Screen printing on short sleeves, down the arm of a long-sleeve shirt or down the leg of sweatpants or yoga pants can be a fun option for your screen printing customers to customize their apparel. This type of screen printing is perfectly attainable and relatively easy, though it does take a few tips and tricks to ensure that the prints are properly placed and have the right look.
1. Use the right pallet
Screen printing on pant legs or shirt sleeves requires a special pallet. The same pallet is generally used for both, and they are marketed as shirt sleeve or sweat pant pallets. These pallets are narrower than traditional pallets and some taper to the bottom. These pallets work well for most adult-sized shirts and pants, though if you are looking to screen print on adult small or extra-small shirt sleeves or pant legs, or if you want to print on the legs and sleeves of children’s apparel, you likely will have to seek a custom pallet for your screen printing press.
2. Evaluate your screens
Depending on what type of print you’re laying down on pant legs and long sleeves, you may require an oversized screen. A standard screen will work for a short-sleeve screen print or a hip print on a pant, but if a customer wants an image or wording down an entire pant leg or long shirt sleeve, you may have to use a larger screen. Or, you may have to divide the image in two and use two separate screens to create one long, unified print.
3. Consider readability
Horizontal prints don’t take a lot of consideration on a pant leg or shirt sleeve, but if you are printing vertically, you will have to think carefully about the readability of your print. You will want to maintain a left-to-right word flow. Generally, that means printing from the cuff upward on the left sleeve or left pant leg and from the hip down on a right sleeve or pant leg.
4. Load your press the right way
Loading shirt sleeves and pant legs onto a press can seem awkward at first, but there are a few simple tricks to help you. With shirts, you want to load the garment through the collar to avoid having the shirt trail on the ground while you print. Some sleeve pallets have a center line that can be lined up with the center seam of a shirt shoulder for accurate print placement. Pants are loaded through the waist, also using the center pallet line as a guide.
5. Take care when off-loading your screen printed garments
More so than a typical shirt print, you need to be careful when removing a sleeve print or pant leg print from your screen printing press. Because these prints tend to be long, it can be difficult to offload these garments without allowing the uncured ink to smear. You will need to grab both to the top and bottom of the garment when offloading, and carefully transport it to and place it on your conveyor dryer for curing.
Screen printing on shirt sleeves and pant legs gives screen printed garments a trendy look. It’s a fun offering for your customers, and you might find customers coming to you to request it. The process is relatively simple, and by employing and mastering these few tips, your screen printing shop can profit from printing on shirt sleeves and pant legs.
For more information on screen printing garments in different locations, check out these blogs: