Printwear

October '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 1 4 O ctO b e r Printwear | 75 fect. Still unhappy, I added a coat- ing of white-canvas gesso, which is basically a white acrylic primer used to prep a canvas before paint- ing. This gave more grip for the ink, and the quality improved, but it still was not 100 percent. At this point, I did more research and found inkjet-receptive canvas is sold in sheets or rolls and made ex- clusively for what I was trying to do. You can find this easily on the Internet, and it is also sold by a few direct-to-garment com- panies. I purchased a few brands and found them all close in price, but I then stumbled onto another factor. There is a major differ- ence in how white the coating looked from one brand to the next. This is important be- cause the brighter the white, the more pop your print will have. Spend a little extra on the more expensive brand—it's worth the vi- brancy you gain in the print. The ink also lies down nicely with no bleeding. Printer SettingS It is very important to control the amount of ink output with your printer. This is gen- erally in RIP program setting and needs to control drop size and amount of passes. I found that the process uses very close to half the amount you would use to saturate a white T-shirt. Anything over will result in pooling and bleeding of color. Test before you start. Don't lower the resolution to achieve this. The print should be at the highest resolution your printer allows and should be printed via unidirectional print passing. Why uni-directional? A canvas allows for more detail than a T-shirt. When you print in a unidirectional pass, the ink drops down in the same spot. If your bidirectional print- ing is off in just the slightest amount, you will notice it in the edges of the print. The image you are printing should be as high a resolution as possible. You want the printed image to represent the actual image as close as possible. Low-quality images are going to be much more noticeable. If your RIP has a mode you find best for photo printing, use it. With a few adjustments and know-how, direct-to-gar- ment printers can also be used to create impressive canvas prints. (All images courtesy the author)

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