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Four Color Or Simulated Process for Screen Printing on Dark Tee Shirts

Four Color Or Simulated Process for Screen Printing on Dark Tee ShirtsYou started a screen printing business and you buy shirts in bulk, but you already have your first major problem. Printing a full color image on a dark shirt is one of the hardest jobs a screen printer faces. A regular four-color printing process will use transparent inks: sky blue, hot pink, yellow and black, which will print in different percentages, then blending together forming a wide variety of colors.

While this custom printing process works fantastic on a white t-shirts when you buy shirts in bulk, the results will be poor at best on dark t-shirts, requiring making a white underbase and several passes of colors that end up with a thicker ink layer and muddies color. While there are some good four-color process that can be done on dark t-shirts, it takes a great amount of experimentation, time, and adjusting during the print run. But there is another way to achieve similar results much more easily.

Simulated processes use opaque inks in more than four colors, usually between six and eight (ranging from red, white, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, purple, and grey. Simulated process colors are usually printed wet-on-wet, with few flashes (a drying process while the shirt is still on the press). For example, you first buy shirts in bulk, then to create a flesh tone simulated process would use a mixture of tan, opaque yellow and possibly white. Since the colors are opaque, the dark background becomes a non-issue (or at least much less of one). And if individual, particular colors are needed (for example a exact shade of red for a business logo) they can be mixed to specification and individually printed.

Four Color Or Simulated Process for Screen Prinitng on Dark Tee ShirtsYou buy shirts in bulk, then you ask yourself, Why would you want to use four-color process at all? When done correctly and successfully, it is the most accurate version of full color reproduction. And for shops with smaller presses with fewer heads available, the multiple colors required for simulated process may not be possible at all. Also for subtle, nuanced art with slight changes in tone, such as pastels, the bright, solid colors of simulated process do not work well.

While screen printing images on dark shirts may be difficult, the results can be amazing and are worth the time and effort involved regardless of which type of printing you use. So get out there and buy shirts in bulk, get working, and start making that small fortune that other screen printers are enjoying this year.