Best Practices for Creating Multi-Color Prints

Posted by Ellie Batchiyska on

Screen printers who create designs with multiple layers of colors can add depth and dimension to their prints. But, this is a more advanced technique that takes some practice to get right. Using color theory principles, the color combinations you use in prints can evoke certain emotions and elevate your designs, though you need to know how to utilize them properly together in order to get the best results. To create multi-color prints your customers will love, continue reading through the following best practices to set you up for success. 


Use Quality Inks

The quality of ink you use can make or break your multi-color designs. You want to use ink that is high-quality and suitable to the fabrics you’re using. Plus, they need to be able to layer effectively without bleeding or detracting from the look of the design. This will also enhance the longevity of the print and help it retain its look even after multiple wears and washes. 

You can use both plastisol inks and water-based inks for multi-color printing, you just need to select the proper ink type for the look you want to achieve. 


Choose the Right Screens

Screens with a higher mesh count will be better for designs that call for fine details, while lower mesh count screens are better for printing solid areas. One is not necessarily better than the other, but you need to make sure you are choosing the appropriate screens for your designs. Doing so will help you achieve the look you’re going for. 

With pre-burned screens from Arena, you can achieve stunning and progressive prints that your customers will appreciate. Durable and long-lasting, using pre-burned mesh screens not only result in higher-quality prints, but you’ll end up saving time and money too. 


Print in the Proper Order

When printing multi-color designs, you will need to create multiple layers and screens for your design, with each layer being dedicated to one distinct color. If possible, you should start with the lightest ink colors first, then the darker ink shades to prevent contamination. 


Understand Color Theory

It’s important to have a good understanding of color theory when you are creating multi-color screen print designs. As you layer the various colors, you may notice that they interact with each other in ways that you didn’t expect, giving you a different look than you anticipated. So, you should be aware of the color wheel, what colors complement each other, and how to play with contrast so you end up with visually pleasing multicolor prints that your customers will love. 


Be Patient

Between each ink layer, you need to ensure that you are letting the ink dry fully before you add the next layer. This will keep the lines in your design crisp and the different layers from bleeding into one another. Follow the guidelines of the ink manufacturer so you know how much time you’ll need to let the ink fully dry. 

If you’re just trying out multi-color prints for the first time, be open to trial and error until you find the right inks, methods, and order for printing. You may not nail it on the first try, but with practice, you will find your rhythm.

← Older Post Newer Post →

Arena Prints Blog

color harmony color mixing color temperature plastisol ink plastisol ink tips plastisol vs water based ink screen print screen printing screen printing ink Screen printing inks water based ink

Ink Matters: Choosing the Right Ink for Screen Printing

By Ellie Batchiyska

In the vast world of screen printing, the ink you choose is paramount to the finished product's quality and longevity. Whether you're just starting out...

Read more
2024 screen printing 2024 screen printing trends screen print order screen printing screen printing tips

Tips for Saving Money on Your Screen Printing Projects

By Ellie Batchiyska

For small business owners, screen printing is a versatile and cost-effective way to produce customizable marketing materials and branded merchandise. However, saving money on these...

Read more