We’ve covered a variety of screen printing topics, including how to print on our BELLA+CANVAS Triblends and the difference between screen printing and direct-to-garment printing, but now we’re touching on a unique technique. A reverse screen print, otherwise known as a push through, is when you print on the inside of a T-shirt creating an effect where some of the ink shows through on the other side. This results in a really cool, natural textured look. Now let’s get into the details.
How To Reverse Screen Print
The process is very similar to a regular screen print, except, as the name implies, it’s done in reverse! First, you burn the screen with an inverted image. Then you print with really diluted water-based inks on the inside of the fabric. Once the T-shirt is printed, you run it through the dryer. You may need to run it through several times in order for the ink to actually burn through to dye the fabric.
The Push Through Effect
The look of a reverse print is primarily determined by the characteristics of the fabric, since different fabrications take ink differently. The results will also depend on the color of the T-shirt and how much pressure you apply to the screen. For instance, if you want more ink to show through on the front, more pressure should be applied, and vise versa. On dark colored shirts, you typically will need more ink and applied pressure for the graphic to show through successfully. A push through print will actually dye the fabric the color of the ink, so no matter how many times you wash it, it will still hold an awesome vintage-look.
What are the Best BELLA+CANVAS Tees to Reverse Screen Print on?
Since vintage-looking prints are really popular right now, we love doing a push through on our signature Slub fabric. While visiting DTLA Print, we tested out two different colors of our Slub tees, and they both turned out awesome. It creates highs and lows of how the color is shown through. Just like our Slub fabric, each print is unique depending on the natural pattern of the T-shirt. We’ve also seen great results on our Triblend and Heather CVC fabrics! Because we only use combed and ring-spun cotton, our tees have a tight-knit, even surface, which allows ink to pass through with the right amount of pressure. You can NOT do this technique with a carded open-end tee (that thick, scratchy tee, you’re probably familiar with) because of the thick weave and heavier weight.
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