You’re excited when you get home from a trade show. A few days later you unpack your brand new direct-to-garment printer and get started. But sometimes you can’t quite achieve the same print quality you saw at the show. Your vendor didn’t trick you with smoke and mirrors, but there are a few things you need to know and do to achieve that same image quality. Continue reading
I talked with a screen printer recently who was telling me about his on-the-side business of running karaoke in bars. Then the conversation turned (as always) to selling T-shirts. He told me about selling shirts at the bars where he MCs these karaoke events. I asked if he sold shirts directly to the actual karaoke crowd, but he explained that instead he sells T-shirts to the bar owners while he’s there setting up his equipment.
So what’s the big deal about having screens with proper tension? There are two issues that may occur when you use screens with too soft mesh. These are (1) fabric wave, and (2) mesh release. Continue reading
If you’ve ever screen printed a blended fabric such as 50% cotton/50% polyester garment and all the way up to 100% polyester, you likely have experienced dye migration. In simple terms, dye migration means the white ink printed on a red t-shirt turns pink inside your conveyor dryer.
Your first option to attack this discoloration problem is to use a High Opaque/Low Bleed ink. This ink will help to block the dyes from reaching the ink surface. Notice I said Low Bleed? That’s because there’s no such thing as a No Bleed ink. Other factors will impact the amount of dye migration as well. Continue reading
I was recently presenting a 3-hour entry level screen printing seminar at a trade show. Before beginning, attendees from two separate companies talked to me saying they had many years of experience but were looking for tips and tricks to improve their operations. One company stayed and one left based on my response.
When I began talking about pinhole issues, the company that stayed sat smiling and nodding to one another knowingly. Surprisingly, the second company spoke to me afterwards and said, “We’re just really looking to find a way to rid ourselves of pinholes.” It seems the two companies who showed up with many years in the screen printing trenches were both having the exact same problem in their shops. Continue reading
All direct-to-garment printers use a water base ink system and special treatment is required when printing dark shirts. The rule is: When you print white ink, you must pretreat the shirt first. Without pretreat solution on the shirt, the white and color inks will simply disappear into the fabric after printing. Continue reading
So what does it take to be successful in the direct-to-garment business? First, become proficient at the machine. That will take some time as with any new equipment or technology. Second, prepare high resolution graphics. Direct-to-garment printers reproduce exactly what you send them, either perfect reproduction of a beautiful file, or perfect reproduction of a poor pixilated image. Third, go out and market your product to the buying public. Customers for this type of high resolution, short run garments are everywhere!
A tremendous way to get free advertising is from the press release. Take a look at your local newspaper and see all the information about grand openings, new sales reps, etc. These are all press releases, written by the same companies being talked about in the articles. It’s the same with the news items in your local business magazine… all press releases written and submitted by the companies being featured.
The printer of choice today for outputting film positives is an Epson small format device such as the 1430. The only drawback is the standard 18ml cartridge. Refillable cartridges are the best option to save substantial dollars on ink.
Six Color Manual Press – With a six color machine you can print most anything.
Conveyor Dryer – Required for any real production, and air flow is a plus.