15 Common Mistakes in Screen Printing | Easy Solutions (2024)

The screen printing industry comprises numerous aspects, including equipment variations, setups, and environmental factors where it is common to occur mistakes. Ever-increasing demands for prints and designs can be mentioned as well.

So a person related to the screen printing industry must be ready to seek modern fashion ideas and related equipment.

Anyhow a person, no matter how experienced he is, may face technical mistakes. It adds to his frustration when he comes to know how easy it was to avoid the mistakes.

In this article, I have explained simple and easy solutions to the most common mistakes that occur in screen printing. You will be able to sort out why these mistakes happen and in the future how to resolve them timely and proper.

How To Identify Mistakes In Screen Printing

To identify mistakes one should learn to inspect the prints and designs carefully. It is helpful if someone maintains a record of the process and material used in each print. 

Making a comparison between the original design and the recently printed design can make you identify where the problems exist.

It is important to employ different parameters like the thickness of ink, and the use of indicators to check the colors of print and image clarity, which eventually help get high-quality designs repeatedly.

Common Mistakes in Screen Printing

in the following lines you will know about 15 common mistakes which a beginners faces during screen printing on clothes and other blanks.

1. No Arrangement Of Patch Test

Taking a test print can save costly production mistakes on a larger scale. With the help and result of a test print, you can modify the design, screen, ink, and printing process.

Some issues you can correct through test prints are:

  1. Color quality: When you get the test print first, it becomes convenient to make a comparison between the original design and the color printed on the test print.
  2. Uneven print: Test print will also make you sure about the alignment of the design, checking the print is in its right place and evenly registered.
  3. Dyeing and drying: You can easily check the result and exact color after the ink gets dried. To attain desired results you can add or minimize the thickness of the ink.

Related Post: How to cure screen printed shirts at home?

2. Registering Screen Is Not Proper

In screen printing registration refers to the process of alignment of multiple layers or colors. It is obvious if the registration is improper, the result is misaligned or a mixture of designs overlapped.

The main cause of this misalignment can be stencils, issues related to ink consistency, or the alignment of the printer.

To rectify this problem, check the printer, adjust the screens, and pay attention to attain accurate consistency and thickness of ink.

3. Choosing The Wrong Ink For Printing

Choosing the wrong ink for the screen may affect badly generating incorrect and uneven print. It depends on the quantity of the mixture of ink. If a small quantity of ink is used you can easily overcome the mistake, but it can create a hurdle if more ink is used.

It not only gives poor print quality bud also can damage the screen and printing equipment.

As already discussed, it is highly professional behavior to test print. Even after the test, if you feel it is not the right ink and wants to erase or minimize the effects you must follow the following instructions:

  • Contact the ink manufacturer to seek advice on how to neutralize the incorrect ink.
  • Reprint for testing. It will help you to identify potential issues with the ink.
  • Use a solvent to clean the screen and remove the contaminated spots
  • Recoat the screen with a new stencil. It will ensure that the next print will be contamination free.

4. Not Cleaning The Screen Properly

In screen printing, if the screen is not cleaned adequately, it means some ink or debris is still present on the screen. For the cleaning purpose, you have to use cleaning solutions, rinse the screen with the solvents, and remove the stencil from the screen.

After sometimes it creates more difficulty in removing the debris. You must take the following steps to avoid further problems:

  • Use a high-quality cleaning solution that is specifically designed for the relevant situation and recommended by the manufacturer.
  • You must develop a cleaning habit according to a proper schedule and show consistency.
  • Dry the screen properly after the cleaning procedure is complete. Wipe the screen with a lint-free cloth or try an air dryer. It saves damages caused due to rust.

5. Negligence In Screen Setting

It refers to failing in properly prepare and adjust the screen before you start work on your printing project. It includes properly aligning the screen, fixing the firmness of the screen, registering the print, and finally preparing the stencil.

If you made this mistake the result will be shown in the form of misaligned prints, undue stretch, overlapping of colors, and so on.

6. The Ink Doesn’t Bleed

If the ink doesn’t bleed in screen printing, it can result in poor-quality print, uneven or additional lines, and lack of color saturation.  It is the result of numerous mistakes ultimately leading to not bleeding the ink properly. 

It includes incorrect stencil preparation, incorrect ink type, inadequate squeegee angle, and using dirty and damaged screens.

To identify the root cause of the problem you have to take the following measures:

  • Make sure the stencil is properly prepared, leaving no areas blocked or clogged
  • Squeegee should be appropriate and in good condition. Always check the angle and press properly.
  • Another important point is to increase the dwell time and allow the ink to flow properly through the stencil.

7. Aligning The Screen Is Not Proper

Not aligning the screen properly refers to the misalignment of the stencil or the mesh screen with the substrate.  There are many factors responsible for the improper alignment of the screen, for example, loose or damaged screen tension, misplacing the stencil, and worn registration pins.

Several measures can be taken to prevent improper aligning of the screen:

  • If you want to keep the design in the right position, put the screen under the right tension
  • Practice makes perfect. Try to practice and make repetition to be familiar with the process. It will improve the adjustment needed so that the required alignment can be achieved successfully.
  • You can also rely on tools devised by famous companies. Instruction by the manufacturer may help a lot.

Read more: Can you Screen Print on Polyester?

8. Leaving The Ink In The Open Air

An experienced person familiar with the pros and cons of screen printing cannot make the mistake of leaving the ink in the open air for a prolonged period.  Anyhow a person not related to the industry or a beginner may not take care of ink as needed.

Ink left in the air, especially water-based inks can dry up easily as compared to plastisol.  Solvents in the ink can evaporate, and ink may also change its color which will change the quality and color of the target print.

  • To avoid this problem keep the ink sealed. If it dries up, you can also spray the water.
  • Keep the temperature appropriate and check the humidity.
  •  Avoid direct sunlight.

9. Pressing Harder With The Squeegee

Usually, beginners’ problem is that they are not able to press the squeegee appropriately. When a person puts more force into pressing while pulling the squeegee through the stencil to make the ink flow into the substrate.

This problem may also arise when the substrate is not properly prepared.

Excess ink is pushed through the stencil, making the print blur. Ink can deposit unevenly damaging the screen and the overall appearance of the design.

To avoid this problem simply use the appropriate squeegee and have some knowledge about the timing of pressure, not so long not too short. 

Secondly squeegee being used must be well-cleaned ensuring even ink distribution.

10. Use Of Poor Or Damaged Stencil

Sometimes we keep on using things or equipment whose quality has been compromised and face several issues. The use of a Damaged stencil shows carelessness and negligence.

Any stencil which contains holes that is not properly cleaned is exposed to various chemicals, or any other physical damage is called a damaged stencil.

Damaged stencil becomes the cause of many problems. If it has irregular holes and allows the ink to pass through unwanted parts, it results in overlapped print. Colors become fade losing their vibrant look, and stencil becomes more difficult to work. it reduces production increasing the cost of the print.

Damaged stencils should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Remove any old ink residues on the stencil.  

11. Not Making A Full Inspection Of Equipment Timely

It is a matter of prime importance to maintain a regular and full inspection of the equipment used in screen printing. It checks overall functions, performance, lubrication, cleaning, and managing the setup.

Before starting the process of screen printing, make sure the equipment is in running condition.

Stencil, screens, squeegees, and other tools and all the setting arrangement comes under the equipment. Showing negligence may result in several major issues. It reduces print quality and increases downtime In the form of a breakdown of prints. 

It is recommended to check and test the functions collectively and separately. Regularly scheduled maintenance plays a key role in improving the quality within a short time.

12. Not Using Up-To-Date Tools

Necessity is the mother of invention. No business industry can be stable until it modifies itself according to the changing trends and fashions popular among people.

The industry of screen printing is expanding day by day, and we see many tools in the mark which help to enhance the quality and also save time and expenditures.

From a business point of view use of up-to-date equipment is mandatory to increase production on a larger scale. Most important are maintenance tools which help to produce quality prints.

13. Relying On An Under Base As A Highlight

Under the base is a layer of ink that is printed first on the fabric before other colors are printed. Its main purpose is to highlight and make the colors vibrant.

It is better to use a transparent under-base instead of white or grey under the base, so that the fabric color may be clearer.

Consider using water base printing technique, it also gives the same results. Always remember that the under-base color should be different from the fabric color used for designing.

14. Not Using An Off-Contact Screen

Not using an off-contact screen is a common mistake that is related to registration issues.  Here are some ways to overcome the issue:

  1. Keep in mind that the distance between the off-contact screen and substrate may vary depending upon the printing project specifications. That’s why you have to adjust it properly to improve the color quality and registration.
  2. Make the screen slightly elevated above the substrate with the help of tape to achieve proper distance.
  3. Using different types of inks and substrates will prevent poor absorption and smudging. It takes a lot of time and practice to get mastery using an off-contact screen.

15. Do Not Set An Adequate Temperature

This mistake can destroy all of your efforts, as it overall controls every part of screen printing; the ink, stencil durability, proper adhesion, drying time, consistency of ink, etc. so you have to be very careful about maintaining appropriate temperature during the whole process of screen printing.

You can adopt the following useful techniques throughout the whole procedure:

  • Heat the ink with a heat press to help the ink dry in time.
  • A temperature controller can be used to regulate the temperature of ink and substrate.
  • The use of a thermometer is very beneficial to measure the temperature at each level.


I have covered almost all the common mistakes that a beginner especially pays attention to get perfect designs and prints. If you use proper equipment, do maintenance regularly, and remain aware of the changing pattern of the screen printing industry, you can easily earn a high place in the market. You become nearer to the Utmost target of satisfying the customer.

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