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Screen printing with vinyls

1583 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  BroJames
Hi, I'm working with vinyl but I'm searching some information about screen printing. With the equipment I have I can cut and make vinyl templates and place it on the screen. I've found some videos doing this, maybe it's not the best method but, is it ok to start with it?
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I have tried using vinyl to make screens and I have found that it works decent for a couple of shirts. It is a quick way to get a stencil made but the vinyl doesn't adhere to the screen very well. If you have a lot of fine detail this method simplpy doesn't work. For a real quick, lo-res design with simple vectors you can get away with making a vinyl decal.
I've found some post where people make more than a couple of shirts with this method, about 40 units, but I don't really know the detail level.
The only way to know is to give it a try. Try a hobby kit if you don't have the equipment and don't want to spend much. Nothing beats hands on. I personally just do screen printing. If you do low runs then you could possibly get away with a hobby kit. Good luck to you!
I'm sure this depends on the type of vinyl. You will probably want cast vinyl, since it is noticeably thinner than cheaper calendered vinyl, so you don't get buildup on the edges of the pattern. One brand that is recommended due to its ability to stick to irregular surfaces is Convex High Tack and Convex Pitbull but I don't know how thick it is.
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I used vinyl for months and you can get about 30 - 40 shirts before you start getting sloppy. 30 is more accurate. I spray tack the vinyl before sticking it to my screen. It holds good. But I got sick of it. It is time consuming, cutting then weeding. Do it twice or three times if you need more than 30 shirts. I was able to get detail that was 'good enough' But you cant get anything really thin. The vinyl just wont hold out for you. But for big block numbers, names and text, It is great and works well.

I would say it is a good way to start out. I already had the cutter and do vinyl graphics. So it was really no cost at all to me to try screen printing. I bought a screen and a couple inks to try it. Now That I know it is something I will stick with, I went ahead and purchased the proper tools for the job!

So yes. Try it. It does work. But for the long haul and more detail... Absolutely not.
And dont go out purchasing a 500.00 cutter just to screen print. You will soon find out that 500 would have been better used towards screen printing equipment.
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I used 3 mil vinyl.( cheap stuff off Ebay ) Cut in reverse and stick it to the outside of your screen. Just like you were using emulsion. Never the inside, the squeegee will pull it off fast. I also laid scrap vinyl on the inside so I didnt mess up the whole screen with ink.
Yes. I make signs too. I print on coroplast, Aluminum and even did a wood sign this way. Do whatever you gotta do to make money when people arent willing to spend their cash for a job done the proper way! lol
Just remember, if you are willing to spend a little more money, you will make even more. You can cut grass with a weed eater but it is easier with a push mower.
First of all thank you for all the answers. I already have a vinyl cutter I bought two months ago to try to start my own business by making tshirts. The thing is that some people asked me to make a bunch of shirts for their bands, clubs, etc., wich I can make with vinyl but the price just to make it is quite high to me, and so to sell it at a good price. Also compared with other shops that make it by screen printing I see that I can't even compete.

So now I'm stuck selling videogames, movies, music, etc. logos on shirts on eBay and to friends and the near circles, wich is ok to retrieve the money spent on the machines and shirts, but not enough to consider it a job or to live with. That's why I NEED to do it.

So, let's give it the attemps needed to make it work properly.:D
The niche for heat press cut vinyl is small orders up to 12 to 18 pieces, custom names and numbers and orders that are time sensitive....As you are already aware, once you get into higher numbers it is hard to compete against screen printing....

But having said that, I have found over the years there is good potential with plastisol heat transfers as an alternative ...Check out companies like Heat Transfers | F&M Expressions | Custom Heat Transfers and Heat Applied Custom Screen Printed - Digital Transfers | Transfer Express FM is a good choice for custom transfers and offers gang sheets.....TE has a program called Easy Prints which allows clients to pick layouts, clipart, fonts, etc. to make a semi custom transfer....Both companies produce and ship quickly and in a lot of case you are able to turn around an order quicker than screen printing....

The great thing about transfers is the ability to produce on demand....For example at an event, fair, festival, etc. you can press shirts on demand and sell exactly the colours and sizes required and not have any left over pre-printed shirts....It takes a while to estimate the best number of transfers to order but it will come in time....And even if you have a few left over, you are still making money on the one you sold....

There is also the opportunity to do gym strip orders at schools.....You go into a school with blank shirts and shorts, logo transfer & number transfers.....You take orders and press on demand....Each set has a unique number so the school knows who they belong to.....

Good luck.....
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Off contact may have spell the difference. I think we can get away better with on-contact printing(waterbased inks) but have not tried it.

But heat transfer vinyl lasts longer.
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