So, you might wonder why I use vinyl over screen printing despite all the benefits associated with the latter. I will tell you why.
Ever had a t-shirt printed and after washing it several times noticed peelings, fading or cracking all over it? This is another annoying issue with screen printing when the garment is not used appropriately. Of course, the graphic should last the garment’s life but that is if you wash it inside out with cold water each time. But, who remembers to do that?
I suggest you use only Hi Preformance vinyls. Avery’s A 7–A9 are only 2 mil thick, have a aggressive glue & are rated very conformable. if you need stiffer (2.5 –3mil) use the A 4 up to A 6 series. all manufactures have their own version of Hi Perf. most any independant Sign shop will sell paper transfer tape and enough vinyl to play with, by the piece. I do for walk ins. NOTE: I seldom use the clear transfer tape. Luck to all, Mr Steve
The best thing about vinyl printing is that the design will not fade or crack. In fact, I have a t-shirt that I always use as a sample when folks ask how my vinyl printing washes. When I got it, the t-shirt had a screen-printed design on the front that said “I Love Tennessee” on the front. I, then, decided to vinyl-print it on the back, with the words “I Love Alaska”, all before ever washing it.
It’s important to create a barrier between the hot iron and the vinyl itself; in one of my tests, I allowed the vinyl to get too close to the heat, and it puckered a little bit like if you were to touch flame to a piece of plastic. The best reviews I read recommended using sheets of plain printer paper in between the iron and the vinyl (five sheets thick worked well), and to that point, I found that the paper was transparent enough that you could start with a single sheet over the graphic (just to see through and ensure that none of your details were shifting around). Once I could tell that the graphics were held in position under one sheet of paper, I was gave the paper a quick tap with the tip of the iron (no steam!) to begin to bond the vinyl, and then laid the other 4 pieces of paper on top before ironing over it for 15 seconds to affix it completely.
If you’re like me, and working on fabric, choose your preferred colors of iron-on vinyl. I’ve heard good things about the Cricut product, but like I mentioned already, there are less expensive options for vinyl products too, especially if all you’re doing is free-handing your design and not needing to run it through a cutting machine. I’ll tell you right now that I really did like the finished quality of this product, the ironed graphics were really soft, flexible, and the material was easy to work with. If you’re planning to apply the vinyl graphic to something other than fabric, you’ll want to look into the other products available (like the traditional or premium vinyl for temporary applications, or for things like customized hanging signs).
If you’re looking to print that photograph of the Penguins of Madagascar on your shirt, screen printing is the method that will do it for you. this method gives you access to a much high level of color and detail, making printing of photographs possible. As a matter of fact, complex designs come through effortlessly and definitely beautifully. Furthermore, screen printing gives you access to a full range of colors; you can mix whatever shades you prefer.
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I have used that vinyl method as a stencil to lay down drawing fluid instead of free-handing the design, then proceeded normally with the rest of the drawing fluid method to produce a robust washable screen that can be stored for months, and used repeatedly on demand. I just use Speedball’s drawing fluid & screen filler.
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Under appropriate use, both methods should produce results that last for years. Here’s a look into the lifespans of the two methods and how to maximize it.
There will be a shiny side, and a matte side to the vinyl when you unroll it. The matte side is what’s going to press against your fabric when you position it for ironing; the shiny side will actually peel away, leaving you with a permanent, matte graphic.
For more complex designs, I found that drawing on the shiny side of the paper with a non-permanent marker was effective at helping guide my design. (Don’t draw on the matte side, because that will be stuck behind the graphic when you iron it on, and you’ll be really sad if black marker is showing through the permanent decal!) For straight lines, I relied on a straight edge to help with cuts.
Vinyl printing is all about heat transfer. You use a machine to cut out letters and designs from colored vinyl and heat-press them onto the t-shirt to transfer the color to it. Vinyl printing depends on a combination of pressure and heat.
Iv not had trouble with color bleed yet, but iv been printing onto aluminum enclosures in batches of 5-10.regards low tack transfer tape, I find the old school paper based stuff is a lot better then the clear for this process. really nice results TinkeringProductions !
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With this method, I can help my customers with small jobs of even 2 or 3 items. That way, I’m able to keep my costs low and my customers happy.
Vinyl printing is suitable for very small runs of up to 16 t-shirts. That’s due to the fact that the set-up time is little relative to that of screen printing. However, this method is much slower than screen printing as each t-shirt needs its own set up. This, therefore, makes it too time consuming and cost ineffective beyond the 16-t-shirt mark.
Before I reveal to you my reasons for choosing vinyl over screen printing, let’s first have a quick comparison of the two.
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Vinyl printing is best suited for simple graphics. If you’re looking to create basic shapes or text-based designs, this is the method to use. Need to print jersey numbers for your high school soccer team? Excellent! Want a sleek photograph of the Penguins of Madagascar on your t-shirt? This method just won’t cut it. With vinyl printing, there’s no way you can come up with true gradients (blending of colors); fine details will easily get lost.
Hello Keith, Unfortunately not all vinyl is equal when it come to adhesion, could be worth trying another brand.
I use this technique but have trouble with the transfer to the screen because I do not have a low tack transfer tape. Here is a picture of the results I have had. I find that the sticker is only good for about 5 prints before I start to get color bleed under the edges. So like the author says good for small runs.
Five pieces of paper fully covering the graphic was enough to disperse the heat and bond the vinyl to the fabric. One tip – check it after every 10 seconds or so, because iron settings can vary and if you leave it on too long you risk the vinyl over-melting. When it overheats, not only could it pucker, but it can also bleed outside the edges of your intended design! A very big problem if you’re looking to have crisp lines.
So I have been screen printing for a year now and I have been using this method for about 5 months, but the bad thing I noticed is that the stencial peels off after three days and i want to keep reusing it for my logos but I’m always needing to make new screens and with the paint mixing with the glue from the vinyl it’s not a good idea to re use with all the glue gunk in the screen holes… even the pressure washer can’t remove that gunk… so I’m going to use 90m super adheasive spray to try and stick the vinyl better to the screen to hold it on permanent. .. has any one else experience this? And had to find a solution ?
In this method, you need actual screens. Essentially, what you have to do is cut them to make templates for the designs. You then spread ink over each screen (only one ink color per screen) and let it pass through to the garment underneath; you will need several screens to come up with the final product.
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I would love to see a photo of something that’s been screen printed this way. This technique looks very nice, but I’m always curious what the finished product looks like!
This is an interesting option, and I would imagine that it is easy to get consistent results this way. It could actually be a little more durable than the emulsion method, those screens don’t last forever either.I have done several small-run T-shirts and I wonder if you have tried any registered (multi-color) designs? I’ve only done one-color so far, looking to branch out.
When you’re ready to iron it onto your shirt, center and lay the vinyl shiny side up.
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i run a sign shop graphica sign studios. avery isnt good for high performance vinyl. i use arlon instead you get a better result
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I screen print as a side business and I sometimes use vinyl for short runs of lettering. You want to put the vinyl on the side of the screen that touches the shirt, not the side that you use the squeegee on. You run the risk of the squeegee getting caught on a piece of vinyl and pulling it from the screen ruining your image. When the vinyl is on the shirt side, it will act as a gasket leaving an ink deposit the height of the vinyl. I’m not saying the way it’s done in the ‘ible is wrong. I’m just saying that you will be able to produce more shirts with less of a risk of ruining your vinyl stencil.
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Now, let’s take a look at the differences between screen and vinyl printing when customizing a t-shirt. Remember, both will deliver quality, long lasting results if the garment is used correctly.
My MOQ (acronym for minimum order quality) for screen printing is 25 t-shirts. Setting up screen printing takes much longer compared to vinyl printing but as soon as the set-up in done, the printing process is swift. The high speed is because nothing needs to change from t-shirt to t-shirt, provided the designs remain the same. Screen printing is the right method if you’re looking to work on large orders.
In this instructable Im going to show you how to screen print without the expensive, time consuming, dark room needing, messy photo emulsion! So here is what you need.1: A vector image to screen print.2: A blank screen3: A sign squeegee, or credit card.4: A vinyl decal or access to a vinyl cutter. 5: Masking/transfer tape.
If you dont have a vinyl cutter (odd are you dont) this is still a useful technique as most high-street Printers/sign-makers/universities will have one, and more importantly if you proved them with the image will make you a decal up for very little as it will probably fit onto a scrap of sign vinyl…. but what ever they charge it will be considerably less then getting a screen made up! 1: Find the image you want to screen print, and if necessary convert to a vector image. (It will need to be vector due to the vinyl cutting stage only working with vectored images.)2: Cut the image, or get it cut for you! (its very important that you ask for it to be a negative of the image, or if your weeding the vinyl yourself you need to weed the line-work from the vinyl)
Of course, there are numerous advantages of screen printing. Most importantly, it helps you complete the job much faster and with less toil. With vinyl printing, you have to cut each design from a vinyl roll and then weed out the unwanted parts, such as the inside of most letters including a, b, d, e and g. Moreover, you have to repeat the process for every color of the design for every shirt.
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If you want to produce letters without completely free-handing them, print your letters in black ink on a piece of standard printer paper, and layer it with the vinyl material against a window for the classic letter tracing technique.
Now you have your vinyl decal stuck down to the screen you just need to mask off the rest of the screen and your ready to go! you can easy remove the vinyl with a little white spirit, and reuse the screen with a new design……..this makes it a lot cleaner and more practical for small print runs.Why not use glow in the dark paint, so i qualify to enter in the Make It Glow contest! 😉 Now I will take this chance to preempt a couple of question, but if iv missed something just ask below. Q: Wont the squeegee jut rip up the vinyl A: No, well its not done that to any of my ones, the lubrication of the paint, and the industrial adhesive quality of sign vinyl stop this from happening. (if you were doing heavy detailed work you could always flip the image and stick it to the underside of the screen)Q: I dont have spare £200+ for a vinyl cutter, just to screen pint 10 T-shrits! A: Any sign printers should do you a vinyl decal for less the the price of a blank Tshirt! (compare that to the price of getting a photo emulsion screen made up!)Q: Is it true you have many leather-bound books and your apartment smells of rich mahogany? A: Yes.
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Thanks for the tip, I did try it that way, but got a bit of bleed. But that was when I was using the cheap vinyl, so will defiantly give it a go now I got sign vinyl.
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With the top layer of plastic lifted, the shirt is immediately ready for wear! This is so exciting, guys. The patterns I chose to do include the above leaf and a lady bug (both Charley Harper inspired, even though the lady bug also looks a little like a robot, oops), and initial tank tops for both of my daughters. The possibilities are endless! Perfect way to dress up or customize shirts for the kids or events.
The graphics produced through screen printing should last for the t-shirt’s life under normal, proper use. To make the graphic last the garment’s life, be sure to wash the garment inside out, with cold water only.
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Step 1: Select Your Vinyl Step 2: Cut Shapes Step 3: How to Cut Letters Step 4: Position Vinyl Step 5: Overlay Paper on Graphic Step 6: Apply Iron to Graphic Step 7: Remove the Plastic Layer Step 8: Ready to Wear
I have cut a text mask using my Cameo 3.0, weeded it to remove lettering leaving the background, added transfer tape . . . So far so good but I can’t get the vinyl to adhere to the screen so when pulling off the transfer tape, the whole thing comes off, anyone got any idea of what am I doing wrong please?
Why not spray adhesive after the sticker wears down? You let it sit and dry for a little time before you put adhesive on the shirt and that way the glue doesn’t stay on the shirt. Do they have vinyl printers at Kinko’s or someplace like that?
Under normal use, the design should last more than five years. I recommend following these care guidelines to maximize the lifespan:
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There’s been a lot of debate on which one is better between vinyl printing and screen printing for t-shirts. Although both methods offer high-quality, lasting results, I use vinyl printing and with this article, I will tell you why.
if some one needs a design cut on a vinyl cutter let me know i will make and ship the decal 4 some mula 🙂 , send me a email, thanks this is a decal i made for a t shirt
First, screen printing is not cost effective or even quick enough for small jobs. A new screen has to be cut for every design. Actually, screen printing is suitable only when we’re talking of a minimum of around 100 t-shirts. Now that I don’t normally print such a huge number of garments, I always go for vinyl printing.
Once you have you vinyl decal sticker, your ready to apply it to your screen. Your decal will have a wax paper backing sheet and a transfer tape front, you need to peel off the wax backing sheet to expose the sticky vinyl. Place the decal sticky side down on the screen and rub it all over with a credit card or sign squeegee.Now peel off the layer of transfer tape to expose the no sticky side of your vinyl decal.
Your choice of a printing method depends on the size of your orders and the complication of the designs you’re looking to create. If you’re hoping to do just a few orders with simple designs, I recommend going for vinyl printing but if you’re looking to do many orders (over 100) with complex picture designs and fonts, it’d be better to use screen printing.
One easy way to tell if your iron-on transfer is bonded is to check a corner of the graphic, to see if you can easily peel up the clear plastic glossy layer. If the colored vinyl lifts, you’ll need to apply heat for another few seconds, but if it lifts easily like this, feel free to remove it completely.
After owning the t-shirt for around 4 years now, and cleaning it for more times than I cared to count, the front printing is faded. In fact, it is now virtually freckled with the original color of the t-shirt showing through. On the other hand, the back has remained as I printed it.
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As a sign maker since ’92. I catell you the easy way to release Hi or Lo tack transfer paper is simple ,just ! wet it it is a latax glue, so water soulable.:-) Steve
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For larger graphics, I found it helpful to bond the fabric and graphic in stages, and not try and do it all with one swoop of the iron.
Quite honestly, going old school and cutting your own vinyl graphics is wonderful because you can scale and design them however you want. My design for this shirt was inspired by one of my favorite artists (Cheers to Charley Harper).
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Do you have a pic of something you inked that shows your handiwork? I would love to see a shirt or paper showing your screening.
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dear if you have vinyl decal cut on ploter then you dont need it to screen print it anymore.you can directly stick the decal on copper clad.remove the unwanted portion and etch it in fe3cl.you will get nice pcb or any image .
If you’re to do orders of more than 100 t-shirts, it would be better to get a good machine with 2 heat presses in 1 and lasers to help accomplish the task quickly.
Do not dry clean the garment. Rather, machine-wash it warm, with mild detergent.Dry the t-shirt at normal setting.Do not use chlorine bleach on the garment.Wait for at least a day (24 hours) before the first wash after printing.
Wished you had showed this few months ago, will give it go soon. Well explained imstructable. Keep Sharing 🙂