Can you screen print over the zipper?
I'm not going to say that screen printing over a zipper is impossible but I am going to say that it is something that we definitely do not do. There are quite a few problems with trying to do this and the end result is not typically satisfactory for the screen printer or for the customer. Of course we don’t want to simply give you a flat out ‘no’ and not explain our reasoning, so let’s take a look at some of the potential problems.
First off, having a zipper on a product is advantageous only if the zipper works. Printing ink over a zipper will very likely result in ink becoming stuck in the teeth of the zipper and thereby potentially causing it to run off its tracks, which of course would render it unusable. No one wants a zipper they can’t use, even if it does have a great looking design printed over it.
However, unfortunately it probably wouldn’t have a great looking design printed over it. Even if the zipper doesn't come off the tracks and no mechanical faults occur, the printed design will be split in half and more than likely it will get messed up in the process. This is because the bumps and jostling that the zipper will cause will almost certainly result in the print becoming distorted and blurry.
The only possible solution to these problems, and it isn't a good one, is to break the design in half and print as close to the zipper as possible on each side. There also isn't a way to print right up to the zipper. Even if we were able to print as close as possible to the zipper, it would still be very difficult to have the design even on both sides because the product would need to be put on the platen at two different times. This means that there wouldn’t be full contact between the zipper and the design, and even with the space in between the two sides of the design probably won’t line up perfectly.
This means that the best option is to avoid printing a design that would cross over the zipper. It is a better option to simply adjust the design to steer clear of the zipper entirely. Alternatively of course if you are hesitant to adjust the size and placement of your design you could always choose a product that doesn’t have a zipper instead.
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