Screen printing on short sleeves, the arm of a long sleeve shirt, or the leg of sweatpants or yoga pants can be a fun option for your screen printing clients to personalize their clothing custom screen printing. This type of screen printing is perfectly achievable and relatively easy, although a few tips and tricks are needed to ensure the prints are placed correctly and look just right.

  1. Use the correct pallet
    Screen printing on pant legs or shirt sleeves requires a special palette. The same paddle is generally used for both, and they are marketed as shirt sleeve or sweatpants paddles. These pallets are narrower than traditional pallets and some taper at the bottom. These palettes work well for most adult size shirts and pants, although if you are looking to screen print on small or extra small adult shirt sleeves or pant legs, or if you want to print on the legs and sleeves of children’s clothing, You will likely have to look for a custom pallet for your screen printing press.
  2. Evaluate your screens
    Depending on the type of print you are putting on the pant legs and long sleeves, you may need a large screen. A standard screen will work for a short sleeve screen print or a hip print on a pant, but if a customer wants an image or text on an entire pant leg or a long shirt sleeve, you may have to use a larger screen. Or, you may have to split the image in two and use two separate screens to create one long, unified print.
  3. Consider readability
    Horizontal prints don’t count much on a pant leg or shirt sleeve, but if you’re printing vertically, you’ll need to think carefully about the legibility of your print. You’ll want to keep a flow of words from left to right. Generally, that means printing from the cuff up on a left sleeve or pant leg and from the hip down on a right sleeve or pant leg.
  4. Load your press the right way
    Loading shirt sleeves and pant legs into a vise may seem awkward at first, but there are some simple tricks to help you. With shirts, you want to carry the garment through the collar to prevent the shirt from burning on the floor while you print. Some sleeve palettes have a center line that can be aligned with the center shoulder seam of a shirt for precise print placement. The pants are loaded through the waist, also using the center line of paddles as a guide.
  5. Be careful when downloading your screen printed garments
    More than a typical shirt print, you need to be careful when removing a sleeve print or pant leg print from your screen printing press. Because these prints tend to be long, it can be difficult to unload these garments without allowing uncured ink to smear. You will need to grab both the top and bottom of the garment when unloading it, and carefully transport it and place it in your conveyor dryer for curing.

Screen printing on shirt sleeves and pant legs gives screen printed garments a modern look. It’s a fun offer for your clients, and you may find clients coming to you asking for it. The process is relatively simple, and by employing and mastering these few tips, your screen printing shop can benefit from printing on shirt sleeves and pant legs.

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