During the winter, many people choose fleece fabrics for having merchandise screen printed on for their business, club, or what have you, especially here in Reno Nevada where there is plenty of snow on the ground. With this, we have noticed that fleece is one of the most difficult fabrics to print on due to consistency of the fabric, the variable off contact distance and many more variables. Below are a view tips to help with printing on fleece for winter wear. Please contact Branded Screen Printing & Design if you have any questions.
1. Minimize artwork detail. Bold, thick prints work better on fleece fabric than thin, detailed designs.
2. Right mesh — right tension. Be prepared to lay down more ink without too much pressure. If your normal job calls for 125 monofilament mesh, lower it to 86 for fleece. Also, use retensionable frames because the higher tension screen lets the ink clear out with less squeegee pressure. Screens tensioned to 35 to 40 Newtons will provide sharp prints. Finally, get a cleaner print by adjusting your off contact to higher than normal to account for the thicker material.
3. Use a medium or medium-hard squeegee. A hard blade requires more pressure to get the ink through the screen and will drive the ink into the garment. Also, use a lighter stroke (maybe two) so you don’t have to muscle the ink.
4. Use thicker inks. If ink is too thin, it will “gain” more and fall into the material when the print should lie on top of fleece fabric.
5. Minimize bleeding. Use a low-bleed ink on 50/50 fleece fabric. For best results, do a print/flash/cure/print again sequence or print an underbase of low-bleed or fast-fusion white ink to give a smooth surface for the top colors.
6. Stick to it. Be prepared to use spray adhesive after each print, or use pallet tape or pallet paper that has adhesive on both sides. Another alternative is to use a pallet cover that has adhesive on one side, then apply spray adhesive to the other.
7. Take the temperature. Keep the garment surface temperature around 325°F because light-colored material can scorch and dark 50/50 fleece fabric may bleed. If you are printing a white underbase, the garment may actually move or shrink slightly, so use plenty of adhesive and keep flashing times to a minimum.