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screenprinting

Post image for How To Professionally Prep Your Files for Screen Printing

Matt from Seventh.Ink has written a great guest post over for the Real Thread Printing Co. explaining how people can best prep their artwork before sending it off to the printers, making the whole process easier for everyone involved.

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Sleepy Dan : Vinyl Thoughts Event Shirt Printing

by Sleepy Dan on March 19, 2012

An inspiring night requires an inspiring shirt design… The theme of this year’s Vinyl Thoughts event was Next Level. A retro video game tribute, so I had to create a shirt using one of my favorite games growing up, the classic Donkey Kong! With the help of Alexa Machine this shirt printing went perfect.

To line up a four color print on the press, you gotta tape one of the films to the pallet in the same spot you want all the prints. So you can line up all the screens in the press to that film, this is the basic registration of the print.

You will be able to see the film thru the negative space of the emulsified screen, and just gotta line them up perfectly and tighten the screws on the press…

Once all four screens are taped off on the back and loaded with the correct ink color, the printing begins!

This four station, six color manual press is perfect for two people to print at once. Just gotta print the colors in the correct order and communicate so no mistakes are made. Check out the final color printing

Then you get perfect prints like this! I wanted to design something with huge letters, so the levels of the Donkey Kong board were a perfect large surface area.

Hot off the press, I picked up the shirts and rushed over to the event where all the shirts sold out that night! I am reprinting some more shirts now, so they will be available on my Sleepy Dan web shop this week.

The two color back design showed off all the sponsors for this year’s event. The show was packed all night and has become such a hit for the up and coming Dallas vinyl arts culture.

I’m so proud to be part of this event and becoming a contributing vinyl designer. If you check out pics of the event and custom vinyls, I created a tribute to Mike Tyson’s Punch Out by creating two vinyl characters Bald Bull and King Hippo!

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Sleepy Dan : Customized Hood Sweatie

by Sleepy Dan on January 29, 2012

Sleepy Dan hood sweaties released in December, I had to release one cut n sew project for the first year so you can be sure there will be some more customized designs for the upcoming years! I can not emphasize enough, process is the most important part of any project. The rugby style hoodie is a design just recently hitting trend so I had to make some comfortable enough to bear the Sleepy Dan brand! In my day job as an apparel designer, I have learned how to work with embroidery shops to create apparel patterns, but sometimes several of the finishing steps have to be done on your own to save on cost. That’s how I was able to make these hoodies so affordable.

Coming from the manufacturer, I had to make some custom modifications past adding the logo embroidery appliques and the new custom neck labels for outerwear… This hoodie has several exposed cover stitch seams, so you can easily see it’s custom made, but the excess seam fabric had to be trimmed up a little more to be finished.

After finishing, the logo embroidery appliques are hand stitched to the garment, then the size labels are machine stitched into the neck seam. What makes this hoodie so special is the herringbone cotton twill neck seam, rugby placket, and hood seam edge. The time invested to this project is longer than a t-shirt design, but the fan and blogger reviews of the hood sweatie are amazing for the first cut n sew design. Research and development are a key role in the process of a successful project, so don’t overlook your process at any stage! Hope you got one before they sold out…

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Sleepy Dan: Creation of the Pillow Monster

by Sleepy Dan on December 16, 2011

After the inauguration of the Pillow Monster character at Artopia for the t shirt battle with Fur Face Boy, the design has been getting great reviews. Dallas Observer sponsors this annual event as their birthday party and I was proud to have their help bringing the Pillow Monster Lightning Strike design to life in the true nature of Frankenstein! So continuing with the success of this behind the design column, I decided to share the whole design process for this new character. The Pillow Monster will be involved in another design this coming year, so I am going to show how the idea began from concept, then sketching, then inking the layout, then vector the art for production of the printing.

The first step of the process is creating the concept. The Sleepy Dan branding has been so much fun to design for because there is a wide range of possible ideas that fall in line with the sleep theme. The Alarm Clock character was the beginning of the character side of the branding, reminding fans of our youthful side that used to be afraid of the dark and the possibility of things coming to life when you are unable to see them… Remember the clown doll from Poltergeist under the bed? Thanks, now I can’t even look at clowns any more!

Illustrating a complete character design for the brand, is a more complex project than people realize. But it’s the passion for the brand that keeps me going! Pencil sketching the concept takes several attempts to get the look right. Keeping in mind that the design needs to have more of a vertical layout to take advantage of the printable surface area of the shirt.

Making friends in the arts community is easy when you are giving back at the same time. Having friends with ill skills like Rico Ultraelectromagnetico to help with the character style was the first step to the Pillow Monster. I want to make sure that all my characters have the same appearance so they are easily understood to be a Sleepy Dan character, even if the design has no displayed type.

After making several sketches, better parts of the character will be remade in the next sketch. There is a constant improvement for the problem areas, till the whole design has the perfect layout. This is the fun part of the process but usually takes the longest, so you can’t get frustrated with levels of failure. Just gotta work thru them till you find successful revisions. Ask friends for constructive criticism, you have to learn to take the good advice with the bad, create a thick skin for necessary revisions cause this is the best time to make them…

I am sharing less than half of the sketching process for this project, so you can understand there are so many versions of progression for this design you can almost look at them like a flip book! Eventually you get to a sketched layout that best suits your concept vision from the start. All parts suddenly fit perfectly into place, then you can move onto revising the smaller details thru the inking process and using Adobe Photoshop.

Inking over the sketch allows you to see a clearer design layout, while creating deeper levels of detail. Usually after the first inking designs, you are confident to almost be there. But treat this stage just like the sketching stage, revision is still easily done now that details are clear, so get some more constructive criticism from your friends that you know will not leak the secret just yet…

Making final inking revisions gives you goosebumps! You wind up staring at the design for a couple days, 30 minutes at a time to make sure there is nothing else that needs to be changed. Then you can decide how many colors you want this design to be printed with, then create color layers of detail for the character scene. Inking new layers can be done in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, I prefer to use Illustrator because it makes the color separation so much easier to manipulate and revise.

Usually I start this stage, not by looking at the color I want, rather looking at the color details I want to involve, so use crazy contrasting colors… The Pantone colors used can be revised after the levels of detail are finished. The best way to decide colors of the print is to decide shirt color first. Figure out the background color of the design, then the character colors can easily be picked knowing what shirt trends are most successful. Research shirt brands over the web, see what colors are selling best for the season. You’d be surprised what a little research can tell you!

Printing shirts for your brand in this economy means planning out the profitability of the design. The more color you print, the more the shirt will cost, and shirts just don’t sell well the closer to $30 each you get. I advise to keep even the most complex designs to a maximum of four printed colors. There is no reason for you to use more color than that, also fans will have a harder time matching up their gear to the shirt, secretly all guys love to do this…

Any printer you use, will appreciate you color separating the art before you give to them. This means separating each color, so the printer knows what colors to put on each film layer they print, which will be used to make screens for your printing. Remove the questions from the process for the printer and your project will turn out the same way you give it to them. I prefer to have a design with the darkest color as the top detail. It’s easiest for the printing process to have the color layers beneath the darkest layer, that way the bottom layer edged are covered with the darker layer, insuring there will be no offset printing problems.

Give the printer the exact Pantone colors you want used in your design, they will be mixing ink to match the Pantone colors you give them. If you don’t give them exact colors, then you are opening the possibility they will not mix the right color you want to use. For the Pillow Monster design, I had to see the shirt color to pick printing colors since there is one tonal color specified in the shirt. The print might have looked weird if the navy color was too much of a red tone rather than a blue tone…

After the Artopia event, the extra shirts were added to the Sleepy Dan web shop. Check out the Artopia event blog posting and friends links on the posting to see lots of pics of the event! Maybe we will see you at Artopia 2012?

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Sleepy Dan: Printing SnapBacks

by Sleepy Dan on November 6, 2011

Sleepy Dan snapback hats released this week! Screen printing on shirts has been so much fun so I am working to print on new apparel bodies too. This is the first part of the Fall line addition, the second half will release by the end of November. These hats are USA made and printed at Classic Cap & Embroidery with a high density ink to give the graphic some texture. There are several types of printing texture you can use, but all are able to be printed thru a normal silk screen. Using a dense ink for printing, means using a lower count screen mesh to let the ink easily pass thru the screen onto your material.

This is a 95 count mesh attached to a small metal frame, custom made for printing on headwear. The emulsified screen has the new wake up graphic burned into it the same way a larger screen is made for printing on t shirts.

The thin flat metal frame is bendable and slides into this form shape. The form gives the screen a stable arch that matches the shape of the hat crown, so an even transfer of ink goes onto a non-level surface.

After the frame is secured into the form, the screen is taped off just like a larger t shirt frame. This makes sure no ink will leak around the edges of the emulsified screen.

The form is secured into the specialty headwear manual printing press. This setup is used with specialty headwear dryer, which is taller to fit hats and has the heating coil on the side rather than on the top like a t shirt dryer. This makes sure the ink printed on front of the hat is properly cured.

Normal ink can be combined with several different types of textured materials, to create a different texture print. The amount of ink has to be precisely combined with the correct amount of high density material to create the desired look during printing.

The headwear printing press looks very similar to a t shirt press, but the pallets are curved just like the screen and hat crown. A hat is positioned on the pallet and secured with a spring mechanism at the back, then the press is operated like this — LIVE PRINTING

After printing, the hat takes a 15 second run thru the dryer which activates the high density material and cures the ink to the hat.

Each hat has to be positioned perfectly on the small pallet surface so all graphics are printed in the correct area of the front crown. This process is tested several times till the desired graphic position is perfected for the project. The hats I printed have a five panel crown, so there is one front panel of the hat.

I tested the printing on some Flex Fit six panel hats, but not all of the prints came out well because the seam at the front of the hat did not allow perfect printing every time. The printing surface has to be perfectly flat for printing success. As with all printing, some mistakes happen and then some mistakes are a surprise success… Screen printing is an art form, so have fun with it!

The Classic Cap & Embroidery sewing team is amazing, the side woven label is attached with precise placement every time like this — LIVE SEWING

I made some interior woven labels for extra detail. They are again attached with amazing placement like this — LIVE SEWING

I hope this insight helps you design a better project, knowing how easy it is to get it done. I made this hat printing a limited edition only printing 30 khaki and 30 navy hats. Creating something original is so much fun, so I’m looking forward to making some new snapbacks for Spring 2012…

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monster press sample

I had the HYA tri-blends (still available in the HYA store) printed by Monster Press, and I have to say that I couldn’t really have been happier with the service, or with the final product I received. Good service, good printing, good price, that’s pretty much all you can hope for when you’re getting shirts printed. For the rest of the month they’re offering 15% off printing & delivery (garment cost remains the same, hardly surprising with the state of cotton prices at the moment), so e-mail them for a quote if you’ve got some printing that needs doing.

If you need convincing of their print quality (and don’t want to buy one of my lovely shirts) they’ve also just released a sample t-shirt designed by Luke Drozd that is a mere £5 + shipping, that you can see above.

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How to prepare artwork for screenprinting

by Andy on January 8, 2011

How to prepare artwork for screenprinting

Smashing Magazine seems to absolutely nail it every time they do a tutorial, and whilst I’m no expert on the screenprinting process, they seem to have done it again with an excellent tutorial about how to prepare your images for printing in Adobe Illustrator.

Preparing Artwork for Screen Printing in Adobe Illustrator – Smashing Magazine

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pl_book.jpg

If you want to learn how to screen print from anyone, a company that makes really cool tees is a pretty good choice. I’ve never attempted screen printing, but I’d imagine that if I were going to give it a go then I’d need a fair amount of instruction, and my SpideyAndy-sense is telling me that Print Liberation team have the skills to make a pretty looking book.Costiness=$25 Link (Amazon Link)

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Cotton Filter: 270508

by Andy on May 27, 2008

I bet you thought you’d never see the cotton filter again!

Shirt.Woot: As spotted by Jay, Shirt.Woot is now shipping to 45 countries beyond the US & Canadian borders, and are doing so for the low price of $5 too.

FFee Clothing: In other shipping related matters, FFee clothing are offering free shipping on all orders (even international ones) until the end of May.

T-Shirt Magazine: This site claims to be the only magazine about T-shirts whether online and off, which is… wrong (and Tcritic‘s new look is farily magazine-like too), but lets not hold that against them, since there is some decent content on the site.

laFraise: They can now print up to 12 colours on a shirt rather than the 8 that they had before, which is an increase of 50%… hurrah! To celebrate, they’re making up a test design (only 250 to be produced) called ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rainbow’, which I think is a pretty splendid phrase.

Threadless: If you’ve ever wanted to know, these are the people that do the screenprinting for Threadless (the art prints, not the tees). Also, here’s another magazine article fawning over Threadless and their business model, there’s pretty much nothing new in the article, but it does provide a decent overview.

Pete Wentz: Apparently he likes Local Celebrity clothing so much that he asked to take some after wearing it for a Fall Out Boy video shoot. Presumably he’s trying to save some cash for when Ashlee pops that baby out.

Creative Directory 101: A directory of sites for creative people, obviously, this will be helpful for people trying to get themselves set up in the tee biz (especially if you’re in the UK). [Disclosure: I’m still working on a HYA Directory that would crush compete with this site]

Pikiware: Mashable described this site as being the “WordPress of Online Tshirts”, and since I love WordPress and t-shirts I figured it was worth a peep, especially since the last time I found out about a t-shirt store from Mashable it was Design By Humans. From what I can tell, pikiware is basically a storefront system for people that print their own products, so that you can make your own Cafepress or Spreadshirt kind of business, though I have been known to make mistakes in the past, so I could easily be wrong. I don’t really see this being of huge interest to “HYA kinda people”, but since it does represent something kinda new in the tee world then I thought it was worth a mention.

Instructables: Here’s an instructable about photo-emulsion screenprinting, which I assume would be helpful for those of you that would like to print your own tees but don’t know how.

HipHipUK Discusses Crowdsourcing: This post seems to have become rather business-y, and this is the most business-y of the lot. Adam wrote an article a few weeks ago called “Which risks and problems will companies, that run Crowdsourcing business models, face in the future? Amongst other things” that I think should probably be a must read for any of you out there that are running a design competition or thinking about running a design competition.

Photojojo: They’ve got an article all about shooting pictures for use on eBay, but a lot of the techniques can also be applied to taking products shots for your tees and hoodies. There’s also a video on the same subject at Etsy if you don’t feel like reading.

Dadawan: They’re selling cool cushions now!

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