Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Best Women's T-Shirts

The most popular brands of stylish women's T-Shirts I sell are Bella and American Apparel. Both offer a great looking scoop neck cotton T with cap sleeves.

This is the American Apparel version pictured here, style number #4321. The very similar Bella scoop neck T-Shirt is style number #1003, which can be seen on my web catalog by clicking the catalog button and searching for Bella 1003.

The American Apparel shirt is a bit cheaper that the Bella.

With the American Apparel, I can print 100 white shirts with a one color print for 5.25 per shirt. One hundred color shirts with a one color print are 5.95 per shirt with a dark color ink, and 6.25 per shirt with a light color ink. The one time set up fee of $35.00 for film and screen is extra.

The Bella is just a bit more expensive, and they have the advantage of not being owned by Dov Charney, but that is a whole other story!

While these are great prices, I note that I do not compete on price. I'm all about quality and service. I promise great printing and attention to detail. For example, I printed all of Margaret Cho's tour shirts from '99 to 2007. When Margaret was on tour and need another 400 shirt to magically appear at her next date in two days, I made it happen. That's what it's all about!

Steve Lafler
Manx Media

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How to Print Photos on T-Shirts

Who is the guy in this photo and what is he doing here??? Why, it's Ben Tanzer, writer of novels and short stories. He is also the publisher of This Blog Will Change Your Life.

I reproduce Ben's photo here as it's a good example of a photo that is good for screen printing. Why? Because it has a strong composition and high contrast. Here is how to screen print a photo or an illustrated continuous tone image as a halftone.

You want to use a high mesh count screen. I'd recommend a 305 mesh, but anything over 240 mesh will work. You will coat and expose your screen as usual. The key is to get your image on a film positive that will successfully reproduce the image.

Open the image in Photoshop and load your laser printer with clear vellum. Do not try to print a halftone film positive from an ink jet printer unless you have the proper rip software that can tell the printer how to make a halftone dot!

In Photoshop, go to color settings. Set the dot gain for 30%. Commercial printers usually set the dot gain at 20%, but T-Shirt printers set it at 30%.

Go to print the clear vellum, and when you get the print dialog box, open the screen dialog box. Set the screen frequency at 55 lines per inch. Set the dot shape to round if you are using a laser printer. Print the image to the clear vellum. This is your film positive and you can use it to burn your screen.

Try your normal exposure time. When developing the screen, use medium water pressure. If you hit the screen with too much pressure, you may blow out your half tone dots.

If the screen clogs, try again with a shorter exposure time. If the image washes o, increase your exposure time.

While printing, be sure to do some test prints before running shirts. Print on fabric test squares or newsprint to proof. Try one firm stroke -- sometimes two is too much and can blob your ink when printing halftones. It depends on the screen. If you are using a 305 mesh screen, it's more likely you can use two strokes than if you are using a 240.

Good Luck!

Steve Lafler
Manx Media

Ben Tanzer's new book is My Father's House. You can get it here.