Introduction: How to Print a T-shirt on Printing Press

Picture of How to Print a T-shirt on Printing Press

My super awesome printmaking teacher showed us this cool project of printing linoleum blocks onto tshirts. This is a fun and messy project so lets get started!

You will need:
A tshirt
Oil based block printing ink (Speedball is awesome!!)
Thin cardboard
Ink roller
Pre-carved linoleum block with design
Printing press
News print
Optional ---gloves

Step 1: Step One Prime the Press

Picture of Step One Prime the Press

Place large piece of newsprint on the press to protect the surface. Save a larger piece to place over your shirt when it is going through.

Step 2: Step 2, Prepare the Shirt

Picture of Step 2, Prepare the Shirt

Place cardboard between the shirt and lie it on the press with the blanket up.

Step 3: Step 3, Roll Out Ink

Picture of Step 3, Roll Out Ink

Place your ink on your palate, roll with roller till smooth and not thick and gloppy.

Step 4: Step 4, Ink Lineoleum

Picture of Step 4, Ink Lineoleum

Take your roller and ink up your linoleum block. Ink should look very vibrant and not dull and thin. The better coverage on the block, the better the color will be on the shirt. I chose a block I made from a photo of my dog. It has become a super popular print!

Step 5: Step 5, Place Block on Shirt

Picture of Step 5, Place Block on Shirt

Place your block on your shirt where you would like your image. If you decide to do a 4 block pattern (like the one I did) save room for the other top block, and the two bottom blocks.

Step 6: Step 6, Run Through Press

Picture of Step 6, Run Through Press

The press should be set to a setting that will flatten the bejebus out of your project. (You will feel the resistance when you run the press) If press is too loose or too tight, you can adjust the pressure on the top of the press....

When all is set on the press.......

Place other sheet of newsprint over tshirt. Also place the blanket of the press over the tee. Turn the wheel of the press till shirt has gone through twice. (Shirt will go once to the back, 1st run, then when the press table returns, it will be the 2nd run.)

Step 7: Step, 7 Retreving Shirt

Picture of Step, 7 Retreving Shirt

Lift up the press blanket and peel off the newsprint. (You should notice the image embossed in the newsprint, it also may have some excess ink on it.) Peel off your lino block and look at your shirt. If you like at at this point, remove the cardboard and let dry. (Skip the next step) But If you would like to do the "Warhol" style (4 block, side by side) like mine you still have a few steps to go.

Step 8: Step 8, Finshing Off Pattern

Picture of Step 8, Finshing Off Pattern

For this particular pattern it probaly would have been easier if I made 4 blocks....well I didnt and came up with this design on the fly.
Since 2 of the 4 blocks are made I alternated the pattern and color. So since I used the block with black first I put the red underneath it and the second black block next to it. (Since I got a tad of unwanted ink on this shirt, I took a brush and made little ink splatters to make it look intentional.) You could always use 4 different colors...ITS YOUR DESIGN AND THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!!! 

Step 9: Step 9, Run the Second Block Set

Picture of Step 9, Run the Second Block Set

Run your second set of blocks through the press as you did before. If you didnt carve out 4 blocks (like I should have) place another piece of linoleum on top of the wet ink to protect it from the press blanket. 

Step 10: Step 10, Peel Off Blocks and Let Dry

Picture of Step 10,  Peel Off Blocks and Let Dry

As the instructions say, peel off your blocks and let dry. You will also want to remove the cardboard that is between your shirt. I usually hang the shirts in a warm area. Ink should dry in 24-48 hours.  Ink takes a week for full cure. After the full cure process has finished, throw in dryer for a full cycle by its self. 

Now you have an awesome and unique shirt :)

Comments

Strombergundy (author)2011-11-18

Very cool! Unfortunately I think the biggest step is 'step one: get access to a press' :/

But I bet it would be possible to hand print it with a baren or a spoon. Maybe even by standing/dancing on a piece of plywood on top of the shirt/blocks.

pyromonkey (author)Strombergundy2011-11-18

Very true, you can buy smaller presses (table top sized ones) but I dont know if they are big enough to pass a t-shirt through. All the press does is flatten out the block...probably a really heavy book would work. Your idea would be a good one to try as well :)

coopgrl88 (author)pyromonkey2011-11-18

place between 2 pieces of wood and use vise clamps could work too...creating even pressure with less chance of movement. so many ways to get to the same destination :)

pyromonkey (author)coopgrl882011-11-25

Very true :)

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