When it comes to clothing designs, it is impossible to find the exact design that’s on your mind. There is always some detail that’s off. And when you are a perfectionist like us, that is just not acceptable. When it comes to workout clothing and customized gym clothing, we want the designs to be nothing less than perfect. We are sure you are the same way.
Want to know how to make your own gym clothing and see how the Awtsu Fitness Apparel production process is? You are in luck, because today, we will give you a step by step process on silk screen printing. Yes, you read that right, now you can print the design you want on your t-shirt, sando or hoodie. Not only would it be just what you wanted, but it will also be one of a kind. Are you ready to be inspired?
Great, let’s begin!
Things You Need
First things first, let’s talk about the things you need to print your designs on your gym clothing.
- You need a blank screen that is pre-stretched in a mesh wooden frame – you can get that online or in most printing shops. There are a few videos you can watch that will tell you the process of making a blank screen.
- Photo emulsion - make sure you don’t buy the big gallon can of it when you are first getting started. It is easily available online and you can find it by searching for “screen printing photo emulsion.”
- Transparency paper for transferring the designs to the screen
- 150 watts high powered incandescent globe
- Squeegee - to spread the ink and photo emulsion evenly over the screen
- High-quality inks - Depending on how many colors your design has, try to make it as simple as possible using one color if you are still starting out, you can get a screenprint starter kit from most printing shops.
- Packaging Tape to stop the ink from leaking out from other parts of the screen
- A blank gym clothing, you can get blanks from Awtsu Fitness Apparel, ranging from t-shirts, openside sando, openside hoodies, muscle hoodies, sweat shorts, and joggers.
- Rags - To clean if you make a mess
- High-pressure water gun to clean the silkscreen
- A hairdryer or heat press machine(optional) to make the screenprints set and hard.
- You also need a pan that is easily available at any supermarket.
Step 1: Getting Started
To get started, open the photo emulsion container and pour it in the pan so that you can coat the screen with it. Make sure that the solution doesn’t get exposed to direct light. So, we recommend you turn the lights off while doing this or do this process in dim lighting as quickly as possible to avoid ruining the photo emulsion.
Once you are done, follow the directions on the emulsion container to combine the ingredients, pour the mixture into your screen using the squeegee and spread softly and drag it upwards to coat the screen with the emulsion. Repeat the process on the backside as well. Once the coat is done, keep the screen in the darkest place possible. It will take about three hours for the screen to dry.
Step 2: Making the Design
You don’t need to be a world-class artist to make a design. Just download an app called paint.net online for free and you are good to go. If you have more expertise in computer applications, our in-house designers use Photoshop and Illustrator to create the designs.
Once the program launches, click on “new” and change the dimensions to inches. Keep the width at 11 inches and the height at 8.50 inches. Once done, click on the ruler tool to get the ruler scale, and then make the design you want. You can do both characters and letters in this app. Make sure that the design is at the center of the page. Also, make sure that you only use the black color to make your design. Once done, print your design using a laser printer on a transparency paper.
Step 3: Printing the Design
Place the transparency paper with the design back to the front on the screen. Then take the screen outside and put it under the sun or if you have a bright light set up at home using a 150 watts incandescent globe, place the design close to the light approximately 30cm above. Because of the black ink of your design, the heat will harden the screen everywhere but your design.
Once done, using a sink with normal temperature water, wash out the screen using a high-pressure water gun and a soft sponge, gently remove all the emulsion that is blocked by the light. It may take a while to remove all the emulsion, so be patient and thorough that the design on the screen looks correct and clean. You should be able to see through the areas where you want the ink to transfer through, try not to rub the screen with your nails. Once it’s done, leave it to dry.
The amount of time you will need to leave the screen out under the light varies from the type of emulsion used so make sure you read the instructions carefully and how powerful the light you are using. The brighter the light, the less time the design will need to settle. You can use one screen to print over 200 shirts.
Step 4: Tape up the screen
Using the packing tape, cut out and place around the inside of the screen to prevent the ink from running into edges that would go through and leak out into the garments. At this time pin-holing is also checked. By using bright light on one side carefully checking the screen for specs in the screen where the emulsion was missed or washed out and is not part of the design. Cover pin holes that lights get though with tape or emulsion pen.
Step 5: Transferring the Design to your gym clothing
Now comes the fun part – transferring your design to your shirt. Keep your shirt on a hard flat surface and put a newspaper under it. Put the screen on top of the t-shirt where you want the design to go. You can use clips or clamps to mesh them together, so the screen won’t move during the printing process.
If you have a printing press setup like what we have in Awtsu Fitness Apparel it will make things easier as the screen frame is attached and aligned to the fabric better.
After that, take some screen-printing ink in an old spoon and spread it on top of the screen. Use the squeegee and move it back and forth on the screen to spread or pull the ink. Once you are sure the design is on the shirt, lift the screen carefully.
Step 6: Drying the ink
Leave the clothing to dry and use the hair dryer to apply heat to the ink to make it dry quicker, make sure to keep the dryer at a distance to avoid distorting the ink, another alternative is to place a heat transfer paper on the top of the design using an iron or heat press machine to cure the ink. Curing a PVC (plastisol) ink generally takes 30 seconds at 320 degrees. For best results to cure the ink is by using a heat press machine with a timer, this is the exact process what we do in Awtsu Fitness Apparel and it's that easy, you have your gym clothes with your own custom design!
The Whole Silk Screen Printing Process
Isn’t this easy? Are you ready to start printing your custom-designed gym clothing or custom t-shirts? If this is too complicated for you then you can always let the Awtsu Fitness Apparel team do the above steps and get your own custom-designed silk screen gym clothing done quickly and perfect!
Let us know how you go if you have any questions feel free to ask our team on our Awtsu Fitness Apparel Facebook Page