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Spring Cleaning Your Pre-Burned Screens

When spring rolls around, we often look to refresh and clean our homes and yards–but there are many things in our lives that could use a good cleaning this time of year. 

If you’re a screen printer that relies on pre-burned screens to create your prints, you’ve probably recognized that the screens can accumulate ink, emulsion, and other debris over time that can affect the quality of your prints. 

To ensure that your prints continue to come out clear and vibrant, you should take the time to clean your screens thoroughly after each use. Luckily, cleaning and maintinuing your pre-burned screens, like screen burns from Arena Prints is actually a much simpler process and less involved than cleaning traditional mesh screens. So, here are some helpful tips to help you spring-clean your pre-burned screens. 

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you can clean your screens, you’ll need a few basic supplies on hand. These include paper towels, ink cards, and a non-citrus-based screen opener that’s specific to Plastisol or water-based inks. 

Regardless of what type of screen opener you use, make sure that it’s not citrus-based, which is too acidic for the screens and will only erode the emulsion in the fibers. 

Step 2: Remove the Ink

Once you have the proper supplies gathered, you’ll first need to remove any ink that’s still attached to the area surrounding the print. You can do this with an ink card or a plastic-edged scraper. 

If needed, you can use a damp paper towel with the ink card to remove excess water-based ink. However, for plastisol inks, you should only use a dry paper towel. Using any water when trying to remove plastisol inks will actually smear the ink and make it harder to clean afterward. 

It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t use a showerhead or traditional washout booth when cleaning your pre-burned screens. The pressure from the spray is too strong and will annihilate and destroy the mesh of your screens, making them unusable.  

Step 3: Apply Screen Opener

After you have removed the excess ink from around the screens, you should spray on an even layer of your screen opener of choice, and wipe it down thoroughly with paper towels to clean.

Use moderate pressure while wiping down the screen so you’re giving it a good clean, but not causing any unwanted damage, either. Again, when using Plastisol inks, make sure you’re only using a dry paper towel. You should repeat this process about 3-4 times until the screen is fully clean. 

Don’t feel like you need to use too much screen opener to get a thorough clean–start with a moderate amount to avoid overdoing it. 

You may notice a slight halo effect around the image area after cleaning, which is normal and won’t impact the quality of your next print. 

Step 4: Repeat on the Underside

Once you’ve taken care of the top part of your screen, you will repeat Steps 2 & 3 on the underside of the mesh to ensure it’s fully clean. 

When you’re confident that the ink has been cleared entirely from the screen, let it air dry for about five minutes before you apply the next color, or store it for future use. 

So, cleaning your pre-burned screens may seem like a daunting task, but it’s a necessary process that will help maintain the quality of your prints. 

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How to Screen Print on Nylon

Nylon is a common material used for drawstring bags, banners, tote bags, and other common accessories and apparel. But, despite its popularity, nylon has been known to cause some issues for screen printers. Throughout this post, we will explain why nylon can be challenging to print on and provide you with some helpful tips and tricks for successful print jobs on this material. 


The Challenges of Screen Printing on Nylon

There are many reasons why nylon is used for accessories and clothing items–it’s highly durable, resistant to typical wear and tear, and largely water-resistant. 

However, these features of the material also make it tricky to screen print on. This is because it tends to be slippery and not very absorbent of ink. As such, screen-printed designs may not be set properly or be as long-lasting as on other materials that are more porous.


Helpful Tips and Tricks for Screen Printing on Nylon

With the right techniques, it’s possible to achieve high-quality prints. Here are some useful tips for getting the best results. 


Use the Right Ink

One of the most important tips when screen printing on nylon is choosing the ink that is compatible with nylon. Since it’s non-porous, the ink doesn’t absorb into the nylon fibers like it would with other fabrics. 

For this reason, water-based inks are the most common for screen printing on nylon. This type of ink is generally easier to work with and it adheres well to nylon.


Choose the Proper Mesh Count

Another important factor to consider when screen printing on nylon is the mesh count of your pre-burned screen. A higher mesh count will give you finer details and sharper prints, but a lower mesh count will give you a thicker ink deposit. 

Luckily, when using a pre-burned mesh screen, your work becomes much simpler since you don’t have to use light exposure, washout, chemical cleaning, or emulsions to make your prints. Plus, given the precision of these types of screens, they make it possible to print gradients, half-tones, tiny fonts, and fine lines. But, you will need to choose the right mesh count for your chosen design.


Apply Ink Lightly

When you screen print on nylon, you want to use a soft hand and apply the ink lightly. Since nylon has a slick surface, the ink can easily slide around if too much pressure is applied. Make sure you apply the ink evenly and try to avoid overworking the fabric. 


Test the Print

Before you print the final design, it’s recommended to do a test print on a scrap piece of nylon so you can make any adjustments to the process if needed. Make sure you pull the nylon fabric taut and keep it free from any wrinkles to get the best results. Since the fabric can slip around easily, you might want to clamp or tape it down to make your job easier and more accurate. 

As you can see, screen printing on nylon can come with its own challenges, but there are ways to achieve high-quality prints on this versatile fabric. 

4 Things to Know Before Starting a Screen Printing Business

If you’ve been interested in exploring your entrepreneurial side, you may consider taking on a screen printing business. While this can be an exciting and rewarding venture, it’s still important to do your research and get prepared before fully jumping in. 

Here are four things you need to know before starting a screen printing business. 

1. Figure Out Who Your Audience Is

To get started with your screen printing venture, you should first identify who your target market is. This will help guide the rest of the decisions you make about your business, including the types of screen-printed products you’ll sell, what designs you’ll use, the types of promotional activities you should consider, and more. 

Figure out what your screen printing store will do better than any other business that’s already out there in the market, which will help you find your edge and discover who your ideal customers will be. 

You may be tempted to just sell your screen-printed goods to anyone who will buy them. However, narrowing in on a niche will help you build your credibility and a loyal customer base. 

2. Master Your Screen Printing Skills

You don’t have to be a complete expert before you start your business as you’ll hone your skills a lot more through practice. However, you should be confident enough in your screen printing skills before you start selling your goods to customers. 

After all, the quality of your initial sales will determine whether your buyers turn into repeat customers or are left disappointed. 

So, make sure you understand the basics of screen printing and test out different inks, designs, and materials before you launch your store so you can feel good about the products you’re selling. 

3. Get the Right Equipment

Screen printing can be pretty labor-intensive, so you can make the job much more efficient and seamless when you’re relying on the proper tools and equipment. 

Go for a digitally-made pre-burned screen. This cuts down on the work you’ll need to do and doesn’t require you to utilize any light exposure, chemical cleaning, washout, or emulsions when making your prints. 

Additionally, you will need some other essentials like squeegees, inks, and a well-ventilated and spacious workspace where you can make the prints. You may need additional equipment depending on the size and complexity of the jobs you’ll be doing, so keep this in mind as you’re factoring in how much it will cost to get started. 

4. Understand the Business Side

Lastly, starting a screen printing business is more than just printing shirts–it’s also about running a business. With this in mind, it can be worthwhile to develop a business plan with details like your marketing strategy, pricing structure, and financial forecasts. 

There are some administrative tasks you’ll need to also take care of like registering your business, obtaining any necessary permits and licenses, and getting set up in an accounting system that tracks your income and expenses. 

Above all, one of the most important aspects of running a successful screen printing business is building and maintaining relationships with your customers. This means providing excellent customer service, meeting deadlines, and producing high-quality prints that meet or exceed their expectations. 

In sum, there’s a lot to be excited about when you first start your business but don’t overlook some of these key factors that can help you be successful from the jump.

How to Screen Print on Fleece

Fleece is a popular choice for custom clothing because it’s cozy and versatile. However, screen printing on fleece can be challenging due to the nature of the fabric. But, with the right tools and techniques, it can be done successfully. 

Continue reading below as we walk you through the steps involved in screen printing on fleece. 

Step 1: Prepare Your Design

You first need to prepare your design before you start screen printing. Prepare your artwork like you would with any other fabric, though you’ll need to pay special attention to the unique details of the fleece garment, like any extra pockets, zippers, or seams. If you can, try to avoid placing the artwork over seams. 

When you’re getting your artwork ready, keep in mind that fine details may get lost when screen printing on fleece since it’ll typically require a heavy ink deposit. So, consider all of these factors when you’re settling on a design. 

Step 2: Choose the Right Screen

Depending on the type of design you are screen printing on the fleece, you’ll need to choose the proper mesh count accordingly for your pre-burned screen. Pre-burned screens that are created digitally make your work much more simplified, not requiring you to use light exposure, chemical cleaning, washout, or emulsions when printing. 

For photos, fine lines, gradients, and small font sizes, you’ll want to order a screen with a higher mesh count. If you’re looking to print a design with less detailed line art, or artwork using fills and fine details, you can use a screen with a lower mesh count. Lastly, for fills, heavier inks, or designs with larger elements, you can use a screen with an even lower mesh count. 

With fleece, you’ll often be using heavier inks and less-detailed designs, so you probably don’t need screens with the highest mesh count when printing on this fabric. 

Step 3: Choose the Right Ink

Since fleece is naturally a thicker material, you’ll generally need to use a heavier ink deposit when making your screen prints. This doesn’t always have to be true, especially if you need to print your design over garment details like seams and zippers–in which case a thinner ink will do. 

It’s not uncommon for dye migration to occur when printing on fleece given the polyester content of the material. So, you may want to look for low-bleed inks when printing on fleece. 

Step 4: Prepare the Fleece

With all these details organized, you can start to get the fleece garment ready for screen printing. 

Lay your fleece flat on the printing board, making sure it’s smooth and free from wrinkles. It can be worthwhile to use masking tape or other adhesives to secure the edges of the fleece to the printing board to keep it from shifting during printing. This will help you avoid blurry or fuzzy prints. 

Step 5: Print Your Design

Now you can actually start printing your design onto the fleece. Place your pre-burned screen with your design onto the fleece, making sure it’s aligned correctly. Apply a small amount of ink onto the top of the screen, near the edge of the stencil. 

Use your squeegee to spread the ink across the stencil, applying pressure to push the ink through the mesh and onto the fleece. Make sure you use a smooth, even motion when pulling the squeegee across the screen. 

Once you’ve completed the design, carefully lift the screen off the fleece and allow the ink to dry completely before moving the garment–then you’re done and can enjoy the item!

5 Most Famous Screen Printing Artists & Icons

As you may or may not know, screen printing is a technique that has been utilized for centuries. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that it became a popular medium among contemporary artists.

With screen printing, popular artists could create their own stencils with mesh screens and ink, resulting in bold and vibrant prints that could be duplicated over and over again.

Let’s take a look at some of the most famous screen printing artists and icons that you can draw inspiration from in your future screen printing projects.

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol is one of the most well-known American artists of all time, and possibly the most popular screen printer, too. Warhol’s artwork became iconic in the 1960s and continues to inspire artists to this day.

His works were known for their colorful and bold prints depicting celebrities and everyday objects–from Marilyn Monroe to Campbell’s soup cans.

Warhol’s use of bright colors and repetition led the way for the mass production of his works and helped cement him as a pillar in the popular culture artwork world.

Laurie Hastings

One of the most popular modern-day silkscreen artists, Laurie Hastings creates limited-edition prints of her simple yet elegant line drawings.

Her work often features animals and natural landscapes, and she’s also known for using bright, bold colors to bring her subjects to life.

When you see some of Hastings’ work, you’ll immediately notice the playful and whimsical feel they have, which is in part due to the variety of patterns and textures she incorporates into her prints.

Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein’s printmaking work is highly recognizable, and he was a prominent figure in the pop art movement throughout his career.

He is known for his comic book-inspired prints which feature bold, primary colors and the Benday dot printing technique. These features aided the mass production of his works, which are still widely referenced in culture today.

Peter Blake

Peter Blake is a British artist who is known for his pop art-inspired prints full of bold colors and patterns that create a sense of energy and movement.

Blake’s work often features iconic images like the Union Jack and Marilyn Monroe, akin to Warhol’s work. His pieces have been exhibited in galleries all around the world, and his influence on the pop art movement is undeniable.

Clare Halifax

Clare Halifax is a UK-based artist who creates stunning screen prints inspired by nature and her surroundings. Her prints often feature intricate patterns and textures, and she uses a range of bold colors to add vibrancy and depth to her works.

Both beautiful and thought-provoking, Halifax’s artwork carries prominent themes of environmental issues and sustainability throughout.

Whether you’re drawn to the bright colors and bold patterns of Andy Warhol, the whimsical nature scenes of Laurie Hastings, or the pop art-inspired prints of Roy Lichtenstein, it’s clear to see that there’s something for everyone in the world of screen printing.