About Me

Hi all! My name is Collette, t-shirt and vinyl designer extraordinaire:)) My love for design began when I was a little girl, watching my father hand paint designs on race cars. As his business grew, so did his need for help; this is when I made my appearance into the world of t-shirt and vinyl design. Although my pay was meager (you know how dad's can be), I loved the process of design -- taking one person's idea and watching the look of excitement on their face when I handed them the finished product; a product I created. Now, nearly 20 years after working for my father, successfully tackling every challenging task he gave me, I am on my own. Proudly, I present to you: Collete'sTshirts&Vinyl. I invite you to read my weekly posts for updates about my new adventure. Check in for regularly for information about the world of graphic design, but most importantly, think about me when you want your next hoodie, t-shirt, hat or bag. I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How to print a t-shirt

How to print a t-shirt

Many times I have been asked questions about different steps in the process of printing.  I’m not good with words but I’m going to try to explain how it works.
    First we start with a design. Customers may bring in a design or they may want us to create one. The key here is to take your time. When I printed for my Dad it was so hard to wait for him to get done with the design. I would feel like “come on your holding up production!” Now I see how important it is to take your time and get it right! There is nothing worse than looking at your finished t-shirt thinking “I wish I would have done this….”  For a good print the lines need to have sharp edges. If not it will look like a fuzzy print. The design is drawn or printed onto a transparent piece of paper or plastic. The paper needs to be as transparent as possible to let light go through. The design needs to be nontransparent. It’s now a film positive.

        Next we coat the screens with a direct emulsion. This is a glue-like liquid that is light sensitive. We use a scoop coater and apply a thin even coat to both sides of the screen. This is done in a dark room. We lay the screens flat with spacers in between to allow them to dry. After the screens are dry we tape the design (film positive) onto the back of the screen. Then we lay the screen back side down on the light table. We lower the blanket top over the screen and turn on the machine. A vacuum comes on and holds the screen down firmly to the table while the lights are exposing the screen. Why hold the screen firmly to the light table? This way you have even exposer and sharp lines. This takes about a min. but can vary. We then open the light table remove the screen peel off the film positive and quickly rinse the screen. Ever where that was exposed to light stays. The parts that were blocked rinse out. After the screen dries we place it on the printer.  Line it up exactly where we want it and clamp it in place. We tape off the inside edges to keep the ink from coming through the screen where we don’t want it to. We then apply a good amount of ink to the screen. Do a test print. Many years ago when I was just learning how to print, my Dad had an employee showing me the ropes. He was just about to print when my Dad called out “Test print” Randy called back in his best Mexican accent “Test print! We don’t need no stinking test print!” then went to work printing our first misprint of the run. So after we run a test print and fix anything that needs to be fixed, we are ready to print our first t-shirt.
       First I tilt the squeegee toward myself so that it is on the edge of the rubber blade. Then pull towards myself with firm even pressure. This forces the ink through the screen. We raise the screen remove the shirt place it in the heater and ta-da! Your beautiful design on your custom made shirt!          
Brought to you by http://collettestshirts.com/


  1. This is awesome, Collette. I'm very impressed, and I know you will do great with your own business.

  2. Thanks for such an interesting article here. I was searching for something like that for quite a long time and at last I have found it here.
    Screen printing