What do screen printers need to know about printing on specialty blends?

Long gone are the days filled with printing 100% cotton shirts. While they are still a large part of the garments printed, specialty blends are becoming more and more prevalent in our industry.

As printers, the most important thing we can do is keep an open mind and take a humble approach. We need to acclimate. As much as it would make it easier on all of us if there were a magic ink that printed fantastically on every substrate known to us, it just doesn’t exist. We are an industry that likes to automate and produce as many impressions as possible, but we’re also making a custom product for each order. Customization requires a lot of thoughtfulness and planning before jobs make it to press.

So, what can you do as a printer? Read manufacturer tech datasheets for your inks. Ink companies have put money into the research and development of their products, so you don’t have to. Take advantage. Call your sales rep and ask for help when printing on something new. Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide what garments you are willing to take a risk and print on. Specialty blends usually come in at a higher price point than 100% cotton, so be sure you are confident before printing a large order. Using the wrong product on a specialty blend can be a costly mistake if the product doesn’t turn out satisfactory.

—T&J Printing Supply

Aaron Harris

Aaron has 10+ years of experience in the screen printing industry as a printer and production manager. He previously held a position with T&J Printing Supply as an educator and regional sales representative.

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Charlie Fox

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