Do you want to use screen printing for your custom merch? It’s important to be aware of the fabrics you can and can’t use before getting started.
Are you a business looking to create some eye-catching custom merch? Screen printing is likely your top choice for efficient, high-quality designs that’ll make your brand stand out. But not all fabrics are equal, and some may not be suitable for screen printing. To save yourself from disappointment, let’s look at the fabrics you can’t screen print on and the reasons why.
Stretchy Fabrics: Bending the Rules (Literally)
A common fabric to avoid in screen printing is any material with a high amount of stretchiness. This includes fabrics like spandex and Lycra. When the fabric stretches, it can distort the design and cause registration issues. In some cases, the ink may crack or peel off due to the constant stretching.
Synthetic Fabrics: A Chemical Conundrum
Fabrics made of various synthetic materials, such as polyester or nylon, can present challenges for screen printing. One reason is their low tolerance for high heat, which is necessary for screen printing inks to cure. This could lead to scorching or warping of the fabric.
If you want to print on a synthetic fabric, you should avoid certain methods. For example, there are different instances when you should and shouldn’t use discharge printing. This is one where it’s not ideal. This technique involves removing the dye from the fabric and replacing it with ink. Unfortunately, the chemicals used can react with synthetic materials and cause unwanted color shifts or dye migration.
Delicate or Sheer Fabrics: Handle With Care
Delicate and sheer fabric like silk, lace, and chiffon may not be suitable candidates for screen printing. The pressure used during the imprinting process could damage these fragile materials. Also, screen printing often requires several layers of ink, which can weigh down delicate fabrics and alter their flowy and light qualities.
That said, fear not! There are alternative printing options, such as sublimation or heat-transfer vinyl, which work well on these types of materials without compromising their delicate nature. By understanding the fabrics you can’t screen print on, you can select the best option for your project. If you have your heart set on using a specific fabric, it’s always best to consult a professional screen printer to determine the best course of action. With careful consideration and proper techniques, you can achieve beautiful and long-lasting results on a wide range of fabrics.