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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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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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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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