Custom t-shirt printing solutions have been earning yearly revenue of $2 billion every year and attained a yearly growth figure of 2.8%. It is no surprise that everyone, with an artistic bent of mind would desire having a customised t-shirt. However, online suppliers can sometimes seem to be unreasonable. This has caused several artists in Australia to opt for DIY drying and curing inks. The process will not only save you money but will also be fun and entertaining! Who knows – you would be opening your own custom t-shirt printing business soon!
How to get going with printing your ideas on t-shirts?
All you need is colour presses (a minimum of 4 basic colours to start with); a heat gun and half a dozen of plain / solid coloured t-shirts. All of this can be easily purchased from online stores like e-bay. However using the combination of colour presses and heat guns can be tricky at first and needs a little bit of practice and throwing away some t-shirts before you make a satisfying design.
Discharge inks need an average of 30-45 seconds for curing. Cure it less and the colour gets blown away on the first wash itself. Cure more and you will get shiny and distracting patches that ruin the whole design. It is only after the 30-45 seconds that you get to see the colour changes. However, t-shirts in general tend to get screened faster, even before it gets adequately cured. To start with, stick to a smaller design. For larger ones, you can place a foil steam table or an inverted warming tray. This should balance the screening and curing time for about 45 seconds with 320-350 degree showing up on your heat gun.
Be patient as you need to count to 45 for every half a sq. inch of the screening! However, if you want to upgrade, you can always go for a forced air flash dryer. It is the best equipment (DA-1616 or DA-2020) for bigger screenings with a coverage area of 16” x 16” along with an infrared heat source.