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View Full Version : How to: print your own damn t-shirts



motorlou
12-16-2012, 8:50 PM
Hey guys just wanted to share a "How To: Screenprint your own damn T-shirts". I have been working on a logo for my bike building addiction for a few years now but i never really took it seriously enough to actually persue having it printed. A few months ago i finally got to a point where i started looking around for screen printers and getting quotes. the main problem i was running into is that most of them wanted to charge me about $100 for the "artwork" and the "screen" (cause supposedly my computer artwork wasn't up to their snuff!). after that they were going to charge me about $12-$15 per shirt. Hell, i only wanted 1 so that was kinda wack. after researching alittle bit into the matter as to how they actually make prints i thought this can't be all that hard. i just had to find a way to make the screen without having to spend a fortune. incidentally the more i researched the process, i realized that it would end up costing me about the same as i was being charged but i would get to keep the screen and be free to make as many prints as i wanted for basically the cost of the shirt and the ink. In this "how to" i will show you how the process works from drawing/editing your image to actually laying the ink down on your shirt. On a side note i want to let you know that i am no expert by any means and that this "how to" only shows how i did it! i am sure there are many ways and different resources to accomplish the same task at hand...............

1) I should begin by Thanking my little sister for teaching me how to use photoshop to accomplish this part of the process. i am about as sharp as a bowling ball when it comes to these things! this part is alot more complex than it has to be but i just did it this way cause i wanted as many options as i could get if i was going to spend money on it (you could just download and print something simple if wanted). I can't draw fer squat so I began by taking a picture of a skull and wing that was on an old t-shirt i had. i always liked the image and thought that it was basically what i wanted.... just edited to my needs. i uploaded the picture into photoshop and retraced all the lines. once i did that, i copied it and mirrored the image so that the sculls where facing each other. Next i added/edited the text and sword(also downloaded it from the web) . i began thinking about how i was going to apply the image onto the shirt and how i could fashion the drawing so i could change colors or text in the future. i realized that i would be needing to make a few different layers of drawings to accomplish this. first would be the line art drawings, 1) the skull/wings, 2)the text, 3) the sword. this would allow me to screenprint each of those layers in different colors whenever i want. after messing with the colors on the computer i thought that the line art drawings where a little boring so i wanted to make a negative of those layers(the line art filled in). i made another 3 layers 1)skull/wing fill layer, 2) text fill layer, 3)sword fill layer. now i had a shitload of options for combining the different layers with different colors at anytime (i'm sure the screenprinters were down for that huh?!). once you have your drawings/images done and edited you are ready to go onto the next step of the process. here are some pics of the different layers and also what it looks like all put together..........

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v307/motolou/louisbuiltlogo_zpsceab26c9.png

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v307/motolou/skullwinglayer_zps4f70d7f0.png

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v307/motolou/skullwingfilllayer_zps7fb81093.png

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v307/motolou/swordlayer_zps14789582.png

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v307/motolou/swordfilllayer_zps3bcd724e.png

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v307/motolou/fontlayer_zps5c66c358.png

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v307/motolou/fontfillinlayer_zpse8130140.png

2) Now that you have the images ready, you have to print them onto a transparency paper which will be used to develop/burn the image onto the screen. there are basically 2 types of transparency paper for the 2 types of printers, "inkjet paper" and "laser paper". i was working with larger images that would not fit on a regular 8 1/2 x11" piece of paper. i ended up buying "Laser paper" thinking i was going to go down to staples and have them print it on their large laser printers. first, the chick was about as dumb as me when it came to printing out the images to the size i needed and secondly i bought the wrong type of paper even though it was "laser paper"($60!). it was not compatible with their printers! i ended up going home and having to cut the paper down to fit into my printer, i also had to split the image of the skull/wing and sword to fit onto 2 pieces of paper vs 1 each. next time i will be sure to just buy the "inkjet paper" which comes readily availabe in 8 1/2" x 11" sheets for less quantities and alot less $$$! just a tip, do not set your printed paper ontop of each other until they are completely dried don't ask!! you can buy the paper online, ebay, or your local printing supply store such as staples ect. after you get your images printed out and dried you are ready to go onto the next step of the process.........

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v307/motolou/DSCN0547_zpsb3e42646.jpg

3) you are finally ready to create your "screen" or "stencil" which will be used to lay your drawing/image onto your shirt. screen printers make a screen for printing your image on a screen board coated with special chemicals which the drawing/image will be burned onto. for each layer used the screenprinter will create a screen. after they are done printing they can keep the screen boards with the images for further use or they can "reclaim" the board(strip it of the chemicals/image) to create a new image. i am actually using a precoated paper called stencil pro (another one available is called EZscreenprint). it is kind of costly but it will save me the hassle of having to coat a screen with the chemicals to create a screenboard. there is one consideration to take at this point. you will want to see which paper is convienant for you. they come with different amount of pixels per square inch. the more pixels per inch the higher resolution the print will be and vice versa. the hi resolution paper is recommended for picture images while the lower pixel paper is better suited for line art ect. the precoated paper mentioned above comes in 2 reolutions, hi and normal. i included the link to where you can buy the screen print paper and supplies below. there is alot of info on this topic in the site too. for this part i am also adding a couple of youtube clips/ links on how to proceed through this step. i found that my drawings had alittle too much detail when i developed them and i actually lost some of the detail on the screen. here is the final product for the moment............

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v307/motolou/DSCN0542_zps4c57cdb4.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v307/motolou/DSCN0546_zpsea1dacdb.jpg

http://www.cbridge.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU8V_ePdXtk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEiTIy7qqRc

well folks there you have it. i ended up fucking up a sheet of stencilpro paper and wasn't able to print the sword part of the drawing. i ordered a couple more sheets. non the less i just had to try it and here are the results.....not too shabby! i know it seems like alot of information to process but it really ain't all that. you can buy supplies from alot of different places and they also sell kits at retail stores such as staples ect. i found this way to be best for me. i ended up paying alittle more than what i was quoted to make just one t-shirt. however, i will get to keep the screens and make as many shirts as i want. also, the higher cost for me was because i was making something alittle more complex than just a single layer drawing. everytime i want to change the drawing, colors or make different sizes i will have to buy the precoated screen paper as well as print out the new version of the image onto the transparencies (which i already have a shitbload of). my cost after the initial investment dramatically went down!

vnygra
12-16-2012, 8:58 PM
Nice write up man. Thanks.

motorlou
12-16-2012, 9:04 PM
I had fun doing it and now I don't have to sit around waiting for someone to do shit for me! ha

TroyFab
12-16-2012, 9:43 PM
Nice write up, thanks for posting.

2stroketim
12-17-2012, 9:26 AM
So what you really did was a heat transfer.

I'm wondering how well they will hold up to multiple washes.

The "Art fee" from the screen printer was a pretty standard charge, and 10-12 bucks for the shirt was a decent deal.

How did you transfer to your garment? Iron? Or did you buy a platen press?

motorlou
12-17-2012, 9:56 AM
So what you really did was a heat transfer.

I'm wondering how well they will hold up to multiple washes.

The "Art fee" from the screen printer was a pretty standard charge, and 10-12 bucks for the shirt was a decent deal.

How did you transfer to your garment? Iron? Or did you buy a platen press?

did you watch the video's? it's not a heat transfer, you lay the stencil(pink paper I have in my hand) on the shirt and apply the ink over it...............

2stroketim
12-17-2012, 10:09 AM
I'm pretty well versed in screening mang - - No, I skipped the videos.

I've run 12 color process wheels, currently have a 4 turn table, and one of my accounts has a 15 color auto run, which is fucking amazing to watch run.

I'm looking into getting one of the DTG machines here shortly....no more inky mess or screens to clean.

It looks like you did a pretty good job. What ink were you using?

motorlou
12-17-2012, 10:14 AM
I'm pretty well versed in screening mang - - No, I skipped the videos.

I've run 12 color process wheels, currently have a 4 turn table, and one of my accounts has a 15 color auto run, which is fucking amazing to watch run.

I'm looking into getting one of the DTG machines here shortly....no more inky mess or screens to clean.

It looks like you did a pretty good job. What ink were you using?

speedball

ShovelEd
12-17-2012, 4:08 PM
Wow that has a striking resemblance to a death head.

Rubman
12-17-2012, 6:07 PM
... no it doesn't.

ShovelEd
12-17-2012, 7:11 PM
......OK.

motorlou
12-17-2012, 7:16 PM
Wow that has a striking resemblance to a death head.


death to you:kill: ha ha ha jk jk jk. I said it was a picture of a skull.wing that was on a t-shirt I bought long ago at Burlington coat factory..............shit, I can't draw like that!!! I will be downloading and editing all types of shit from here out, no shame on me.

53rigid
12-17-2012, 7:44 PM
Wow that has a striking resemblance to a death head.

that was my first thought as well. However, with that said, it is a kick ass shirt!

ShovelEd
12-17-2012, 7:53 PM
I agree. Thanks for the write up. I shoulda said that first. Ill probably use this

motorlou
12-17-2012, 8:22 PM
thanks fellas, been waiting along time to get a tee shirt with my logo. i'm glad I can do it whenever I want now and change designs and stuff without having to spend a fortune!

NHMike
12-17-2012, 8:37 PM
Looks good man. I suggest sending me one, so I can check out the quality and wear. I'll report my findings in one month from receipt. :D

flattrackhooligan
12-17-2012, 10:48 PM
I use this stuff. Lasts a while, as long as you don't use the dryer. Easy.
http://i17.ebayimg.com/06/i/001/2d/68/4a3f_35.JPG

thelowlife
01-11-2013, 8:13 PM
Awesome, always wondered if its possible to do this easily at home!

Slayer63
01-12-2013, 9:08 AM
Kick ass man. Ive got a stack of screens somewhere Ill probably never use. Any need a set?