In this post I will share a T-Shirt Screen printing technique to achieve the best quality and reduce ink bleed to a minimum when printing art with a lot of details. Just a disclaimer, this is from my personal experience working with clients, I am not a screen printer myself.
So the thing is, when the design itself is white only and the T-Shirt is black, normally it would be 1 color screen printing job, just white for the design, and the T-Shirt’s black color suits as a second color, but the printing cost is only for one color job. A little drawback with this method, when printing highly detailed designs, is that the details get a little blurry, because of the ink bleed. In other words, we lose some of the small details in the original design.
To solve this problem we can choose to print black on black. Let me explain this. The design is white, so it’s one color, the T-Shirt itself is Black so it’s second color and now we add third color – black. Well we don’t add, but we retain black color in the design in addition to white. Why we do that? Well, when the design file is provided with 2 colors, black and white, this prevents ink bleed and the small details can be retained. Also the black that was printed on the T-Shirt is pretty much invisible. Although this method increases the cost for the printing job a little, because now the it is 2 color screen printing job, but we retain way more details and the design looks way better in the end. This is an example of both methods my client used:
Printed only White. You can see that the wood details on the guitar are a little bit blurry and lost, also the wing, beard and the overall design has lost some of it’s details.
Printed White and Black. The lines on the guitar are perfectly crisp and clean, the design does not lose pretty much any details.
And the black that was retained in the print file is not visible, it merges with a T-Shirt’s black color.