Now you should be ready to print your t-shirts. I am going to discuss printing without a press, and then with a press. I recommend that if you are going to print more than a handful of t-shirts at a time, you either buy a press, or build one. Printing light colors on a dark shirt is more difficult than printing dark colors on a light shirt. If you are printing light colors on a dark shirt, you would benefit from using a press. With a press, if you print the shirt and don’t get the ink
coverage you want, you can drop the screen, and do another stroke. Without a press, it is very hard to put the screen back down on the shirt in the exact same position. Check out my plans to build your own screen printing press.

Preparing The Screen For Printing
Since the photo emulsion doesn’t go all the way from edge to edge, you want to use masking tape around the sides to prevent ink from getting on your shirt, where you don’t want it. The tape needs to extend from the area where the screen is covered with elmusion, all the way to the wood. Don’t be afraid to use too much tape at first. Tape all four sides.
Later, you will learn where you must tape, and where you can get away with not taping. Now hold the screen up to a light. Look for small pinholes allowing light through. These need to be covered. You can take a small piece of masking tape, and cover each of the holes. If there are
a lot of these pinholes, probably one or more things earlier in the process went wrong: you didn’t degrease the screen before coating it; you didn’t coat the screen evenly; you had particles of some sort on the screen, positive, or glass; you slightly underexposed the screen; you sprayed out the screen with too much pressure; or you used too warm of water when spraying screen. These are the most likely candidates for pinholes.

Without A Press.
Put a board with a smooth surface inside the shirt you want to print. This will give you a firm surface to print onto. Make sure the area you want to print to, is fully on the board. Lay the screen onto the shirt, with the design on the screen matching up with where, and how you want it positioned on the shirt. Put a thick line of ink on the screen along the edge closest to you, but not on the design itself.



Lift the edge of the screen closest to you off the shirt by an inch or two. Now holding the squeegee make a light stroke pushing the ink across the screen towards the other end of the screen. This is called the flood stroke. You should now have a layer of ink covering the design.



Now lay the screen down onto the shirt. You might find it helpful to have another person hold the screen down onto the shirt so that it doesn’t move, but I have not found this necessary. Holding the squeegee with both hands tilted at a 45 degree angle towards you, push down with moderate force (this can really only truly be learned by experience, and practice),
pull the squeegee back to the side of the screen closest to you.



Now carefully lift the screen off of the shirt. Set the screen aside for the moment. Your design should now be printed on the shirt. The ink is still wet at this point, so be careful not to touch it. Also check your hands to make sure you don’t have any ink on them, if you do wash them in warm water before you handle the shirt. With care, pull the board from out of the shirt, and lay the shirt aside (ink side up) for the ink to dry. You can now repeat this process to print another shirt.

If the design didn’t print completely, or unevenly, it is difficult to go back and fix it with a handheld screen. Try another shirt. You may need to use more pressure, or less pressure, hold the squeegee more evenly, hold the squeegee at a consistent angle throughout the print
stroke.
I used one of the first shirts I printed, and goofed up, for trial and practice.

With A Press
Spray some spray adhesive on the shirt board. Generally the cheapest stuff you can find will work. You want to spray enough to keep the shirt from moving around, but not enough for it to permanently get stuck to the board. Slide the shirt onto the shirt board, centering the shirt. I do this by judging that the neck hole seems to be centered, and the shoulder seams seem to be even on each side. Check that the grain of the cloth is going in a straight line, and not at an angle. If the shirt is not straight, peel it of the shirt board, and move it around until it is straight, or you will have your design printed crooked.
Mount the screen in the clamps, adjusting it so that the design lines up
where and how you want it printed on the shirt. Drop the screen to the shirt to verify position.



Put a thick line of ink on the screen along the edge closest to you, but not on the design itself.



Lift the edge of the screen closest to you off the shirt by an inch or two. Now holding the squeegee make a light stroke pushing the ink across the screen towards the other end of the
screen. This is called the flood stroke. You should now have a layer of ink covering the design. Now lay the screen down onto the shirt.



Holding the squeegee (preferably with both hands) tilted at a 45 degree angle towards you, push down with moderate force (this can really only truly be learned by experience, and practice), pull the squeegee back to the side of the screen closest to you. Now carefully lift the screen off of the shirt.



Put the screen into the up position. Your design should now be printed on the shirt.
With a press, if the design did not get fully printed on the shirt, drop the screen, make another flood stroke, another print stroke, but this time use more of less pressure.
The ink is still wet at this point, so be careful not to touch it. Also check your hands to make sure you don’t have any ink on them, if you do wash them in warm water before you handle the shirt. Carefully pull the shirt off from the shirt board, and lay the shirt aside (ink side up) for the ink to dry. You can now repeat this process to print another shirt.



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