May '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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96 | Printwear M ay 20 1 4 20 1 4 M ay Printwear | 97 Direct-to-Bag Printing Direct-to-garment printers can print on many substrates; bags are one of the most popular items for the machines. The pro- cess is almost identical to T-shirt printing. 1. Make sure the bag is made from natu- ral fibers for the best results. Materials like 100 percent cotton, canvas and hemp are the most popular for DTG printing. 2. Make sure the printer is ready to start a print job—i.e. has performed any required head cleans, print nozzle check, etc. 3. Prepare the image. Make sure that it is sized properly for the print area on the bag and works for the size of the print table on the printer. Make any adjust- ments in PhotoShop or the printer's RIP program if the tools are available. 4. Pre-treat the bag with the same pre-treatment used for dark garment printing—no matter what! Most bags are not as smooth as a T-shirt and are much more porous. Even if you are not printing white ink, the pre-treat- ment will help give the bag a better print surface. 5. Place the bag onto the print table/ platen. Use a table that allows the edges of the bag to hang over. (Hav- ing the options to use other size print tables/platens helps.) Make sure that the bag is nice and flat with the edg- es tucked in via a tuck lock or hoop. The hardest part will be getting the bag's handle out of the way. This can be done by letting the handle hang down and over the top or bottom of your ta- ble. If the bag fits better upside-down, load it that way and flip your graphic around 180 degrees before printing it. 6. Before you print onto the bag, double check the table height. Make sure it is safe from the highest point of the area being printed on. It's always better to be safe than sorry—print head strikes may ruin the bag and, worse yet, the print head itself. 7. Print the graphic in the same manner as you would a T-shirt (use the same settings in your RIP program). It is al- ways a good idea to have an extra bag to use for practice, to help with proper placement and check print settings be- fore you start your production run. 8. Cure the print. Use the same settings you use for T-shirts on your heat press. If using a bag that may be damaged by the heat press, use a heat gun to cure the ink. Paul Green, OMniPrint intl. Fleece tiPs Personalized fleece gloves can make for a profitable add-on or standalone sale. Here are tips for embroidering on fleece: • Fleece should be topped to keep the stitches from falling into the pile. Or, you can go without topping when you put in a light fill below your design so that you do not have to soak your product. This works well for intricate designs. • To save stitches in large file designs (i.e., sports logos, corporate logos, etc.), re- duce the fills and the column stitching by 10 percent. This provides a nice hand to the design so it does not feel stiff and patchy on the top. • Use the smallest hoop possible for your design and use cutaway stabilizer. • Sock hoops can be put down inside mit- tens, but the area you get to work with is very limited and the stitches on the inside will be noticeable for the wearer. • Good fleece stretches horizontal and vertical, so you must make it stable. Tearaway only works when using large fills on the bottom, then piling stitches on the tops. CarOlyn CaGle, Strikke knitS Left: always pre-treat bags as their surface is often rougher than standard t-shirts. this helps create a more uniform base for printing. Above: Make sure loose bag handles can be secured to avoid mis- prints or movement. (images courtesy Paul Green, OmniPrint intl.) Right: al- ways use fill stiches or topper when deco- rating fleece to avoid falling stitches. (im- age courtesy Carolyn Cagle, Strikke knits) BagS & acceSSorieS tiPs & tricks PW_MAY14.indd 96 4/17/14 1:19 PM

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