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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, please don't laugh, but I am trying out screen printing for the first time after doing Dye Sub for a little while now. I am starting out with Speedball just because it's my first go and wanted to start at the bottom before I get into quality inks. I am curious if there are any formulas out there for color mixing these inks. I got the opaque Fabric Ink Starter Kit so what I have is Silver, Citrine (yellow), Rasberry, Black Pearl, Blue Topaz and White Pearl. I've been googling all morning but I can't seem to find anything. Experimentation is cool, I just was hoping to have a guide so as to waste as little ink as possible. Thanks for any tips. I am a real newb who needs any help he can get. pretty excited to try this out though. I am really psyched to try mixing Dye sub designs with screen printing for outlining and filling areas of a dye sub'd design to give a mix of textures. At least, I think it will be awesome. We'll see. And thanks!
 

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Expert Advice: "Don't offer, or try, color matching to your customers. Show them ONLY the standard, stock, out of the can colors. Don't give them options."

Trust me, you will thank me for that advice one day :)

The Speedball kit is not a "color matching" kit. It is just basic colors that you should print straight out. Once you get established and experienced, then you can mess with mixing colors.

Eventualy work into regular color matching "systems" like the Matsui 301 Eco-Series. They have a color formulation tool that gives you formulas to match most of the PMS colors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply and advice. I hopefully will advance to better inks relatively shortly once i get a good flexible system for making screens in place. I really want to do vinyl with a plotter like the Silhouette Cameo to make my screens because I am really only interested in doing one offs and one of a kinds mostly for people based on custom designs. I think that would give me the most flexibility for making screens. Though I want to give photo emulsion a try just to learn it and see what its like, I really don't want to deal with all those chemicals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok so i thought i would tell you about the issues i had with my first try and see if maybe you could answer some questions or help me figure out what I did wrong and what I should try on my second go since you were so kind to reply before. So, basically when i flooded my screen (10" x 14") the ink didn't cover the whole design so I added more ink but still had a hard time getting it to fill the bottom of the design so I added a little more until i could get it to look covered and then did the screen print part, but when I pulled the screen up off the shirt, the shirt wanted to come up with the screen since there was probably too much ink at least in spots which caused the ink to glop and bleed into some of the negative space which i didn't want printed. So, my question is how to get a complete coat but not over saturate (if that is even what I did). Maybe my pressure wasn't enough. Or, is this where I should be using some kind of extender for the ink? Thanks again. I really do appreciate the help.
 

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Oh boy.... you're going to go through a lot of this trial & error - learning curve.

I believe you may have used too much pressure when spreading the ink (flood coat). It could be the ink was too thin too. Not sure how thick the Speedball opaque ink is.

You shouldn't really need a flood stroke, just pour plenty of ink across the back (clamped side) and make a stroke. Don't lay the squeegee over too far, it will force too much ink through and blurr the print. 1 smooth stroke without stopping. The screen behind the squeegee should be almost clear of ink. If it looks like there are heavy spots, then you may have too much angle.

As to the shirt lifting up, did you use spray adhesive on the platen?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok i did use a really sharp angle and i probably did use too much pressure on the flood coat. The ink feels kind of thick to me but i have no experience with other ink to compare it to. I don't have a platen for screen printing the shirt. I just did it on a table. Should be using something to hold the shirt down like masking tape? I am using a hest press to cure the ink als
 

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.............. I was going to ask, but I thought maybe you weren't using a "printer". That explains the shirt lifting off with the screen and blurry print.

Stop right there! .... You're going to need either a DIY printer or a commercial manufactured one. The shirt must be opened and slid onto a platen. The screen has to pivot like a clam shell. It's almost impossible to hold a screen on a shirt, squeegee it then lift the screen up, all without smearing the print.

I got side tracked before and stumbled on this site: Free Four Color Screen Printing Press Plans | DIY Homemade T-Shirt Press

I am pretty impressed with this guy's plans. I would go with the entire complete kit, it's a bargain. Too bad he didn't make a set of 1-color plans, that's what you should start with. You might take some of his ideas and make something simple yourself. Watch his video too and you'll see his squeegee technique (everyone has their own).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You know another stupid thing i think i did wrong? I flooded the screen with the screen laid down on the shirt rather than tilted up. That's wrong, right? I should flood with the screen lifted off the shirt first and then lay it down, correct?
 

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Yes. Actually a flood stroke has two purposes (when using inks other than heat curing plastisol).

  1. To get most of the ink and squeegee back to the rear of the screen (closest to the clamps), ready for the next print.
  2. To keep the open areas of the screen covered with a layer of ink, so that it doesn't dry out too quickly.
There are a lot of YouTube videos on how to print a t-shirt. Watch a few different ones and you'll pick up a little from each one.
 

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.............. I was going to ask, but I thought maybe you weren't using a "printer". That explains the shirt lifting off with the screen and blurry print.

Stop right there! .... You're going to need either a DIY printer or a commercial manufactured one. The shirt must be opened and slid onto a platen. The screen has to pivot like a clam shell. It's almost impossible to hold a screen on a shirt, squeegee it then lift the screen up, all without smearing the print.

I got side tracked before and stumbled on this site: Free Four Color Screen Printing Press Plans | DIY Homemade T-Shirt Press

I am pretty impressed with this guy's plans. I would go with the entire complete kit, it's a bargain. Too bad he didn't make a set of 1-color plans, that's what you should start with. You might take some of his ideas and make something simple yourself. Watch his video too and you'll see his squeegee technique (everyone has their own).

I found this plan for a one color station somewhere on this forum a little while ago and made one out of scrap wood and it seems to work pretty good.

Here's the link:
One Color T-Shirt Printer Plans | web2wear.com

It doesn't really give you much of a step by step, but more of what you'll need and what it should end up looking like. It's not too difficult if you have the supplies.

A couple of notes: make sure your screws are not long enough to go through the other side of the wood if you're screwing the "platen" to the arms. I assume you would want to screw from the bottom so you don't get screwhead shapes on your prints. I used corner brackets and screws, but I guess that's not what real presses use, it works fine though and is probably a lot cheaper. Other than that, make sure not to make your platen too small and make it heat resistant somehow if you need to flash (I'm going to have to remake my platen because I didn't do these two things correctly) and make sure the platen will end up being level with the screen when the screen is laid on it.

I didn't use the exact sizes of wood they listed because I was working with scrap wood that my dad had left over, but this is what mine ended up looking like (I've been printing on a sheet of fabric for test prints instead of shirts, but the shirt would go around the platen normally). I also used some cheap/small vice clamps to hold the printer to the table so it wouldn't move.

 

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That's a really good design for a starter 1 color tabletop printer. That is very similar to the design in the book "How To Print Shirts For Fun & Profit".

I have always recommended people go to a kitchen cabinet place to buy a "sink cut-out" to use as a shirt board. They already have the formica surface that is perfectly smooth for using spray adhesive. Besides, a sink cut-out is scrap and should be free or just a couple dollars at most. For the screen clamps, we always recommended Sea Jay #216 Small Hinge Clamps.
 

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That's a really good design for a starter 1 color tabletop printer. That is very similar to the design in the book "How To Print Shirts For Fun & Profit".

I have always recommended people go to a kitchen cabinet place to buy a "sink cut-out" to use as a shirt board. They already have the formica surface that is perfectly smooth for using spray adhesive. Besides, a sink cut-out is scrap and should be free or just a couple dollars at most. For the screen clamps, we always recommended Sea Jay #216 Small Hinge Clamps.
Is it something I could use a heat gun on? And do you know of any specific types of stores? I'm not really familiar with who has that type of stuff unless Lowes/Home Depot would?
 

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If your using a heat gun to "cure" the inks, the shirt should be removed from the platen and laid onto something else. You do NOT want your printing platen to get that hot.

Look in the Yellow Pages for a local "Kitchen Cabinet" store. They are everywhere, unless you live in the deep jungle, or in the middle of nowhere.... :) You can try the Kitchen Dept at HD or Lowes, but they probably use off-site fabricators to do the work.

It's the portion of a kitchen counter top where they cut the hole for the sink. The piece they cut out is scrap/waste. It's called a "sink cut-out" and they usually toss them in the dumpster.
 

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If your using a heat gun to "cure" the inks, the shirt should be removed from the platen and laid onto something else. You do NOT want your printing platen to get that hot.

Look in the Yellow Pages for a local "Kitchen Cabinet" store. They are everywhere, unless you live in the deep jungle, or in the middle of nowhere.... :) You can try the Kitchen Dept at HD or Lowes, but they probably use off-site fabricators to do the work.

It's the portion of a kitchen counter top where they cut the hole for the sink. The piece they cut out is scrap/waste. It's called a "sink cut-out" and they usually toss them in the dumpster.
I was just planning on doing a "flash" with the heat gun on the platen so I don't move the shirt, then do the cure on something else, but if I were to get two sink cut outs and just have the other one sitting away from the ink and everything, could I use that to cure on top of?
 

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You're better off using something metal. Formica will delaminate and pucker if it gets too hot.

If you want to spend a few bucks to get a high-end sink cut-out, ask for Corian. That is solid core counter-top that is expensive, but its resistant to scorching and burning and won't buckle.

If you just "flash" on the platen, it should be ok. Let it cool back down a little before you come down with the screen for the 2nd. pass. If the platen heats up too much, it will transfer the heat to the screen during your print stroke and begin to dry the ink in the screen and cause clogging.

This table top printer is strictly a low-tech starter set-up. If your looking to do a lot of print/flash/print, you really should to do it on a multi-platen rotary printer. The heat really needs to dissipate as much as possible between prints.
 

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You're better off using something metal. Formica will delaminate and pucker if it gets too hot.

If you want to spend a few bucks to get a high-end sink cut-out, ask for Corian. That is solid core counter-top that is expensive, but its resistant to scorching and burning and won't buckle.

If you just "flash" on the platen, it should be ok. Let it cool back down a little before you come down with the screen for the 2nd. pass. If the platen heats up too much, it will transfer the heat to the screen during your print stroke and begin to dry the ink in the screen and cause clogging.

This table top printer is strictly a low-tech starter set-up. If your looking to do a lot of print/flash/print, you really should to do it on a multi-platen rotary printer. The heat really needs to dissipate as much as possible between prints.
Right now, I don't think I'm really going to be printing that much, very short runs, like maybe 20-30 shirts at most for a while with one color. I'm only going to flash if I think I have to.

Thanks for all of the info, I'll look into the sink cut outs and figure out which to get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OK, I'll consider it if I end up unable to build my own which is more a matter of time vs money i guess. I'm so anxious though cuz I just got more blank t-shirts of various brands to try out and now I have to wait to get more equipment. If I wasn't also saving up for a Plotter I'd probably jump on the Press right now just to get started quickly. I guess in the meantime I can start to research inks.
 
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