Learn How To Screen Print With Catspit Productions, LLC
Printing Wet And Printing With A Flash Cure

The following is based on manual printing working with textile plastisol inks.

The ability to print wet is determined by one factor. That is the artwork. If you can set your artwork up so that all the registration is butt/butt then you should have no problem printing wet. Butt/butt simply means the edges of 2 different printed colors come edge to edge but do not overlap. This could be done with all of the colors including the black printer.

This creates a very low tolerance registration. That is to say that you will need to be able to register your colors precisely. It would probably be a good idea to have micro registration to do this. But printing wet will be faster in the long run.

The amount of ink you lay down with each print is also something to consider when printing wet. The next screen down will "pickup" a certain amount of ink off the shirt from the previous ink printed. So, we want to print an amount that is not going to cause a problem with the pickup factor. Just enough is best as a general standard.

The pickup of ink onto the back of consecutive screens will ultimately, over the duration of the print run, cause the print quality to suffer. It may appear fuzzy or blurry at the edges at some point. This is simply corrected by wiping down the substrate side of all of the screens at certain intervals throughout printing.

There is only one time; I can think of, that you must flash your print before moving to the next no matter what. And that is when you print an under base. An under base is often done when printing colors on dark garments. A layer of white ink is printed under and before all other colors. This allows the colors to stay true and maintain opacity over the dark fabric. When you print an under base, you must flash it before printing the subsequent colors. If you didn't, you would have a big muddy mess.

Flashing between prints is only done when the artwork has traps or layering that makes it necessary to print ink on top of ink. I think most printers avoid this type of artwork set up because it is slower than printing wet. It can be time consuming and riddled with variables associated with flashing.

Sometimes we might want to set the artwork up so that all the colors print wet and then are flashed before finally printing the black. This may be done for various reasons most often dealing with how the black is supposed to look in the final print. It may be that you want the black to overprint for aesthetic reasons.

Either way, you need to assess your end goals of the print run to decide how to print it. This decision may be weighted on the final print aesthetics desired. It may be that the original art dictates how it will be done anyway but for the most part, you should be able to choose to print wet or with a flash. Remember, artwork is the single most important step to creating an excellent, high quality print. If your artwork is not set up properly for screen printing, not only will the print look bad but the job could be very difficult to print.

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