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Screen print on sweatshirts and hoodies - Things you should keep in mind

By: Diana Posted on: Sep 14, 2022
Screen Printing is perhaps the most widespread method for customizing hoodies and sweatshirts. This decoration technique creates vibrant and long-lasting prints and is considered a classic method for hoodies and sweatshirts. In this blog, we want to share with you tips from our customization experts to help you get better screen prints on blank hoodies and sweatshirts. Let's get started. 

Choose the best fabrics for screen printing 

Much like t-shirts, you can find hoodies made from pretty much every fabric option out there. You can pick from soft cotton, moisture-wicking polyester, fleece, blends, tri-blends, and more. Here is what you should know before customizing each of these. 

When it comes to screen printing, cotton hoodies (such as Gildan 18500, or Port & Company PC78H ) are one of the best fabric choices. It absorbs colors well and is also affordable, heat-resistant, and static-resistant. These features make cotton one of the easiest and most reliable choices for screen printing. 

Hoodies made from 100% polyester (for example Hanes P170Port & Company PC590H) and cotton-polyester blends are also suitable for screen printing, although it requires a bit more effort and experience. Since these synthetic materials are heat sensitive you will also need to take the steps to avoid overheating.  You also want to make sure that you are using plastisol or other ink types that are suited for the material. 

Know where to place your design 

Hoodies are versatile apparel that offers a variety of options to print your designs and get your message across. But they can be a little tricky to print on because of the seams, zippers, and pockets. Here are the popular printing locations for hoodies and what you need to know about each of them.

  • Avoid printing over seams, pockets, drawcords

The flatter the fabric surface, the higher the quality of screen printing. And with hoodies and sweatshirts, there are drawcords, pockets, and seams through hoodies when compared to t-shirts and other blank apparel. We recommend avoiding printing over thicker elements to avoid gaps and other issues. When printing on pockets of hoodies it is best to stick to a single color as it is difficult to ensure that the subsequent color will align properly. 

  • Hoods and back prints

If you are printing on the back side of a hoodie, make sure that the design is visible even when the hood is down. Most people who buy a custom hoodie prefer having the logo obstructed, whether they are putting on the hood or not. We recommend asking your customer if they want the logo to be visible all the time and placing your design accordingly. 

  • Printing on pullover hoodies vs zipper hoodies

With pullover hoodies (for example Gildan 12500, JERZEES 996M) the lack of zippers makes them an easy choice when you need a full front print that spans across the chest of the shirt. Zipper hoodies  (for example Gildan 18600Port & Company PC78ZHcould cause some issues if you want to print over the zip. 

Design features

Screen printing cannot fully capture the smaller details in the design when printing. It works best for solid designs that have just a few colors and details in them - think simple fonts, geometric shapes, and minimalist logos. Make sure to simplify your logos and make them suitable for screen printing before starting the project. 

Printing and post-printing tips

  • Use an underbase for printing on dark garments

Colors might not be as brilliant as you expect if you print them directly on a dark fabric. You can solve this by using a white (or other light colors) underbase.  

An underbase is a layer of ink that acts as a "base" for other colors to sit on. This layer will make the colors of your design stand out better. 

  • Use a vector file for your graphics 

It is recommended to use vector files for all your graphics whenever you can. Unlike other formats, vector graphics do not get pixelated and lose their image quality when resized. This ensures that your print stays nice and crispy no matter how big you scale it up.

  • Curing the printed hoodie

Curing the post-production technique that makes the screen print last longer. Ink must be cured properly so it sets into the garment and does not crack easily. But hoodies made from synthetic fabrics such as fleece or polyester could cause issues when it gets overheated. We recommend curing hoodies at a lower temperature for longer periods to avoid overheating. 

Ready to try out these tips for your next customization projects? Explore our blank hoodies and blank sweatshirt collection to find high-quality products for all your customization needs. 
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