How to Remove Screen Printing

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Screen printing is one of the most popular and effective methods of creating or transferring designs onto fabric. Those designs can be pictures or patterns, sometimes customized to meet unique customer requirements. 

But what happens when you want to remove a printed design from your clothes? Either because it’s cracked, ugly or you want to venture into a t-shirt printing business and need plain shirts to work with. This may leave you wondering how to remove screen printing from those clothes. 

While there are several ways of removing printed designs from apparel, it is necessary to ensure that they do not damage your clothes in the process. Through this article, we will explore some of the effective methods you can apply to remove screen printing from your clothes.

What is Screen Printing?

Screen printing is a method of printing that involves creating the stencil of a design. The stencil is then used to transfer ink onto the required surface, usually fabrics.

The stencil is developed by covering a mesh screen using a light-sensitive emulsion and then bringing it in contact with light to make the emulsion hard on the areas with no design. After that, the unhardened emulsion is washed off leaving you with a stencil that can be used to transfer ink to surfaces.

The process can be repeated using different stencils to produce multi-color designs. Screen printing is often applied in printing t-shirts, posters, signs, etc.

4 Effective Ways of Removing Screen Printing

  1. Soak With Hot Water and Laundry Detergent

This is an easy and effective way to remove screen printing it involves simple steps and they are:

  • Step 1. Firstly, get a basin or sink and fill it with hot water. Then, add a good amount of laundry detergent to the water. 
  • Step 2. Next, get the item with the printed design you wish to take off and submerge it into the water, ensuring that it is fully soaked by the water to get a better outcome.
  • Step 3. Leave the item to soak for several hours or overnight. 
  • Step 4. After which, you can take the item out of the water and scrub it gently with a brush to remove the screen printing. 
  1. Utilize A Scraper Tool

Using a scraper tool such as a razor, putty knife, etc is another effective way of taking out screen prints but it requires caution so as not to damage the item you’re scraping. So how do you go about this? Here’s how to do it: 

  • Step 1. Place the item in a way that it lays flat on a plain surface then secure the ages either with a pin or stone so it stays in one place. 
  • Step 2. Next, hold the scrapper at an angle 45°degree and gently scrape the area with the printed design. While applying pressure to get more results, do not scrape too hard so that you do not damage the item in the process.
  • Step 3. Once you have succeeded in removing as much screen printing as you can from the item, clean the area with hot water alongside a laundry detergent or soap.
  • Step 4. Rinse the item using clean water. 

This scraping method is mostly applied to items made with hard surfaces and while they may be useful on some fabrics, it can be very risky.

  1. Using Solvents

The use of solvents like acetone is an effective way of removing screen prints from materials. In some cases, rubbing alcohol on the printed surface can remove prints. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Step 1. When using solvents, it is important to lay the item flat to enable you to access your point of focus adequately. 
  • Step 2. Then, get a small cotton ball or cloth and apply acetone or alcohol on it, but do not apply it directly to the item you’re working with. Rather, test it on an inconspicuous area of the item to ensure that it doesn’t damage or discolour the material.
  • Step 3. After that, proceed to apply on the screen-printed area by gently rubbing it with a cotton ball or cloth, and applying pressure as required. Keep rubbing until the screen printing begins to come off. 
  • Step 4. Once you’re satisfied with the amount of screen printing that you have removed from the material, clean the area using hot water and laundry detergent or dish soap. 
  • Step 5. Rinse with clean water.
  1. Using A Heat Gun or Hair Dryer

Applying heat to screen printing is another useful way of removing screen printing from any material. This is because heat softens the ink thereby making it easier for you to scrape them off. How do you go about this? Simple!

  • Step 1. As stated in all the other methods, lay the material flat on a plain surface. 
  • Step 2. Then heat the back of the fabric using the heating tool you prefer, either a heat gun or the hair dryer. But ensure that you do not place the heating tool directly on the material. Rather, hold it about 2 inches away from the surface. 
  • Step 3. Heat the area until the ink begins to soften and bubble or for 30 seconds depending on the intensity of the heat.
  • Step 4. Now, get your scraper and gently scrape the surface of the ink. 
  • Step 5. Once you are done scraping, clean the area from which you removed the print by using hot water and laundry detergent or soap.
  • Step 6. Then rinse with clean water. 

Final Words

Removing screen printing is not as difficult as making the prints themselves as anyone can take them out. 

Applying some of the techniques stated in this article will give you maximum results. However, caution and understanding of the texture of the material you are dealing with are necessary to enable you to decide which technique to use. 

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