Just the thought of screen printing on a camouflage shirt can be enough to strike fear into many screen printers. It is a challenge to be sure, especially compared to standard garments, but nothing to be intimidated by.
When it comes to camo screen printing, the main issue you’ll face is dye migration. The camo is printed onto the garment, so screen printers encounter issues of ink migrating from that camo print to the screen print they place on the garment, as the drying process causes those camo-printed dyes to go back to a liquid state.
So the number one goal with camouflage prints is to help reduce the instances of ink bleeding on the camo garments.
How do we do this? Here are a few simple tips:
Choosing the right ink
You must find the right ink and couple it with the proper cure temperature. Use an ink that is formulated for high-bleed resistance. Examples include a poly white or a ultra-white. Many screen printers recommend using a polyester ink like One Stroke white or Wilflex Epic inks because they cure at a much lower temperature.
For the garment being printed on, use a mesh count of 140 or lower, and add an under base to the garment, like an under base gray or white, which helps to neutralize the color of the migrating dye.
Cure at a low temperature
When curing, you’ll want to find the lowest temperature possible, but that still cures well. Curing at the lower temperature tends to help lessen the camouflage ink from migrating through the screen print design.
The steps then are to print, flash, print, and dry. We recommend a drying temperature no higher than 320º Fahrenheit and a minimum dry time of one to one and a half minutes.
As is always the case, these numbers can and do vary based on your specific circumstances, but they’re a good baseline. And remember, always test your inks beforehand.
Like other garments, camo screen printing requires patience and a little trial and error. Once you’ve done it a few times and seen success, you’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming your clients’ go-to source for screen printing on their camouflage prints.
And when you’re ready to shop for mod or digi camo, our new website consolidates all three of our brands – Augusta Sportswear, Holloway, and High Five – into one cart, allowing quicker shipping and volume discounts. Get started today.