How to Fix Common Screen Printing Problems?

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screen printing

Does something like smooth screen printing even exist? Well, yes, as said- ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ while screen printing can increase your chances of uninterrupted screen printing with excellent results. Especially when you have your print store online, it is important that the prints your Web to print Software produce, give the exact prints on the garment. Creating perfect posters, canvases, fabrics, artwork, and textiles, everything can go through a sorting process to give you a problem-free and high-quality result printing.

Common Screen Printing Problems and How to Fix Them

Here are some of the common screen printing problems that you can fix them for a great end result:

1Fibrillation

This is when the fabric you are printing on looks frayed and raised. It can also appear textured and make your print quality rough and look unpleasant. Fibrillation often occurs when you are printing on top of a highly soft or lightly knitted fabric. It doesn’t mean that all soft fabrics will give horrible prints. If done right, then soft fabrics can produce beautiful prints too. When you are not keen on brushing the material for a softer touch, it will raise the fibers, giving the rough, ugly look.

The second situation can come out when you overwork the ink while printing. As you pull the ink back and forth during printing, the fabric can easily get distressed and ends up pulling the fibers up and away from the garment. Though fibrillation is a common problem, you can still prevent it from happening. How?

If any soft material is getting textured, then print on top of a tight-knit fabric. If the fibrillation occurs due to overworking the paint, then be conscious while pulling the ink. Ensure that you exert the right amount of pressure. Try using as few strokes as possible to complete the print.

If you use white ink on a dark-colored garment, flash cure the in-between garment prints to ink an extra layer of the barrier before settling down. By doing this, you prevent your fabric from fraying and your white ink from looking grey.

2Using The Wrong Ink

Using the wrong ink is familiar with fledglings, but even experienced printing professionals can use the wrong ink if they skip concentrating on the process. If you are a beginner at screen printing, you should be aware that not all inks are the same.

There are different inks used for different purposes and results. Most ink companies claim that their inks are print-ready, but this is not the actual cause. There are only a handful of the inks which are print-ready. While the majority of inks require you to mix them and even add additives before utilizing them thoroughly.

The mixing and additive adding wastes your time and also increases the chances of making mistakes. So, to avoid ink problems in the future-don’t overmix or add extra additives, as it will make the ink extra thin.

3Screen Getting Loose

Whenever you pass a squeegee over the mesh, the screen should snap off the substrate entirely by leaving nothing but a clean and crisp print behind. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, especially when you are printing many garments simultaneously.

The only reason for this is because using the screen repeatedly makes it lose, and the screen ripples across the substrate by smearing the ink, blurring the edges, and shifting the substrate’s surface. In the end, you will have a shoddy print.

So, to prevent this, you should always confirm if the screen has proper tension or not before you start any printing. To have perfect prints, your screen should have a tension ranging anywhere between 20 N/ (inch) 2 and 25 N/ (inch) 2.

You can also get away with lower tensions while printing mono colors, but ensure that the tension does not go below 20 Ne N/ (inch) 2 because you will start having color bleeding issues.

4The Ink Quick Drying

When the ink dries on the screen immediately after printing, it is known as quick-drying, affecting print quality. Quick-drying often occurs when you add too much ink into the print medium or leave the screen to dry between prints.

Now, to fix this quickly, take the screen to the washout booth, rinse it thoroughly, and start the process again.

5Stains On The Garments

Stains are normal, and they often occur on the garments you are screen printing for reasons like machine oil leaks during sewing, dirty hands, overking, and many others. to prevent the stains, you can:

  • Ensure your hands are clean all the time
  • Use dry lubricants
  • Keep the working area clean
  • Cover the screen printing materials when not in use
  • Practice regular wiping the machine and floor after oiling

6Screenprints Cracking

The screenprints should be sharp and flexible so that you can use them on everyday wearables like t-shirts, hoodies, etc. And for a great look, you will need your design to be clean and not cracked.

If you are new to this term- curing is how the ink dries and sticks to the garment. So, if you are constantly producing cracked prints, then the chances are that you might be curing them in the wrong way. For avoiding cracking, it is advisable to cure the prints at 320 degrees Fahrenheit for one minute.

7Image Bleeding

Image bleeding often occurs due to using excessive ink or misusing the squeegee. You can avoid bleeding by pouring the right amount of ink on the screen, then use a well-edge squeegee and push/pull the ink through the screen. While pulling the ink, ensure that the squeegee is at a 45-degree angle to the screen.

Here, you should avoid pulling the ink more than once; otherwise, you will put too much ink on the screen, resulting in bleeding.

8Substrate Movement

While printing, if your substrate is unstable, i.e., shaking or displacement, it is obvious to get blurred edges. These movements affect the entire image too.

For fixing this, first, you need to check your pallets to ensure they are not loose before screen printing.

Once they are good to go with, check the adhesives you use to keep the substrate in place. Here, you can also use spray additives because it is easy to apply. While printing heavier fabric, you may require a special additive to make the screen printing job done.

9Fix Stencil Problems

After setting up your screen printing machine properly, fixing all issues, but if still, you are getting problems with print quality? Then you should check for your stencils.

In case you do not expose emulsions properly, the chances are that the stencil edges may weaken and get washed out during printing.

Some of the very thin emulsions do not spread across the screen adequately, which causes blocks on the edges of your screen print.

10The Appearance of Lines in Emulsion

This usually happens when the blade of the coating is dirty or damaged. You will be able to see small specks of dried emulsion on the coating. This often happens when you don’t clean the blades properly as it dries over time.

Also, aluminum troughs are susceptible to damage as they are soft and vulnerable to rough use.

11Incomplete Screen Washout

This happens when the screen coated with emulsion dries over time, and in addition to that, light contaminates the screen before its exposure.

Here, you should strip the screen off and start again.

This may also occur when you print the garment on an incorrect mesh or with fine imagery. Moreover, it may also occur when the exposure time is too long.

So, you must ensure that you are using a 120T mesh to print extra-fine imagery with the correct exposure time.

Wrapping Up

Even though screen printing is easy, it still requires high skill and proper knowledge to prevent common or complex problems. While doing the printing, you should be cautious of each and every step to achieve clear and required end-quality results.

And now that you already know which mistakes you need to avoid and how to do so, you can proceed with a clean screen printing strategy for excellent results.

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