Arron Harnden

Ethical T-Shirt printing

Why Shirtworks has chosen to offer an organic option and be the only Soil Association accredited screen-printing and embroidery company in the World.

It is an uncomfortable truth that the Earth has finite resources. The majority of us will press on with our complicated lives without the energy or will to confront this as a problem which we must all embrace at some time. If it is not going to be us, it will be our children or grandchildren.

These are words hang heavy as a cliche but the truth is inescapable. At some point in the 21st century we will be facing shortages of natural fuels, clean drinking water and fertile land which will propel us into new conflicts for scarcer and scarcer resources.

History is replete with such examples of nations competing for land, food, women and dominance; we have examples of ancient civilizations and cultures fracturing and decaying as the resources and the environment which sustained them become exhausted. So the problem is not a new one, but the difference between a Mayan culture disintegrating 2000 years ago and what might happen in the 21st century is that the world is now a much smaller place. We cannot simply move on to pastures new as the global population speeds inexorably to cover the entire globe consuming more and more and more.

So what can you or we do? Well, we can only do our little bit in our little sector to help. This begins with us understanding the problem and then having the will to act, read below to begin your journey.

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You are what you wear

Hiya, Luke here.

I am the Senior Sales Manager at Shirtworks and my blogs are all going to be about 'product'.

I will be focusing on seasonally relevant garments to bring them into focus and help you decide what would be the most suitable option for you.

In this blog, I will attempt to make a connection between the styles of winter jackets available through Shirtworks and how they may or may not match your 'brands' image.

For clarity, I am going to create a few segment profiles and show some of the styles available that fit the brand context of those segments.

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Arron Harnden
Ray Mears knows his stuff and his buns are big.Some people like big buns over tight ones.
Friday, 19 October 2012 14:17
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Arron Harnden

Discharge screen printing

Dis-charge printing is one of those things that some customers love while most printers will experience a cold shiver when the prospect of actually having to do some actually comes their way.

Screen printers and customers are often looking for strong vibrant colours on their dark coloured T shirts which plastisol deliver with such ease but at a cost. The print can feel heavy and rough as the heavy deposit required leaves its weighty impression.

The best way to describe the effect that discharge printing can give is just to describe the weight and softness that it offers when having to print light inks onto dark shirts.

Discharge inks managed to win for lightness and softness against plastisol inks for one simple reason. THERE IS LESS INK ACTUALLY GOING DOWN ONTO THE SHIRT.

This makes it lighter and softer to the touch compared to a heavy plastisol deposit that is often required on a dark shirt to achieve the required opacity on the ink.

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What is 'good artwork'??

Hi, I'm Matt Spooner and this is my first ever blog!! Please be kind :)

Back in the day, before we even had computers, all artwork had to be produced as a hard copy, photographed on a massive bellows camera, and the developed onto acetate. it was a stinky archaic process which thankfully gave way to the digital process we know today, but many of the principles of yesteryear still apply.

I use a nifty little acronym to help explain to newbies what constitutes good artwork for screen printing. These points not only cover the rules on how artwork should be created but also some of the principles for output onto film for burning screens.

PARSOLS

It stands for;

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Arron Harnden
great work matt. That PARSOLS stuff is genius. Can i have my secret prize x
Saturday, 06 October 2012 07:47
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Arron Harnden

What should I look for in a good screen printer?

Yeah, good question. luckily, I have the answer.

That old chestnut that 'you pay for what you get' is quite true in the t shirt printing industry as with many other industries.

The current trend with many t shirt printers is to provide the viewer with online pricing in the belief that this will mean that they do not need to employ sales staff to handle price enquiries. This is fine until you have a complicated requirement and need to speak to someone to get some advice. With less sales staff to help you, they can usually offer you better prices but this is often a false economy if you then fail to get what you had envisaged, miss your deadline and wish you had actually been able to chat to someone. So advice number 1...........

LOOK OUT FOR A COMPANY WHO WILL GIVE YOU AN ACCOUNT MANAGER.

Not all printing is the same. Just as there are good and bad in everything, this is true with screen printers. So how do you tell? Advice number 2.........

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Arron Harnden

Cotton or polyester?

polyester v cotton

Hmmmm, polyester. That 'oh so' smooooth feel against your skin, the slight static electricity that you experience as you pull it over your head, the retro '70's' connotations. Doesn't sound that appealing does it? Wait a minute!!! The world is changing, and as we all become more health conscious we are looking for better products that perform when we turn into that sweaty, gasping, and hunched over example of someone who has just overdone it.

Polyester has returned like we knew it always would but it has been sexed up!

Restyled for the 'naughties' generation, it offers natural 'wicking' properties to move perspiration away from the body and has natural 'antiseptic' qualities which mean you can stuff it into your sports bag after a workout and not worry that it will grow its own arms and legs from the bacteria you have just soaked it in.

The Army have know about polyester for years and kit their infantrymen out with close fitting base layers to protect against the cold while offering that 'quick drying' capability which is essential if you are working hard outdoors.

The great news is that there is now an enormous range of polyester garments ready to go for screen printing and embroidery.

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Plastisol or waterbased ink???

Your average customer will have no idea that there exists a choice of finish for your artwork when being screen printed onto a T shirt.

There are a number of special effects such as glitter, puff additives, mock suede etc.... but the basic consideration is whether to go for plastisol or water based.

Now, plastisol is made of a PVC resin which is oil based and when screen printed onto cotton T shirts, gives a vibrant, colourful result which is extremely durable and the most popular ink system for printers and customers alike.

The downside of plastisol is that it can have a 'heavier' feel than water based inks, however, this is required to obtain the vibrancy which is often a requirement for the customer.

Water based inks offer a much softer feel but on dark shirts will lack the brightness that plastisols will give.

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Arron Harnden

How we make a screen for screen printing

This is the first video, in a series, showing you how we produce professionally screen printed t-shirts. In this video we show you how to make a screen that we use for t-shirt printing.

Transcript

Hi, my name is Arron and this is a Shirtworks presentation and I'm going to show you how to make a screen. You need 3 things to burn a screen: you need an ultra-violet source; you need your artwork printed on either acetate or velum; and you need your screen which is coated in a light sensitive emulsion. Basically we're going to position our artwork on the emulsion between the light source and the screen. The principal is very simple, it's a photochemical reaction: where the ultra violet light is able to hit the screen, that area becomes hardened; and where the artwork blocks the light from hitting the screen, that area remains water soluble and we can just wash that out using a garden hose or a pressure hose. So, here we go.... artwork on the light box, screen on top of the artwork. You clamp it all down into position with a vacuum seal to make sure no light can creep around the artwork. Once we're happy everything is securely into place we hit the exposure. The ultra violet light will now start to expose the emulsion. If I'm trying to create a screen with really fine detail then I'll choose an exposure time of about a minute. If I'm going for a really hardened screen that doesn't require a lot of detail then I would go for a longer exposure somewhere in the 3 minute range. That basically is exposing the screen and in a minute I'll show you how I wash the screen out. OK, that screen has been washed out now and you can see the light area is where the artwork blocked the ultra violet light from hitting the emulsion and that area remained water soluble. What we have now is a screen ready to go for t-shirt printing. This has been a Shirtworks presentation, my name is Arron Harnden. Thanks for watching.

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