How to screen print full color on t-shirts

Screen printing full color designs on a t-shirt involves using a technique called “CMYK Process Printing” or “Four Color Process Printing.” This technique involves using a combination of four ink colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/Black) to create a wide range of colors and achieve full-color prints. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to screen print full color on a t-shirt using the CMYK process:

Materials Needed:

  1. Full-color design separated into CMYK color channels.
  2. T-shirt or substrate to be printed on.
  3. Four screens, each coated with a different color of ink (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black).
  4. Screen printing press with multiple pallets.
  5. Squeegees.
  6. Registration system or alignment aids.


  1. Preparation:
    • Make sure your design is properly prepared and separated into its CMYK color channels using design software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
    • Each color channel will be used to create a separate screen.
  2. Create Screens:
    • Coat each screen with the appropriate color of ink (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black).
    • Expose each screen with its respective color channel’s artwork to create the stencil.
  3. Align Screens:
    • Set up your screen printing press with multiple pallets to hold the different screens.
    • Use a registration system or alignment aids to ensure precise alignment of each screen on the press.
  4. Test Prints:
    • Do test prints on scrap fabric to ensure that the alignment is accurate and the colors are mixing as expected.
    • Adjust the registration and ink settings as needed.
  5. Printing:
    • Load a t-shirt onto the first pallet of the press.
    • Start with the Cyan screen. Apply the Cyan ink to the design area and print it onto the t-shirt.
    • Move on to the Magenta screen, then Yellow, and finally the Black screen, printing each color on top of the previous one.
  6. Drying:
    • After printing all four colors, the t-shirt needs to be dried or cured. You can do this using a conveyor dryer or a heat press, following the ink manufacturer’s recommendations for curing temperatures and times.
  7. Repeat for Each Shirt:
    • Repeat the printing process for each t-shirt you want to produce.
  8. Quality Control:
    • Inspect


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