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I have been floating around these forums for several years always wanted to get into apparel design. Now that I got into it with a friendly printshop that offers me a great cost to get the shirts and hoodies made at a low price I been building a nice customer base, I'm getting requests for more complicated designs, so far I have only been using vinyl so I never had this issue that I'm getting to.

I have been requested to do a complex graphic on a dark fabric, now I know this question has been asked many times before probably, but is the only way to print on dark fabrics is to use a white undercoat? I have 3 examples I would like to know how they are made with which print technique.

Givenchy Rottweiler T-shirt for men | SSENSE

This Givenchy Rottweiler is a very interesting print because it has a pretty dark image being printed/put on a dark fabric and its a quite wide image, how did they get the image to go so far sideways.

Chanelesque COCO N.5 Homme+Femme Jersey Sweater – Glamzelle

This Channel No.5 Crew is very interesting because it has printing done on the sleeves and I would like to know how they do that? Also because this crew has only white print does that mean it only needs 1 print or does it need a white undercoat and white overcoat?

BENZ Logo Sequin Sweater – Glamzelle

This Benz logo crew has an interesting ink or material used for image so this one is just a basic question, what is that? :p

Tee Shirt Animal Print Bandana USA Noir - LaBoutiqueOfficielle.com

Again just asking how this one was made because its all black and white except the flag?

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To put this as simply as possible absent a bunch of technical stuff and special cases, you can only go darker, not lighter. So if your shirt is darker than the colors being printed on then you need white behind the scenes.

Basically you see through the ink which means you go from dark to light.

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No black - you just only print the white where you need it. If you want the shirt colour to show through then you don't print white where you want the shirt colour. If you want to print black I to a blue shirt, then you don't print black ontop of white. You just don't r
the white where you want the black and only print black.

A sleeve print is a print on the sleeve. You can print on the front, the back or on the sleeves.

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The rottweiler shirt is probably an oversized screen print.

The print size capability is based on the size of the platens and screens being used by the print shop. You would have to ask your print shop what their maximum print size is. Keep in mind, the link doesn't say what size shirt the model is wearing. The print will appear larger on a size Small shirt, but will appear smaller on a size Large shirt.

It looks like a 3 color print - red, yellow and white - with an underbase. The areas that appear orange-ish are halftones of red and yellow mixed together. Areas that appear gray are halftones of the white. All 3 colors are printed directly on top of the underbase. The areas of black are the garment showing through... there is no ink printed there at all.

The Chanel No. 5 shirt is a 1 color screen print on all 3 locations - front, back and sleeves. Similar to the oversized print capability, the sleeve print is done using platens and screens fitted to print on sleeves. It's pretty standard for print shops to be equipped to handle this.

Since it's only a 1 color print, it only requires 1 screen for the underbase and white ink. Depending on the opacity of the ink, maybe it only needs 1 hit. But it probably requires 2 hits - one is the underbase, the other prints on top.

The Benz t-shirt is made of sequins. They are stitched together as a patch and then applied to the shirt.

The USA Bandana shirt is probably a 3 color screen print - red, blue and white - with an underbase. Similar to the Rottweiler shirt... All 3 colors are printed directly on top of the underbase. Areas that appear gray are halftones of the white. The areas of black are the garment showing through... there is no ink printed there at all.

The design is done in photoshop. There are several ways to get this effect, but simply explained, there are two layers. The background is the black and white photo. The foreground is the color bandana. A "mask" is created around the bandana.


You should probably talk to your print shop and see what their capabilities are in printing these types of designs. They should help you with specifications on how to set up the artwork. The print techniques are really up the print shop. You need to focus more on the design technique and color separation of the artwork. Not sure what your experience level is on these, but you can find some good tutorials on youtube to learn about photoshop, illustrator and color separations for screen printing.
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