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What To Know When Printing Your Custom T Shirts

Silkscreen Printing is a complex process which has been used for many decades as a method of printing high quality images onto various promotional items such as T Shirts.

Over the years, silkscreen printing has been made vast improvements in order to cater to the rising number of requests for prints at a more affordable cost. However, as all complex processes we leave it to the professionals and here at The Cottonink would like to share with you a few things to take note off when printing your Customized Tees.


Silkscreen Printing has a very standardized area of prints for all T Shirt which includes :

I) Across the Front of the Chest

II) Left and Right Side of the Chest

III) Across Upper Back

IV) Left or Right Sleeve

V) Full A4/A3 Sized Front Print

VI) Full A4/A3 Sized Back Print

Keep in mind, all silkscreen prints are generally needed a 1.5-2 inch space from the seams of the shirts. (Example in the image above of what cant be printed with silkscreen printing).

This is because silkscreen blocks are made as per the below image. If the frame of the screen is placed on the seam it will result in an uneven printing which will affect the print quality.

However, with custom-sewn materials (which normally has a MOQ of about 100 Pieces) printing can be done across some parts of the seams resulting in the 1.5-2 inch spacing being not needed. It would be best and the safest to also check with your local printer.

Print Size

The Print size of your design is by far one of the most important aspects when it comes to printing, print it too small and it wont stand out. Print it too big and it is in your face.

To get the perfect print size is sometimes difficult for our clients when deciding on their Custom T Shirt Printing so here is some of the Standard Printable sizes for Silkscreen Printing

  1. A6 Print Size - 4.1 Inch W X 5.8 Inch H ( 10.5 Cm W X 14.8 Cm H )

  2. A5 Print Size - 5.5 Inch W X 8.3 Inch H ( 14.8 Cm W X 21 Cm H )

  3. A4 Print Size - 8.3 Inch W X 11.7 Inch H ( 21 Cm W X 29.7 Cm H )

  4. A3 Print Size - 11.7 Inch W X 16.5 Inch H ( 29.7 Cm W X 42Cm H )

Any prints that exceed the A3 Print Size ( Maximum Print for a screen ) will require an extra screen to be done up in order to meet the print requirements. However, it would be recommended that the design size be tailored within the measurement size range as it would ensure a more affordable costing.

Artwork File

Ah, the Artwork File. Have you ever had a file sent in to your printer and they tell you that the file is not printable and they would require a high Definition ( Preferably AI File ).

This is simply because, Silkscreen Printing is a High Definition printing process. The design to be reproduced on your company uniform will be dependent on the quality of your Artwork File.

If the File is pixelated and stretched, all the blurry details in the logo will be also printed out during the silkscreen process. Best Files to have sent to your printers are : 1) AI ( Adobe Illustrator ) 2) High Definition PDF File

3) High Definition PS ( Photoshop File )

Files Not Recommended are :

1) JPEG File

2) PNG File

Another thing to remember is to ensure all artwork has an "outline created". This will ensure that all details of the artwork in the files wont go missing upon the file being sent over to the printer.

Speaking of missing details, upon sending the artwork file; your local printer will send through a Mock-up of your design on the shirt for approval. This is a key part in the printing process as you are able to check all details and confirm with the printer before the final Screens are made.

All in all, if you are looking to start your own clothing line or in charge of creating your new company uniforms. These few tips before printing would go a long way to help you get a better grasp on the printing industry. If you do need any further information do feel free to contact you local uniform supplier / Printer.

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