How to Print Shirts

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Choosing the Correct Mesh

Here’s a quick video highlighting how to choose the correct mesh for your next screen printing job. Notes will be posted below the video. Enjoy!

In this video we explain how to choose the correct mesh for your screen printing job.

110 & 155 Mesh – White ink, large open areas, athletic numbering, low detail art
230 & 305 Mesh – Halftone dots, simulated process, CMYK process, thin ink deposits

Un-Dyed Mesh – Larger mesh openings, less detail, shorter exposure time
Dyed Mesh – Smaller mesh openings, more detail, longer exposure time

Thick thread – More durable mesh, smaller mesh openings
Thin thread – Less durable mesh, larger mesh openings

General recommendations:

110 Mesh – White on black, more opacity in one stroke
155 Mesh – White on black, less opacity in one stroke
230 Mesh – Colors, some simulated process, halftone dots
305 Mesh – CMYK Process, halftone dots

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Filed under: Screens, Videos

Screen Reclaiming: The Dip Tank Process

Screen reclamation tends to be most screen printers’ least favorite part. Removing ink, emulsion, haze and tape isn’t near as much fun as creating artwork or actually printing the t-shirt. What many printers don’t realize is that there is a much easier, quicker, cleaner and cheaper way to reclaim screens – dip tanks.

Dip Tank

Four screen dip tank (Up to 25"x36")

Dip tanks are usually made out of polythylene and can normally hold four to eight screens. The tank is filled with water or a water/chemical mix depending on what the printer is attempting to achieve. Let’s dive into how the dip tank can help you in your screen printing business.


The screen reclaiming process generally has four steps: ink removal, emulsion removal, haze removal and degreasing. With each step you are required to apply the chemical to the mesh, scrub the mesh thoroughly and then rinse it out.

Here’s a cost and time breakdown in the standard method:

  • Ink remover applied, scrubbed and rinsed: .25 per application
  • Emulsion remover applied, scrubbed and rinsed: .10 per application
  • Haze/stain remover applied, scrubbed and rinsed: . 28 per application
  • Degreaser applied, scrubbed and rinsed: .03 per application

This process on average can cost 66 cents per screen in chemicals and take about 10 minutes.

With the dip tank reclaiming process you can cut over half of the time and cost. Simply card off excess ink, remove tape and place the screen in the dip tank with your solution and water mix. After one or two minutes, remove the screen from the tank and rinse it. Apply a haze remover/degreaser combination product and rinse once more.

Here’s a cost and time breakdown in the dip tank method:

  • Screen placed in dip tank with solution/water mix and rinsed: .15 per application
  • Haze/stain remover applied, scrubbed, and rinsed: .09 per application

This process on average can cost 24 cents per screen in chemicals and take about 4 minutes.

As you can see, you can cut around 60-65% of your cost and time using a dip tank. This averages out to be 42 cents savings in chemicals and 72 cents savings in labor costs (assuming you are paying the current minimum wage cost, $7.25 per hour) for a total of $1.14 per reclaim in savings.

Now, how long will it take us to recoup our investment in a dip tank? If our tank costs $450.00 and we save $1.14 in each reclaim, it will only take 395 reclaims to pay for the tank. After the tank is paid for, how much money will you save by having it in use at your shop?

  • 10 screens / week – $592.80 / year savings
  • 25 screens / week – $1,482.00 / year savings
  • 100 screens / week – $5,928.00 / year savings

There are other benefits of using a dip tank system:

  • Less water usage
  • Cleaner wash out booth area
  • Better attitude from your employee who cleans screens
  • Streamlined process that is easier to teach and retain

As you can see, the many benefits of using a dip tank will quickly offset it’s initial cost. The numbers in this article portray an average screen printing shop. You may be able to reclaim faster or slower than this. Plug your own production numbers into the formula and see what you come up with.

Things to Consider

As great and easy as the dip tank process can be, there are a few things one must realize when they are purchasing a dip tank.

  • Dip tanks don’t work magic. A three year old stencil will be just as tough to reclaim in a dip tank as it would be by hand. Dip tanks work best with stencils that are six months or newer.
  • You will want to ensure that your frames are properly sealed. A frame with a hole or a leak will take on water inside the tank.
  • Wooden frames may warp quicker if they are left in the dip tank for an extended amount of time. Be sure to leave any wooden frames in the dip tank no longer than is necessary.

In Conclusion

Implementing a dip tank system in your screen printing business will allow you to save time and money reclaiming screens while maintaining a cleaner work space and improving employee attitudes. I challenge you to input your own numbers into the formula and see how much money and time you can save by investing in a dip tank.

– Tance Hughes is President of Tesep Supply Company. The company sells textile screen printing supplies and offers training to new and existing screen printers.

Filed under: Chemicals, Screens, , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Form of Advertisement

The task of promoting your business always remains close to or at the top of our to-do lists. Whether you’re a new business trying to spread the word about your new venture or an established company that’s attempting to broaden your customer base, an advertising campaign is always an integral part of your growth strategy.

While advertising in traditional media is always our first thought, let’s think about the most important form of advertising out there that has the best chance to make (or break) our business – word of mouth.

We’ve all asked a friend or colleague for their opinion on a store, restaurant, or product. Why? They offer (usually) an unbiased view of that particular business. If they had a good experience, they are going to give their approval. If they had a bad experience, they are going to voice their disapproval.

Not only is this the most effective form of advertisement, but it is also the cheapest! You don’t have to pay a satisfied customer to sing your praises, they’ll do it for free.

So how do we maximize the investment we make in our customers? Let’s take a look at five key points that are essential to creating a happy customer:

  1. Get to know your customer – Learn what they like and dislike. Become familiar with their expectations. If you begin to think ahead of them and prepare things the way they like them, their comfort level with you increases dramatically.
  2. Attention to detail – Be attentive to your customer’s requests. Remember what they tell you the first time. Keep notes pertaining to the order. Go the extra mile to ensure that every little detail is exactly as they envisioned.
  3. Respond promptly – Did the customer e-mail you or leave you a voicemail? Make sure to respond to their message as quickly as possible. This ensures that the customer feels valued and important and not just another number.
  4. Produce quality – Use quality materials to produce your work. The cheapest white ink isn’t always the best, and doesn’t always give as many prints as a more expensive white ink. Ensure the garments have no defects. Double check spelling and sizing before outputting your artwork. The list goes on and on.
  5. Go the extra mile – Finish the job ahead of the due date. Deliver the order to the customer. Throw in an extra garment or two. Receiving extra freebies always earns you a gold star!

With the explosion of social media, customers have more outlets than ever to share their experiences with others. Having a good reputation with others can exponentially help you if that message is delivered where users can view others experiences on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Having a bad reputation can also quickly ruin any credibility you may have had with a potential client.

When you start to think about these things, you realize this isn’t rocket science. Simply doing your job the right way and going over and above for your clients can prove to be one of the best investments in advertising you could ever imagine.

– Tance Hughes is President of Tesep Supply Company. The company sells textile screen printing supplies and offers training to new and existing screen printers.

Filed under: Business, , , ,

Quick Tips: Buying Used Equipment Online

The internet has helped facilitate many transactions between buyers and sellers of used screen printing equipment and supplies. Unfortunately for some buyers, the package received doesn’t always match up with the description provided by the seller.  Here’s a few basic guidelines to follow when buying any used (or new) equipment and supplies from other individuals on classified forums or other websites.

Pictures – Be sure that the seller can provide pictures of the product. In this day and age, everybody has a camera phone, digital camera, or camera on their computer. If the seller can’t provide a picture of the product, stay away.

Get it in writing – Ask for an invoice or receipt. Ensure that every item is listed and priced as agreed by the two parties. Be sure that any tax or shipping costs are also mentioned.

Check local listings – See if you can find any of the products that you want in your area first. Customize your search options and see if you can pick-up locally or cut down the shipping time.

Payment options – Pay in a form such as credit card or check. Wiring money can become a problem if you have to get a refund due to a dispute or incorrect product. Have record of the transaction in form of a receipt and invoice if at all possible.

Be sure to cover all your bases before purchasing anything from an individual over a classifieds forum or other website. Have record of every transaction. You don’t want to get burned and have no way of getting a refund!

– Tance Hughes is President of Tesep Supply Company. The company sells textile screen printing supplies and offers training to new and existing screen printers.

Filed under: Equipment & Supplies, Quick Tips, , , , , , , ,

Exposure Step Test

Here’s an article by Murakami Screen on how to properly create an Exposure Step Test as well as how to evaluate your results.

– Murakami Screen is a manufacturer of screen printing products such as emulsion, chemicals, dip tanks, and other accessories.

Filed under: Screens, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

Quick Tips: Which Adhesive Do I Use?

There are two types of adhesives that are used in the screen printing industry, aerosol and water based. We will outline the pros and cons of each and tell you which one we recommend that you use.



  • Doesn’t require a halt in production.
  • Quicker to use.


  • Overspray gets on everything.
  • End users tend to breathe in overspray.
  • Must be used more often due to less tack.

Water Based


  • Doesn’t make a mess.
  • Lasts longer between applications.
  • Much healthier for end users.


  • Takes a little bit longer to apply.

After reading the pros and cons, I am sure you know which one we will recommend.

Aerosol adhesive is not only bad for your health, it’s bad for the overall cleanliness of your shop. Take the little bit of extra time required and use water based adhesive if you truly care about these things.

– Tance Hughes is President of Tesep Supply Company. The company sells textile screen printing supplies and offers training to new and existing screen printers.

Filed under: Quick Tips, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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