It is such a simple, but loading a shirt properly for screen printing really is key. As with most things, practice makes perfect. With enough jobs, loading a shirt straight and true every time eventually becomes second hand. But, there are a few tricks that help get started down the right path.
The “Center Crease”
When you open up a new box of shirts, they all have what appears to be a center crease down the length of the shirt. This is not the true center line, but it does work great as a starting point. Don’t make the mistake of using it as the true center of the shirts you’re loading, but do use it as a guideline for getting it into place.
The Rocking Motion
As you can see in the video below, we recommend using the rocking motion when loading a shirt. To achieve this, you’ll want to pick the shirt up from the bottom, making the fabric tight between your hands. Then, simply ‘rock’ the shirt forward onto the platen. As you rock back, pull your hands with your body, and tug on the shoulder seams to center the shirt. This is an easy to repeat, quick way of loading a shirt.
The Pedal (For Automatic Owners)
The process of loading a shirt is the same for an automatic press as for a manual press. However, the pedal feature on an automatic is where you get speed. Automatic presses have a pedal feature that works as a pause button in the motion of the press. Load that shirt up onto the platen, and then use the pedal for moving on to the next station. Eventually, you’ll start to get a rhythm down of rocking the shirt on and using the pedal.
Loading Up or Down
This last one is totally based on preference. Some printers like to load their shirts from the cart when they are facing up (Tag up), while others prefer them face down (tag down). The process for both is similar, so try both and figure out what works and feels best for you! At the end of the day, loading a shirt comes down to practice.
Check out the video below to see more about perfect shirt loading.
Founded in 2004, Ryonet® is dedicated to empowering creative entrepreneurship in screen printing through industry-leading education, service and support.
CONNECT WITH RYONET