Can you screen print over the seams?

Screen printing over the shirt seams is not encouraged nor is it recommended. However, with that said it is still possible to print over the seams, but it tends to make for an irregular print design and often yields very inconsistent results. In various instances printing on the seams with one color will work but the results may vary. Once again it is not a recommended option and this style of printing will only be done at the customer’s discretion.

Doing an over the seams print with only one ink color tends to work better than trying to do several ink colors because the more screens that have to pass over the seam the more irregular and difficult it is to predict the results. This is because the seams of the shirt cause bumps in the screens when printing and this jostling often make the print very irregular and distorted. This can cause the overall print job to lose its uniformity and can even cause blurriness in the print in some cases.

Instead, for optimal screen printing we recommend doing designs which start below the collar line, end above the hemline, and do not cross from the body of the shirt onto the sleeves. It is possible to do smaller, isolated prints on the sleeves without a loss of quality because again in this case the design is not actually being printed over the seams but instead just in a smaller area.

The good news though is that while we don't recommend printing over the seams of the shirt we can still do a lot of very unique, interestingly placed designs. In fact some of the most interesting designs that we have seen haven’t been designs that crossed the seams but merely designs that used the t-shirt as a blank canvas to experiment with new and varied placements. For example printing designs on the sides of the t-shirt is no problem since most t-shirts are tubular and do not have a side seam. The only consideration is that the design should be completely below the sleeve to avoid interference with the sleeve seam and that doing a side print would be considered a new location and would thus raise the cost of the order accordingly.

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