When it comes to the world of custom apparel, hoodies hold a special place in the hearts of many. They’re cozy, versatile, and perfect for chilly winter days. However, printing on hoodies can be a tad more challenging than your average t-shirt due to their unique characteristics.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the difficulties encountered when printing on hoodies and provide expert solutions to ensure your designs shine brightly on these beloved garments.
Overcoming the Zipper Dilemma
Printing across the zipper of a full zip hoodie can be tricky. The zipper creates ridges, leading to variations in ink coverage and potentially compromising the quality of your print.
Fortunately, there’s a tool in the printer’s arsenal that can help—zipper pallets. These specialized pallets help alleviate the ridges caused by the zipper, but keep in mind that achieving a perfect print may not always be guaranteed due to the various styles of zip hoodies.
Thick Fabric, Micro Shifts
Hoodies are made of thick fabric, which can impact screen printing in several ways. Unlike thinner t-shirts, thick sweatshirts can lead to micro shifts in multi-color prints and underbase layers.
When printing on dark fleeces with multiple colors, a white under base is often required to make the colors pop. However, be aware that during the “flashing” or “curing” process with heat, some hoodies may shrink slightly, affecting the print’s registration. This is a natural process in screen printing, so anticipate some minor shifts in highly detailed and registered artworks.
The Complex World of Double Lined Hoodies
Double lined hoodies pose another challenge for printers. The extra layer of fabric makes proper fastening to the press difficult, limiting the use of multiple colors and tight registration.
For double lined hoodies, consider opting for a single-color print without an under base. This simplifies the printing process and ensures a clean result.
Tummy Pockets and Print Gluing
Tummy pockets on hoodies and zip sweatshirts often need to be glued down before printing, which can leave some adhesive residue inside the pocket.
Don’t be alarmed if you find a bit of spray adhesive and stickiness inside the pocket upon receiving your garments. A quick run through the wash should easily eliminate this issue, leaving your hoodies ready to wear.
Printing on the hoods of fleecy hoodies can vary significantly depending on the brand and style of the garment.
Some hoodies have a double lining, limiting you to a one-color print. Others may have center seams running through to the top ridge, while some don’t. When printing on the top of the hood, inquire about the presence of a center seam and consider using special pallets with indentations for zipper and pocket seams. Be aware that printing over these portions can create a gap in the print where the ink doesn’t hit the shirt due to the ridge caused by the seam.
Avoiding Seam Print Mishaps
Printing over seams can throw off registration and result in white ink showing through from under the design.
To maintain the integrity of your design, it’s best to avoid printing directly over seams. This will ensure a cleaner and more professional look for your custom hoodies.
Ribbed Garments – A No-Go for Printing
Ribbed garments, while form-fitting and stretchy, pose significant challenges for screen printing. The ink may not reach the lower parts of the ribbed fabric, and the design’s sizing and scale can become distorted when stretched.
We strongly advise against printing on ribbed garments to ensure a flawless and consistent print. Instead, opt for smoother fabrics that are better suited for detailed designs.
Garments That Don’t Showcase Detail
Certain garments simply do not lend themselves well to intricate details due to their unique textures and materials.
To ensure your designs shine, avoid using detailed designs on the following garments:
- Ribbed Garments
- Canvas Material (Aprons, Bags, etc.)
- Burnout Tees
- Pique Polos
- Beanies (We recommend embroidery for these items!)
Mastering the art of printing on hoodies requires a deep understanding of the challenges posed by these garments. By following the solutions outlined above and working with experienced printers who are familiar with the nuances of hoodie printing, you can ensure that your custom hoodie designs are nothing short of exceptional. Embrace the warmth and comfort of hoodies while delivering the quality your customers expect. Happy printing!