Terror free tri-blend t-shirt decoration atkinson consulting 3 gases that cause global warming


When the shirt was made, dyes were used to turn that polyester apparel thread into whatever color hue the manufacturer wanted for the garment. For Tri-Blends, this is woven into the fabric with the cotton and the other material such as rayon or modal.

If heated during your production process to the right temperature, the dye in the polyester content of the Tri-Blend fabric turns from a solid into a gas and migrates up into the ink. Murphy’s Law dictates that this won’t happen while you are printing the shirts, but later after the job has been boxed up and it is on the way to a customer.

Any fabric with polyester content that has dyes susceptible to heat can produce unwanted dye sublimation characteristics. By far red seems to be the worst actor in this scenario, but any dark dye can bleed into the ink with too much heat. How to Prevent Tri-Blend Dye Migration

The goal is that as shirts are printed they are cooled as they are stacked so that any heat in the shirts are dissipated before the shirt stack grows too high. The catcher should use their hand and test the shirts for residual heat. If the shirts are still warm they are not boxed up until they are cool to the touch.

• Avoid art that requires an underbase white if you can. As every time you flash, and the duration of the flash impacts the outcome…engineering your print from the art standpoint is the best cure. Don’t flash at all if you can get away with it.

• Since Tri-Blend t-shirts are known for fabric softness, you want to emulate that with the print you are using. Building up multiple layers of thick ink will feel at odds with the softness of the fabric. A better strategy is to use waterbase ink, or plastisol with some curable reducer added for an extra soft print.

• Minimize the ink deposit by using higher tensioned screen frames with higher mesh counts. Use a sharp squeegee with minimal pressure. Your goal isn’t to drive the ink through the shirt like a nail, but rather to have the ink kiss the top of the fabric and stay there. This minimal pressure technique emphasizes the need for higher tension and a sharper squeegee. You want just enough pressure to clear the ink from the screen.

On some Tri-Blend shirts, the excessive heat build up causes the hue of the shirt to darken or brown. It is not uncommon to see the box-like shape of the press platen on the shirt as a discoloration like some weird manufacturing Shroud of Turin.

The underbase printed fine, but after flashing the shirt shrinks by a small amount, but just enough so that the other screens are not in alignment. The shrinkage is rarely uniform, instead, it usually happens on the outside perimeter or edges.

Some Tri-Blends have such a soft surface that this becomes problematic. If you are new to decorating on Tri-Blends, the best thing you can do is to produce a few test prints on various styles with the same image and see which one performs to your liking.

• Since the shirt fibrillation problems usually manifest itself after a few trips through the laundry, instead of the clear base screen before the image colors you might try adding it last. Consider this as putting the force-field on the outside of the print, rather than next to the shirt. This should work just as well. However, this may make the clear ink more noticeable.

This should ideally start with your customer service or sales team. After all, production is only printing what they line up for the order in the system. Have your customer-facing crew give clear expectations about decorating a Tri-Blend t-shirt during the sales process.

On press, we want to use just enough squeegee pressure to clear the ink from the screen an onto the surface of the garment. Don’t drive the ink through the shirt like a nail. Sledgehammer squeegee pressure doesn’t help this situation at all.