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Topic: DIY multi color screen printing?  (Read 2860 times)
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Doleboy
« on: November 08, 2005 10:15:39 PM »

ok so i am wanting to print my own 4 color shirts.. it seems that there is a wealth of knowledge for printing one color shirts yourself, however i can't find ANYHTHING on printing multi color designs? i know all about separating the colors into separate screens, phot emulsion,  blah blah
after thinking it all through, the hardest step would be registration to ensure alignment of the colors. i guess that's why outfits sell elaborate rotating shirt presses, but for thousands of dollars. i really think you could build your own or at least somehting that would do the job for quite a bit cheaper. anyone have any info on this?
or maybe trying to build a shirt press is approaching this the wrong way ...
are there any other alternative ways to get satisfactory multi color shirt screen prints other than spending insane amounts of $$$? productivity is one thing you would gain from buying a rotating shirt press, however i am not doing this as a source of income so spending extra time at it is not a big issue to me.
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Doleboy
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2005 10:26:16 PM »

now that i think about it more, a rotary press would allow you to transfer a screen (color), then you would  flash dry it, and then rotate to the next color, flash dry it, etc. since i am not using a flash dryer, nor do i have access to a rotary press i guess the best way to do it would be print the lightest color first on all the shirts in a batch just using the popular DIY methods found online. then go back and print the second color the same way when everything is dried and cured, then the third and so on.  i guess my question is has anyone done this before, and if so, how hard is trying to line up the screen on a shirt that already has stuff printed on it? is this even feasible?
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katybeck
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2005 01:10:17 PM »

When you're working with bulky stuff, use something called transparent overlay registration. All you need is some acetate and tape.  Before starting each new layer, place a piece of acetate on your printing surface.  Tape down one side of it to make a hinge so you can flip the acetate on and off the printing area.  Now make your first print with the acetate flipped ON the printing area.  When you're ready to print on a tshirt, slide the shirt underneath the acetate and position the shirt using the acetate print as a guide.  Once you've secured the shirt where you want it, flip the acetate OFF the printing area and print directly on the tshirt. 

This gets more useful in the following layers.  For each new layer remove the old acetate, attach a clean piece, and make your first print.  Now when you position your shirt you can see through the clear parts to the previous colors and get really nice alignment (or purposeful misalignment, depending on your goals). 

I wasn't printing tshirts, but I tried this for the first time on a set of holiday cards this past weekend.  You can see pics (including a few of the acetate layer) here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katy/sets/1414455/



Good luck!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2005 01:11:49 PM by katybeck » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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indie33
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2005 01:29:58 PM »

That was news to me. I have been using cross mark regestration (a cross somewhere on the stencil, line up the cross before each layer). but this way helps allot more with making sure that each print is located in the same place on each sheet of paper and/or shirt.

Thanks allot from me!!


...liberty..
www.libertypierson.com
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birdsong
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2005 04:43:33 PM »

That is very interesting.  I do believe I will attemp some multi color prints now.

Thanks.
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toyshirts
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2006 02:04:58 PM »

Often people use registration dots, four small circles put on your screen. Just put masking tape on the shirt where they print, and because the dots are in the same place for each screen you can perfectly register every time.
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2006 08:34:56 AM »

I use registration dots and have had really good luck with it. The problem that I have is that when I place my board inside of the shirt, it stretches the shirt ever so slightly. The shirt then has to be stretched EXACTLY the same way when you do your next colors otherwise the whole picture doesn't align perfectly, even though the registration marks are. What I've started doing is leaving the shirt to dry on the board, rather than taking the board out and hanging the shirt. Since almost everything I've ever done is one shirt at a time, this isn't a huge problem for me. If you were planning on selling them and trying to do large batches (or even two or three at a time) this would be a bigger problem.

Also, I don't make a different screen for each color. So far the multi-color things I've done have been pretty simple and I've been able to get by by simplying covering the parts of the screen that I didn't want printed, with masking tape.
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toyshirts
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2006 12:03:29 PM »

To solve the issue of taking the shirt off the board, why not just make a ton of boards? I usually use scrap cardboard for printing. Liquor stores will give you empty cardboard boxes if you ask for them. Cut `em up and you're in business.
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2006 01:10:31 PM »

To solve the issue of taking the shirt off the board, why not just make a ton of boards?

That certainly could be done. The reasons I don't do that are A) the one time I used cardboard I pushed too hard and pushed an indent into the coardboard which showed up in my shirt. It happened to look cool for what I was doing but I wouldn't want that most of the time, and B) like I said, most of the things I do are single prints so I usually don't need tons of boards. I wouldn't have the space to lay them all out to try even if I wanted to.

This is the shirt with the cardboard mishap:
« Last Edit: February 29, 2008 09:52:09 AM by sweets4ever » THIS ROCKS   Logged
toyshirts
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2006 01:14:57 PM »

I've had good luck with corrugated cardboard, as long as you don't use the same piece for tooooo long because then the little corrugates or whatever start to show through.
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