5 surprising screen printing effects for clothing printing



Screen printing is a versatile and exciting method of printing onto clothing, and there are many interesting and surprising effects you can get from screen printing – some you may not have heard about yet! We’re passionate about printing here at Garment Printing – so we wanted to share these surprising and unique screen printing effects with you! 

What is screen printing? 

First of all, let’s talk about what screen printing actually is. For some people, they may know screen printing as serigraphy, and serigraph printingIf you don’t know much about this process, here’s the rundown… 

Screen printing is a very popular printing technique where a mesh is used to transfer ink onto an item (in this case clothing or fabric), all except the areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil. By blocking these parts of the screen (known as the negative space) you start to create your image and print. You can build up your layers and colours, and often some of the most interesting screen printing pieces have multiple colours and look incredibly complex.

Beyond this basic process, there are many ways of mixing up the screen printing process to make exciting and unique designs, and these are the ones we’ll focus on in this piece. 

Effect 1: Ombre / Gradient Effects 

Ombre colours are so trendy right now, and people love seeing colours gradient through a design, changing subtly from one shade to another. Sometimes people are doubtful we can get the ombre effect they want – but you’d be surprised how well screen printing takes to this colour technique. It’s a fun and fresh take on the ‘rainbow’ colour scale and we love seeing it in designs. 

Effect 2: Puff Additive 

There are some standard water based inks that can actually be mixed successfully with a puff additive. Why would you do this? Well it’s pretty simple – adding in the puff additive gives the text or design a ‘raised’ effect upon interacting with the heat. It makes it a little puffy, and looks reminiscent of embroidery. It’s really unique and looks really eye catching and cool.  

Effect 3: Metallic Inks 

Metallic Inks are so in style right now. Actually there’s no better way of making a t-shirt design stand out, than to add some metallic ink to the design. The metallic ink catches the light beautifully – and we’ve found with certain t shirts (such as music focussed shirts for example) it adds that extra bit of personality and wow-factor. 

Effect 4: Reflective inks 

Next up on our list, and something just as eye-catching and intriguing as metallic inks, are reflective inks. These specialist inks have reflective particles incorporated within, and give designs a unique reflective shine and mirror effect. We love this effect, and it works amazingly for t shirts with bold designs. 

Effect 5: Layering text and shapes 

Layering is pretty classic in the world of screen printing, but using layering to give the illusion of opacity is relatively new. We love how this looks, and we think it gives t shirts a vintage / retro style feel too. It works great for designs with bright colours, and designs with bold lettering or text. 

Want to know more? 

Do you want to know more about t-shirt printing? Or maybe you’d like to place an order for t shirts or other merchandise. If so, we’d love to talk to you about your needs and help you design and order your ideal items. 

Our printing specialists are always on hand to help if you have any questions, so feel free to get in touch with us. We have many years experience here at Garment Printing, so your order is in the safest hands.

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