You may say to yourself, “I have been screen printing for years, why would I need to go to a 101 class?” However, to think that way is to do yourself a disservice. Many of us are more than familiar with being a jack of all trades, and in screen printing this would include the capability to mess with all the little tricks, whether it be a puff here and there, a discharge design, or even sublimation. But we know how the phrase ends, don’t we? “Jack of All Trades, Master of None.”
When it comes to the basics of screen printing, you do, in fact, want to be the master. You want to understand not only what customers may ask for, but how to accomplish any task. Say a customer walks in with a certain dark colored garment in mind with a bright design. You’re going to need to know how to create a white underbase at the lowest cost to you. Depending on the size of the design they want, it’s also good to know the mesh, ink, and fabric details.
Texsource's new screen printing classroom.
Screen Printing 101 classes allow you to refresh on the fundamentals, which really comes in handy when you’re out learning the new stuff that continuously pops up (who was excited when silicone inks came out?). By consistently keeping yourself up to date on new (and most of the time, easier) ways of doing the basics, you could save yourself a lot of time to be able to focus on learning more risky techniques.
Let’s be honest, a lot of us are self-taught screen printers. We worked through trial and error time and again. We may have even researched and watched video after video trying to choose the way that we thought was best. It still may be, but seeing in person different ways and then being able to ask questions and have an open and honest discussion with other screen printers is vital to improving our skills.
For instance, we may all clean our screens differently. Maybe the easiest way for you to clean your screen is to slide on the heavy duty gloves and scrub it down. It may take a few hours, but it’s the way you’ve always done it, right? However, there are other options. More and more companies are coming out with ways to lower cleaning and reclaiming time. There are products like Easiway Chemicals’ Dip Tanks that use 2-in-1 chemicals to not only cut down on time but also on the effort you spend bent over your screens.
Tips like that and more are discussed during these classes and you’re encouraged to ask questions to understand fully instead of being forced into more trial and error. The point is, when it comes to classes, no one is working against you. We want you to be as successful as possible because in the end, it helps out everyone involved. It’s a win-win situation at its finest.
Not to mention, who doesn’t get frustrated when cure times are off? Wouldn’t you want to know why it’s happening to your exact machine in your exact situation instead of having to try all the different ways to fix it with no promises of the best outcome? That’s why actually talking with experts is so important. It’s not just how to screen print, it’s how to master screen printing. Be a master of your art in its most basic form, then mastery of its counterparts are sure to follow.