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Hi, I just moved to NYC and I want to start printing and selling tshirts. Much against everyones advice really I want to do this the hard way by not using heat transfer process. I have experience already in silk screening, and want to use the technique for printing on t shirts. Does anybody know a lab in NYC where I can get the screens exposed, or does anybody know how to do this from home?? Can I buy a lamp.. expose the screens in the sunlight..?

And does anyone know which paints/bases are best used (no matter the price) on fabics (i.e cotton)..?
The experience i've had with printing on tshirts so far has resulted in rapidly fading designs, and dried out paint.

It seems you all prefer heat transfer, but if anyone could help me on this one I'd be extremely grateful!!


Many thanks,
MAX

:) :) :)
 

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Hi Max,

You could expose the screens yourself, using a exposure unit or do it in the sun. For all the years I was in business, although I did have a Mercury Vapor exposure unit, I always burned my screens in the sun (most were 35 secs, but I live in Hawaii).

If you do it at home you will also need to have a wash out sink...and depending on how intricate your designs are, it good to have one with backlighting so you are able to check the design as you washout.

As far as inks goes...plastisol is your best bet, but it will require a dryer or flash unit, depending on your budget and space. There is a system that I used... made by Wilflex Inks and I believe that it is still available. You buy the base and then add pigments to make various colors...all the colors were formulated, by grams and you could make the amount you needed. This saved me alot of expense in not having gallons of ink on my shelf. They had color swatches...equal to Pantone. The only colors I used to buy by the gallon, were white, black, red...all the others I mixed.

One consideration with plastisol and doing it at home....screens and tool cleanup needs to be done with solvents and it does get messy.

Your best bet is to find a screen print supply house.
In regards to your experience with printing shirts and fading....you probably printed with some sort of enamel or water based ink...that only needed to be air dried.....A lot of people used to print enamel for campaign shirts long ago. As far as water based ink...I'd stay way from it until you get more experience...they dry fast and if not cured correctly tend to wash out.

The one company I know who has perfected their water based printing is Crazy Shirts, originally from Hawaii...but that is another story.

Good luck in your new buisiness, it always good to see another person, who wants to get ink on his hands. ;)

cotton
 

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We don't all prefer heat transfer per se, but its a lot easier and a lot cheaper to get started with so that definately makes it appealing. In addition, the quality is really not that bad anymore if you're using quality supplies... your main problem being the inability to do darker shirts, which can be remedied by using vinyl/flock or plastisol transfers.
 

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Thanks a lot guys, I really appreciate it!
I will let you know how it goes, your advice and help is invaluable..

Best,
MAx
 
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