To screen print on fleece hoodies is a significant challenge. Fleece is a very popular substrate with customers, so it behooves us to learn and practice good techniques for printing on this type of material. Indeed, the stakes are higher, as the cost of making a mistake on fleece is much greater than a t-shirt due to the higher actual costs associated with this fabric.
However, with a bit of practice and solid technique, printing on fleece doesn’t have to be the nightmare it is for some.
The process starts even before a design is chosen and colors are picked. It starts with talking with the client and communicating the obstacles and challenges you’ll face with printing on this substrate. Be sure your customer knows the limitations and is aware of the challenges you’ll face so that their expectations can be met.
A simple design works best
When it comes to printing on fleece hoodies, the simpler the design is, the better. This gives the print the best chance to be clear and easy to see. Since fleece requires a heavier ink deposit than t-shirts, an intricate design with great detail is not ideal.
Also, if you’re planning on placing the design on the back of the hoodie, make sure you take into account the hood and place the design accordingly, low enough so that the hood doesn’t cover the design.
The right ink for the job
Fleece is a much thicker material than what you’re probably used to printing on, namely a t-shirt. Therefore, when you screen print on fleece you need a heavier ink deposit. You can also try thinning your ink with a curable reducer.
To help reduce the risk of dye migration, a significant issue in fleece due to their polyester blend, use low-bleed inks because they are less prone to dye migration during the curing process.
Keep your fleece hoodie in place
Because fleece is a thicker material, it’s prone to shifting during the printing process. Unfortunately, this often causes poor registration and blurry prints.
To combat this, use a web spray pallet adhesive to help keep the fleece in place. This type of adhesive is able to hold down thicker substrates like fleece. The adhesive pulls away from the platen with the fleece, thus avoiding making a mess of the platen with the fuzz from the fleece. You may want to apply the adhesive multiple times during the printing process to achieve best results.
Again, due to the thickness of fleece hoodies, they have a tendency to hold moisture more so than other substrates, so they need to be cured properly. In order to do so, slow down your conveyor belt and increase the amount of time you cure them. Just be sure to avoid temperatures over 320 degrees, as those temperatures can lead to scorching of the garment.
In order to become proficient in screen-printing on fleece, you’ll need to experiment and find out what works best for you. If you have a larger operation with a production team, communicate with them to learn what issues they encounter and what recommendations they may have.
Be prepared to make adjustments often and as needed throughout the entire printing process. With a little time and experience, you’ll have your technique down and be your customers’ go-to source for screen-printing on fleece hoodies.
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