’t accommodate some of the fashion trends most desired by contemporary designers. With the rise of trends like over-sized imprints and over-the-seams designs, t-shirt designers more and more find themselves at a disconnect with crowd-source t-shirt websites and most print-on-demand houses.

There are a few reason for the disconnect:
1. Many specialty imprints exceed the capabilities of most crowd-source websites.
2. Even if they can do the prints, unusual prints are more time-consuming and expensive to produce, meaning unless the design is a big hit, it doesn’t help the bottom line.
3. Most small T-shirt designers only consider what they’d like to design, and don’t give thought to the production process until long after the concept phase.

So what’s a designer to do when confronted with roadblocks put up by their once accessible outlets? When, contemporary problems don’t find comfort with contemporary solutions, go old school. In other words, it’s time to learn how to screen print and market for yourself.

At this point, a designer may be asking himself, “Why don’t I just hire a screen printing shop to make the shirts for me?” The answer is, that is a great solution, bearing in mind one thing, you’re going to need a pile of money to go that route. Screen print shops are geared for mass production, so they need to do either large runs, or charge sizable set-up fees to cover all the make-ready. Compound that with the massive size requirements for the equipment needed to do over-sized imprints in bulk, and you have an equation for high start-up hurdles. The only way an artist can afford to pay them is if he is sure his designs will be big sellers or he has very trusting investors.

Why does it make sense to screen print your designs for yourself when commercial screen printers don’t do short runs? There are two reasons: a large part of the expense of paying screen printers is that you are paying for shop time in a place that is not set-up for short runs, and it is cheaper and less space-intensive to set up your screen printing studio for doing prototypes. Instead of paying money for your market samples, you’ll pay in time –your time.

What does a designer need to go from zero to T-shirt design prototyping? For starters, a one-car garage, a few hundred dollars, access to a hardware store and a screen printing supply house, and some good learning materials with sound advice about guerrilla screen printing. After that, a designer simply needs time for developing a skill that most artists pick up fairly easily. Considering the alternatives, that short list is a pretty modest hurdle.

Even if you could find a screen printer to do short runs of your test designs at a low cost, there still is yet another reason for a T-shirt designer to learn screen printing. If you want to get serious about designing T-shirts, the experience of printing may lend you invaluable insights that most likely you couldn’t get otherwise. The simple fact is, whenever you design anything, you really do need insight into the production process if you want to excel in that field. How your designs will be produced should not be an afterthought, but instead, an intrinsic part of the design phase.

Gary Jurman is the president of diyTeeShirts.com,a website dedicated to helping artists learn to screen print. The site features how to screen print tutorials and supplies, including a crash course in screen printing, how to build a screen printing press, and a kit for hacking the Yudu.

3 Cameras – Mens
screen tshirt
Image by MNKR
Super soft tri-blend t-shirt from American Apparel. www.mnkr.com"


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If you’re looking for inexpensive promotion for your company, organization or event, try screen printing in Frisco TX. Screen printing T-shirts or other apparel with your slogan, team name or another saying is a form of advertising. Think about it- everyone who sees your employees, fans or associates in a screen printed T-shirt will probably remember the slogan or name printed on the T-shirt. That’s another potential fan or customer. Even if you’re not ordering apparel for promotion reasons, it can’t hurt to get people talking about your screen-printed clothing!

Screen printing, sometimes called silk screening, is a method of printing graphics on a T-shirt or another clothing item. Screen printing uses thicker inks than other types of apparel logo printing. The colors used in screen printing are more vivid and pleasing to the eye. Screen printing in Frisco TX is affordable, especially in large quantities.

During screen printing in Frisco TX a T-shirt thin mesh is stretched over a frame. The design negative is printed on the screen and then pressed on the shirt. Ink is rolled over the screen once it’s set properly. Screen printing works great with simple logo design; company and team names; light and dark T-shirts and text.

With today’s advances in technology, your team or company’s T-shirts, sweatshirts, canvas totes or other clothing can be ready for you in a few hours, a day or a few days, depending on the size of your order. Most graphic houses screen printing apparel has an online design process that enables customers to select lettering, design and type of apparel. Whether you’re ordering uniforms for a softball team or T-shirts for a rock band, an online design template makes design decisions easy and streamlines printing and ordering run smoothly. Some screen printing sites even have video tutorials to help customers master online designing. The T-shirt is left to dry after the ink sets.

Texas House of Graphics offers screen printing in Frisco TX for T-shirts and other types of apparel, including hats, sweatpants, aprons, scarves, sweatshirts, tote bags, jackets and other clothing. You can even bring a piece of clothing in to our Frisco location for screen printing. We even print custom socks for sports teams! Call us at 469-803-5278 for an estimate or use the form on our website. We also print vehicle wraps, banners, signs, custom accessories and decals. Our in-house graphic service can handle large orders as well as personalized gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions.

Texas House of Graphics offers screen printing in Frisco TX for T-shirts and uniforms at great prices and quick turnaround on all orders! Call 469-803-5278!

Thank You Everybody Party, 13 Nov 2009
screen tshirt
Image by hhjjj
13th Nov 2009
Party to celebrate rocket signup and to thank people who supported OSSI project.

For the party:

DJ Quandol
DJ Magazine King
DJ Udo
DJ Baya

Djing Equp.

Ronin / xxlstyle.com

Kim Donghee
Park Junyoung
Nam Geunwook


How To Build A Cheap T Shirt Screen Printing Press

Make a screen printing press to print t shirts for almost nothing. I built this one out of scrap wood and a few things from the hardware store. I do screen printing as a hobby, but you could easily start a small business printing custom t shirts for bands or teams or whatever. Or come up with fun designs and sell the t shirts online or at swap meets or whatever.
This homemade design can be easily modified. Change the size and shape of the shirt board to print long sleeves or sweatpants legs. You can probably even make something to print hats. This is a pretty easy DIY project.

p.s. You don’t need all the tools I used. You can do most of it with a regular handsaw. It will just take longer. I had the tools, so I used them.

Here are some free plans that have more detail:

Check out my screen printing tutorial here:

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