7 Common Mistakes Beginner Screen Printers Make

by Wendy Croxford

in Permaset Blog

1 May 2019  | 0 Comments

Screen printing with Leapfrog Inkspot in Brookvale, NSW, Australia

Like any skill or trade, screen printing or textile printing requires practice and dedication to master. Along the road to mastering screen printing you’re bound to bump into a few blunders, some minor and others more costly. If you can avoid these blunders however, you could not only spare yourself from some messy situations, but also save on time, materials and costs. So why not get to know these common mistakes so as to avoid them, and get a great head start on screen fabric printing?

Common Mistake No.1: Starting without preparing.

Preparation is key to establishing a solid printing business, as well as in the actual process of screen printing itself. You need to know exactly what you’re getting into before you get into it: what equipment and materials you’ll need, how much you will have to spend, who your customers are, and of course, the basics of screen printing.

Common Mistake No.2: Using the same screen mesh for all jobs.

One of the most basic yet important things you need to learn is what size screen mesh to use for every printing job. A lot of printers rely on their suppliers to recommend the right screen mesh count, and this will often end up with printers having 110 and 125 mesh counts. These are fine with most printing tasks, but definitely not for all. Once you’ve got halftones and high-end printing to do, you’ll need to switch to higher mesh counts.

Common Mistake No.3: Not test printing.

Even the most seasoned printers can fall victim to this blunder, and it can be a costly one. It may seem like an extra step, but it can really save you from wasting time, energy and materials. Always do a test print even if you’ve been printing for some time now, especially if you’re doing something new or something you haven’t done in a while.

Common Mistake No.4: Using too much ink.

It may take a few attempts to work out the correct amount of ink to use every time, but for beginners you really don’t need a whole lot of ink. A few spoonfuls should be enough; anything beyond that and you’ll have a difficult time managing the ink. You do however need to remember when printing with water-based inks to keep the screen flooded so it doesn’t dry out between prints – so please keep this in mind.

Common Mistake No.5: Pressing on the squeegee too hard.

You need a firm grip on the squeegee to get a good coat of ink, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your weight into it. Pushing too hard can cause ghosting or smearing, and you definitely don’t want that.

Common Mistake No.6: Not flooding the screen in between prints.

When using water-based ink for screen printing you must run some water through your screens in between prints and after printing, otherwise the ink will dry up on your screen. Having a spray bottle of water handy and misting now and then during a print run is also a good idea to keep screens moist and inks liquid.

Common Mistake No. 7: Not flash drying after laying down white ink.

When it comes to water-based inks you should also flash dry after laying down a white base and before your print other colours. This will result in more vibrant colours and a better quality print.

 

Flashing with Steve Woods at Screenhaus in Sydney

Make your first foray into screen printing a good one by avoiding these common rookie mistakes. And for more information on water-based inks, make sure to check out our other informative articles from our Permaset Blog.

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