Printing the Yonkers Marathon T-Shirts

Earlier this summer, I learned a method for printing two-color t-shirts using a single-color, one-station screen printing press. The method worked well for fifteen shirts, but this week I had to do the same thing on a much larger scale. I had to print 200, two-color t-shirts for the 2012 Yonkers Marathon and Half Marathon. These t-shirts are going to the volunteers for the race, to be staged on September 16.

Two-Color Printing

Although I have already written a description of the process, the following is an illustrated description of what I did for these shirts.

The first step is to print the artwork on two sheets, one for each color of the final print. The image of the waves, gazebo, and hilly profile is supposed to be in green so that is printed on one sheet of vellum. The text is supposed to be printed in black and is printed on its own sheet of vellum.

Two-Color Printing

I used the two sheets to burn a single screen. You could use two smaller screens, but I chose to do it one screen to save some money.

Two-Color Printing

The first step in the printing process was to print the green first. I arbitrarily chose to do that, but I later found that it was easier to print the black first and then print the green art around the black text. However, I am not convinced there was a wrong order to print these shirts since the two colors don’t overlap on the shirt.

Since I chose to print the green first, I covered the text with masking tape on both sides of the screen. However, in subsequent runs, I covered only the outside of the screen since it wouldn’t block the path of the squeegee as I print the shirts.

Two-Color Printing

Before I started printing, I printed out the artwork—both the illustration and the text—on a single sheet of paper. The art on the screen and the paper print were the same size because I used the same laser printer. I taped the paper print down to the printing board and aligned the screen with the artwork on the paper.

With the screen in proper alignment, I printed the illustration in green. I let the shirts hang on a clothesline, which took about two hours to adequately dry.

Two-Color Printing

After the shirt dried, I aligned the green print on the shirt with the sheet of paper on the printing board. Clearly, it helped that the shirt was white and that I could see through the shirt and the paper print underneath.

Two-Color Printing

As I had done with the first printing run, I aligned the screen with the paper print.

Two-Color Printing

The next step was to print the text in black. Since the screen and the shirt were aligned with the paper print, the black print was in the proper place on the shirt.

Two-Color Printing

Repeating the process 200 times was fairly easy and worked with near perfect results.

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