Screen printing t-shirts on just one side is pretty easy. I tell you how to do it in my pages here. But screen printing a t-shirt on both the front and the back requires a few more steps.
First I will print one side of the shirt. It doesn’t matter which side. Then I will lay the shirt out to let the ink dry completely. Later, maybe even the next day, I will print the shirt on the other side. It is probably possible to print both sides in short succession, but it would be hard to keep the wet ink from smearing, or coming off on other shirts. I suppose if you have a flash dryer, you could dry the ink enough so that it would be safe. But that’s more of a commercial type operation. Flash dryers are expensive. So print the once side, let dry, then print the other side. Let it dry.
Now that both sides are printed, you need to heat set the ink. I do my heat setting in the oven. When the ink gets hot, it gets soft, and can come off on other stuff. So what I do is lay a clean piece of paper over the dried design on one side. Usually the smaller printed part. Then I will fold the shirt and leave the other printed part face up, not touching anything. This way, if the hot soft ink transfers a little, it will only be to the piece of paper, not to another part of the shirt.
I wanted to screen print some custom sweatshirts for my dad and his wife. I wanted to make something that look professional, but unique, and personalized for them. They are both love playing golf, and that gave me an idea. I would make up a ficticious country club, and design a logo for it. I used the name of their street for the name of the ficticious country club: Firestone Court Country Club. Searching around on the internet, I found a simple shield graphic. I loaded that into Photoshop, and cleaned it up, erasing some of the stuff that was already there. I found some more graphics of golf balls, and golf clubs. I played with these and used the golf ball graphics. I inserted a big cursive F and C inside the sheild. I added the name of the fake country club. I also added the name of their city and state so that they would know that these were personalized for them, and not coincidentally named after their street. I debated about addind their names, but decided against it. But I still wanted to add something else for some humor. So I labelled his sweatshirt “Senior Golf Instructor” to poke a little fun about his age. I labelled her sweat shirt “General Manager” to show that she was the boss. The shirts were fun to make, and I think they really enjoyed them.
Occasionally we all make mistakes! And when you are printing a tee shirt or a sweatshirt, it kind of sucks to mess it up. T-shirts cost money! Sweatshirts cost money! If you are using water based ink and you goof, the shirts can probably be saved!
I was printing a couple one-off sweatshirts as gifts. These sweatshirts were thicker and software than I had printed before. And I was printing white on to a dark shirt which is hard enough. I had a hard time getting the design to be fully printed. The first time I tried, the logo was only partially printed on the shirt. So I carefully laid the screen back down on to the shirt and tried again. But now the design looked kind of blurred. I tried the other sweatshirt, and got the first design to print nice. But now I had a misprinted sweatshirt, and I still need to print another design onto a second shirt. I didn’t particularly want to go buy another one for $6 or $7 or $8 bucks, or whatever I paid. I wanted to try to save this one. The ink hadn’t been heat set yet. In fact, it hadn’t even dried yet.
So I quickly took the shirt down to my rinse tub where I have a hose attached, with a spray nozzle. I sprayed the not yet dried design with a strong jet of warm water. The design seemed to be washed away. I through the sweatshirt into the washing machine, and afterward the dryer. There was no sign of the misprinted design.
I took a couple more tried to get the design printed properlly on the sweatshirt. Fortunatly I didn’t have to go buy a new shirt.