Wearing custom screen printed t-shirts is a versatile way to express your individual style, personality, and even your taste in music or film. While some individuals choose to design the image for their shirt and have the actual screen printing completed by professionals, others prefer to perform the entire process themselves. Regardless of the method used, clothing that is screen printed with the wearer's custom design is sure to become a favourite garment that will be worn frequently. This continual wear puts additional strain on the shirt as repeated washing and use causes it to wear out more quickly. If you plan to keep your personalized shirt in good condition for as long as possible, it is important to know how to properly care for the garment.
Screen printed t-shirts that are mass produced include care instructions that inform the wearer to wash the shirt inside out to avoid causing the image to peel. While this may be enough for professional or factory created shirts, garments that have been created at home require an extra measure of care. Ensuring that your design does not peel or crack begins with choosing the proper materials for the project. T-shirts made with blended fabric generally work best for most screen printing. Purchase quality fabric paint or ink and be sure to read the directions that come with it to learn about suggestions for care that may be particular to that brand or type of paint.
A newly printed shirt should be treated with special care as the colours will almost always bleed when the garment is washed for the first few times. Do not worry about this as it is part of the process of the paint setting permanently into the shirt. To protect both the screen print and your other clothing, wash the t-shirt separate from the rest of your laundry. Some may wish to hand wash the shirt, a practice which might extend the life of the garment. However, washing it inside out on a delicate cycle in a washing machine is adequate protection. Even after the colours no longer bleed, washing the shirt separately from other clothing will continue to protect it. No matter how you choose to wash the garment, always use warm water.
In general, high temperatures will cause the screen print to crack or peel. To avoid this problem, dry screen printed t-shirts on a clothesline away from direct sunlight or in a dryer set to the permanent press setting. If you wish to iron the shirt, do so while it is still damp and do not allow the image to experience prolonged exposure to the heat of the iron. Be sure to store the shirt in a location that has a moderate temperature.
Although screen printed clothing may require a bit of extra maintenance, the addition it can make to your personal style is invaluable. Following these simple care suggestions will keep your unique shirt wearable and in good condition for many washes to come!