This job was given to me by my friends at Dress Code who sell Band Apparel and Alternative Accessories. I met them while promoting my band out on the streets and they were kind enough to sell our CD and T-shirts. They just opened a new store at the Tucson Mall and needed some shopping bags printed. The Yeah Right! shop is not currently set up for this process, however our friends at The Gloo Factory allowed me to print the bags at their shop. It is important to understand that in this business other printers are not your enemy. Although we are in a recession, the demand for printing is still out there and having a negative attitude towards other printers doesn’t get you more customers. There is a vast amount of knowledge you can gain from talking to/working with other printers, especially when they are more experienced or more familiar with other printing processes. It is up to you to get out there and market yourself, and always remember: you get what you give! So the more friends you can make along your screen printing journey, the better; because in reality – we’re all part of the same community.
Graphic Inks give off much harsher fumes than Plastisol which is why it is very important to have a facility that has proper ventilation when using it. It is air dried and requires a respirator to protect your lungs from toxic vapors. Large wall mounted or rolling racks are needed for the drying process, as well as an overhead exhaust to create air flow and pull fumes from the room. The Graphic Inks take about 2-4 hours to dry, so planning ahead is essential. When working with paper bags, signs or sticker paper, a Vacuum Pallet will make things much easier. It holds the item down flat and in place with suction while you print, instead of using tack or adhesive repeatedly.
The biggest problem I encountered with this project was getting an evenly printed image. The bags have handles glued to the inside and big folds that don’t allow a perfectly flat printing surface. This causes the image to appear to have cracking, streaking, and distressing. It ended up giving each bag a unique look and worked out fine with this project but could be a problem if your customers don’t expect it.