Photos and other continuous tone images such as color illustrations turn out to be pixilated based images when they are converted to computer files. There are two methods for printing pixel based images on T-shirts, ink jet transfer and screen-printing.

Ink jet is the preferred technique for short run, full color printing, while screen-printing is the superior technique for longer print runs.


Things you’ll need:

  • Pixel based art file
  • PC
  • Adobe-Photoshop
  • Ink Jet paper
  • Ink jet printer
  • Laser printer
  • Iron
  • Clear vellum
  • Photo emulsion
  • Silk-Screen frames, 230 to 305 mesh
  • Halide -ight
  • Silk screen ink
  • Squeegees
  • Rotary silk screen pres

Make an ink jet transfer by opening your pixel based art file in Adobe-Photoshop. Flip the image horizontally and print on ink jet paper. Place the ink jet print face down over a blank t-shirt and iron evenly for five minutes, releasing the explicit to the t-shirt. For multiples up to 24 pieces, consider using a commercial ink jet transfer shop. Check pricing and excellence before ordering.

Pixel based photo plus art files can be prepared for screen printing using Adobe Photoshop software. Open the file in Adobe-Photoshop. From the edit pull down menu, select color settings. Set the dot gain to 30 percent.

For a scheme in one color ink, print the file on a piece of clear vellum to create a film positive. Load your laser printer with clear vellum. From the file pull down menu, select print. From the print dialog box, select screen. From the halftone screens dialog box, uncheck printer’s default screens. For incidence, enter 55 lines per inch. For shape, select round. Click OK, and then from the print dialog box, click print.

For projects with a filled color image, you must print four clear vellum sheets, create film positives for cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). Open your pixel-based color file in Adobe-Photoshop. From the image drop-down menu, select mode and choose CMYK color. Use the command Ctrl+1 to isolate cyan, and then print it on clear vellum. Use Ctrl+2 to isolate magenta and print. Use Ctrl+3 to isolate yellow and print. Use ctrl+4 to isolate black and print. In each case, change the line frequency to 55 lines per inch, and the shape to round in the halftone screens dialog small package.

Coat silk-screen frames with photo emulsion and let dry. For one color jobs with a pixel based image, coat and expose the image to a 230 mesh screen. For full-color CMYK pixel based images, coat plus expose the image to four 305 mesh screens. Expose by placing film positives on top of the coated screen and exposing to a halide light, then rinsing the image out with warm water.

Put the imaged silk screen frames in the rotary silk screen press. Add ink to the black silk screen plus print the black first on test fabric, pulling the ink with the squeegee across the image. Register the other colors to the black, lining up the registration marks in the corners. Add ink to the Yellow, Magenta and Cyan silk screen frames and print a fresh examination fabric, printing in this order, yellow, magenta, cyan then black.