Whether you’ve decided to have a hundred shirts printed up for a company picnic, or just ten for a children’s birthday party, being sure the screen printing project is done right—and with the right fabric—shouldn’t be cause for lack of sleep at night. Shown below are some of the most popular fabrics screen printers find friendly to work with.
Natural textiles have been around for as long humankind has walked the planet. Some cotton fabrics in Mexico and Pakistan are estimated to be 7000 years old. Their source is, as you may have guessed, plants and animals. Material from these is woven or threaded into a textile.
Natural fabric from plants includes linen, hemp, and what is probably the best fabric of all for screen printing, cotton. Cotton absorbs color very well—especially water-based inks—and is comfortable to wear. Just about every screen printer in the business proclaims cotton to be their number one substrate.
Animal fabrics such as silk and wool also work for screen printing, so long as one is aware of the drawbacks. For instance, silk provides a very friendly surface for ink, but tends to find trouble absorbing it. As a consequence, colors don’t run as deep and won’t create a look that’s quite so convincing as cotton.
Wool is terrific for custom screen printing Atlanta, as it is thick and will soak up those colors very well; however, should the fabric be textured the challenge gets steeper, as its multiple crevices can be fussy about receiving ink.
Synthetic fabrics are, as you doubtless ascertain, man-made. Popular material in this category includes nylon, polyester, and rayon, to name just a few. Man-made textiles take a bad rap for feeling every bit as fake as their name suggests, but in truth, modern technology has given them a lot of clout these days. Sometimes they mimic natural fibers so well one can scarcely tell the difference.
That being said, professional screen printers will certainly know, and most times steer a client away from using synthetics as a canvas. As pointed out already, natural fabrics absorb color well, whereas artificial material contains repellents such as plastic and oil.
With a bit of extra time and patience, synthetic screen printing can be done. The printer will probably inspect the fabric to see whether it’s woven or knit. A woven textile absorbs color more readily, though if the weave is tight, it still might not absorb well enough for a good print.
Elasticity and heat resistance are also factors to consider when choosing synthetic fabric over natural. Material that stretches further than your usual T-shirt may require a special elastic ink for effective implementation. Many other synthetic fibers tend to shrink or become deformed when exposed to extreme heat; these properties necessitate special procedures for low-temperature curing on cheap tshirt printing.
Shown above are just a few of the things to consider when choosing a fabric for your screen-printing order. Professionals will always provide the best advice for achieving the results you have in mind. If you’re unsure of your options, or how things might turn out, consultation with an experienced artist will get you out of the thicket, and into that perfectly printed shirt.