Author: Wendy Croxford
If you’re running a screen printing business selling printed t-shirts, homewares, clothing, screen printing kits or screen printing workshops, then you’ll no doubt be keen to spread the word about what you have to offer. Social media is easily one of the most powerful ways to engage with audiences now, and it’s an affordable and effective way to market your screen printing business. So how do you get started? Here’s a quick and handy guide.
Choosing your platforms
Screen printing is a satisfyingly tactile and visual process, which means it lends itself well to social media content that’s engaging and shareable. Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Pinterest are four of the most popular social media platforms due to their visual nature, and it’s relatively easy to produce fast and short-form content for these platforms. Meanwhile, one billion videos are now being watched on YouTube every single day, so this channel also holds a huge potential market if you’re able to create longer video content and become an industry authority. Ultimately the platform you choose will depend on who you want to reach in terms of your target market and their age, and how much time you can invest in content creation.
Creating a social media schedule
Many screen printing brands post from 1 to 5 times a week to keep their audience engaged, so it really can pay to have a social media strategy in place to plan out your content. You might choose to slowly answer a list of questions that customers frequently ask, or gather inspiration from other leaders in the screen printing industry. Content (and products) could be planned to celebrate holidays and special events, or provide behind-the-scenes imagery of your daily workshop activities. It’s important to consider when your customers are most likely to be on each social media platform, and plan to suit. A scheduling and posting tool such as Hootsuite or Buffer can make it really easy to set up content ahead of time.
It’s wise to mix up your content regularly to keep it fresh. Videos are a fantastic way to show your screen printing process and give your business a human face, and it’s now fairly easy to film a quick printing video on a smartphone any time you’re working on something interesting. Other media including photos, reposting from other accounts and printed text or “quote” posts can also add interest and dimension to your social media feeds. Consider these ideas for relevant and useful content for your customers:
- Upcoming projects, releases or products
- A sale event, where you may want to offer a discount via a special ‘discount code’
- Marking notable days or even normal days – for example, Fridays are always worth celebrating
- Industry facts or insights
- Questions for your customers
- Screen printing experiments and failures can present you as an ‘expert’ in certain areas (these can often be just as engaging as successes, and can even have more sharing potential).
Make your social media posts memorable to attract engagement from your followers
( ‘Snowdog screen printing’ image courtesy Black Cabin Press)
Using Apps to Create Content
There’s a myriad of Apps available on your smartphone to assist with creating content, many of them free. Use these Apps to curate better content, including images, animation and videos:
- Repost App: helps you easily share Instagram posts that others have posted. It’s a quick and simple way to use “user generated content” that canhelp your page perform better.
- Boomerang App: takes bursts of photos and then stitches them together into a HD video loop. The loop starts to play forward but then plays backward, creating a neat, GIF-like video.
- Canva App: a graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content. The app includes templates for users to use. The platform is free to use and offers paid subscriptions like Canva Pro for additional functionality.
- Photo Editor App: helps you edit your photos with ease and allows you to create high-quality small size images to share on the web.
- Hootsuite App: is a social media management platform that covers almost every aspect of a social media manager’s role. With just one platform users are able to do the simple stuff like curate cool content and schedule posts all the way up to managing team members and measuring ROI.
- Gridpost App: allows you to split(crop) your large rectangular photos into a number of square pics and upload them to Instagram and impress your friends and your profile page visitors
- Slideshow Maker app: By using this app you can create slideshow clips from your images. It also has helpful features including add text, contrast, orientation, write text, crop image and many more.
Increasing your reach
Of course, a bigger audience means more interest in your screen printing products or services. There are a few straightforward ways to increase your social media reach over time. These can include:
- Using relevant hashtags like #screenprinting, #screenprint or #organicscreenprinting to help new audiences find you
- Social media promotions and giveaways that involve tagging friends and family
- Cross-promotions with other screen printing professionals, businesses or stockists
- Creating live Instagram or Facebook videos where you interact in real-time with your customer base – this could even be as you print your regular products
- Responding to customer comments and questions promptly to show you care about your customers.
A word on paid advertising
Should you be using paid social media advertising to reach your audience? This will largely depend on your audience and how effectively you can reach them. Paid advertising can help to promote your product range and build awareness of your brand, so it’s no doubt valuable for many businesses. Generally speaking, it can work well if you have the stock levels to back up a higher level of interest. So if you plan to advertise on social media, plan to have good availability of printed products or workshops or other screen printed related items to sell.
PERMASET is the trusted supplier to screen printing businesses worldwide. Shop now for high-quality organic screen printing inks and silk screens, and stay tuned to our PERMASET blog for plenty more screen printing insights, guides and advice.
PERMASET also has their own PERMASET social media accounts:
Are you conscious of the products used in your screen-printing practice or on your yardage table? Being aware of all these products and how they can affect your staff, your equipment, your customers and the environment can bring more value to your screen-printing business.
Not all adhesives labelled “eco-friendly” are safe for users and the environment. Regular spray adhesives can pose health risks due to the amount of PVC and phthalates contained in these products. PERMASET® Table Adhesive is a pressure sensitive, water-soluble coating that is non-toxic and non-flammable which is much safer for the user and your screen-printing practice than the usual toxic spray adhesives. Find out how this product can add value by making your studio practices more sustainable.
PERMASET® Table Adhesive versus Regular Spray Adhesives
- PERMASET® Table Adhesive solves spraying problems caused by regular spray adhesives. Regular spray adhesives can cause a build up on the machine when some of the spray particles land on the machine parts, or even worse when particles are inhaled by the person handling the machine.
- PERMASET® Table Adhesive also sticks and dries quickly in about 10-30 minutes depending on the weather and thickness of the glue applied. You can also reactivate its sticky properties by spraying water on the adhesive and allowing it to absorb for a few minutes. Regular spray adhesives usually take an hour to dry.
- Regular spray adhesives are also toxic to your staff and customers’ health, and detrimental to the environment due to their harmful contents. Some spray adhesives may also be labelled as “eco-friendly” but still contain hidden chemicals so it’s preferable to choose water-reducible yardage table type adhesives to prevent future health risks.
Checkout this video showing how to apply PERMASET Table Adhesive
Using PERMASET Table Adhesive with Care
PERMASET® Table Adhesive will work to your advantage when you use it correctly. Find out the ways you can use and store PERMASET Table Adhesive effectively:
- Always wear protective equipment such as latex gloves, a face mask and apron when screen printing
- For best screen-printing results, lubricate vinyl and rubber coated surfaces with PERMASET Table Adhesive using a squeegee
- Make sure to cover the entire surface completely and include the edges when lubricating your yardage table with PERMASET Table Adhesive
- Let the Table Adhesive settle for a few minutes before laying fabric on top
- Though the product is non-toxic, we highly discourage using spray bottles to apply any adhesives because particles can be left in the air and inhaled by your staff
- Wash off the PERMASET Table Adhesive from the platen with water
- Make sure to close the lid of PERMASET Table Adhesive tightly and store it in safe place under room temperature
- Maintain the label. Tearing and removal of labels could result in misuse of the product
- Avoid spilling the Table Adhesive down drains and other surfaces. If this happens by accident, wipe off the adhesive using paper or a scrap material and letting it dry before disposing of the material in commercial bins
- While the PERMASET Table Adhesive bottle can be recycled, please check with your local recycling programs if this is allowed in your area.
Care for your staff, your customers, your screen-printing equipment and the environment by using eco-friendly inks and adhesives such as the PERMASET water-based screen print inks and PERMASET Table Adhesive. Visit the PERMASET online shop now to purchase online or contact your local PERMASET Stockist to buy.
Boutique Australian ink manufacturer, Colormaker Industries, is set to ramp up their focus on PERMASET® product innovation and sustainability during the course of 2021. This builds on the company’s reputation as a leader in sustainable manufacturing.
A little bit of Australian sunshine in every drop of PERMASET ink
In 2019, Colormaker Industries installed a 100 kW solar array on the roof of their Brookvale factory. This produces twice as much electricity as they use to power their production processes. This is enough to power 20 local homes and save over 150 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year. At the time of writing, the array had already saved 190 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
Colormaker continues to explore methods to reduce energy consumption, recently commissioning an energy audit. They’re now planning the installation of a raft of equipment that will not only reduce energy consumption outright, but will also monitor energy consumption in real time, allowing modification of practices on the shop floor. Colormaker was recently asked to present at a Smart Energy Council webinar.
Local deliveries are powered by solar
The installation of the solar array was so successful that Colormaker purchased an Electric Vehicle to make local deliveries. They are also planning to purchase a second EV.
“We haven’t run through the numbers in detail yet, but it looks like replacing petrol with solar produced electricity is an even greater greenhouse gas abatement option than sending all surplus electricity back into the grid” advised Colormaker Industries MD, David Stuart.
Evolving to R-PET Recycled Packaging
Colormaker has ordered their first batch of 100% recycled PET (RPET) jars. Though more expensive than virgin PET, the company believes they need to play a role in providing an outlet for some of the tonnes of recyclable waste that is collected each year. The first PERMASET inks in RPET jars is expected to be released to market in February 2021.
Carbon Neutral by 2030
Given the success of these efforts, Colormaker is looking more actively at what they would need to do to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. “We expect that we’ll utilise technologies that haven’t yet been imagined, let alone made commercially available, but it’s something that we are passionate about” noted Stuart.
Product and Manufacturing Innovation
The PERMASET water-based ink range (PERMASET AQUA, PERMASET SUPERCOVER, PERMATONE and PERMAPRINT Premium) are supported with dedicated R&D staff and research projects are directed towards exploring continuous product improvement in relation to organic and product performance.
PERMASET eco-friendly ink prints were recently subjected to a compost challenge by Melbourne yardage designer Ink and Spindle, and passed with flying colours:
The company continues to push boundaries through the adoption of best practice recycling, reduction in water use and sustainable manufacturing processes to deliver the most environmentally responsible products available to the screen printing trade.
With a lot going on behind the scenes, the launch of specific initiatives will be announced over the course of 2021.
PERMASET Manufacturer & Distributor in Australia: Colormaker Industries
PERMASET Trade Distributor in the UK: Steve Wood Services Ltd.
PERMASET Craft Distributor in the UK: West Design Products
PERMASET Distributor in the Rest of Europe: Atlantic Empire
PERMASET Distributor in USA: Armadillo Art
PERMASET® SUPERCOVER First Down White is used as an under-base or flash white by Trade printers who wish to print on dark fabrics but prefer to use standard PERMASET AQUA® colours or PERMATONE® inks to retain their superior softness and vibrancy. It is normally used with multi-station print facilities.
Using PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White in place of a discharge product will mean you tie up an extra print station however, there are 5 great advantages:
1. TIME PRESSURE & WASTE
No chemicals means no smells, no rush and no waste with PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White. With discharge printing, once you add the discharge agent the clock is ticking, so you must print the entire bucket within 2 hours. Any discharge ink unused at that time must be disposed of, so there’s a wastage factor with discharge versus using PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White.
2. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET
With PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White you can see what you’re printing from the very first print. A complaint of discharge systems is that if a mistake IS made, you don’t get to see it until it comes out of the drying tunnel at the end of the process, by which time potentially 20 more shirts may have been printed.
3. HEALTH & SAFETY
The lack of chemical addition with PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White reduces an opportunity for the introduction of variability into your processes (e.g. in staff mixing practices +/or variability in dye-lots from the shirt manufacturer). No chemicals, no smells and no headaches also contributes to a safer workplace for you and your staff and a healthier environment for your community.
You’ll get a more consistent result using PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White from one shirt colour to the next and one shirt maker to the next. You don’t know whether this year’s black t-shirt was a surplus white shirt last year, or pink, or brown, or green or orange or purple, so you don’t know what colour it will come out with the discharge process.
The reduction in variability through printing one standard ink as a base onto a shirt puts you back in control; you control the inputs and processes so you get reproducible results.
5. SOIL ASSOCIATION APPROVED
Added to the above, PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White also has Soil Association Approval of the UK. This means that PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White has successfully met the requirements of the Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS) for non-organic chemical inputs for use in organic textile processing.
So now you’ve got 5 solid reasons to explore this innovative technology.
For further tips about screen printing with water-based inks check out this Blog
To find your closest PERMASET Stockist visit our PERMASET Stockist Search
To purchase PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White online visit our PERMASET Shop
Throughout the process of fabric printing using water-based screen printing inks, heat curing the print is one method to ensure the print is stable and can remain on the garment. Heat curing is subject to variability due to local conditions in the workspace; including the moisture content of the fabric, the ambient temperature and the relative humidity.
There are several practices involved when applying heat to fabrics to cure them. We recommend test printing before and at the beginning of each print run as heat setting varies from printer to printer. When heat curing water-based screen-printing inks such as PERMASET AQUA®, PERMASET SUPERCOVER® and PERMATONE®, the following methods are used:
For screen printers who are just starting out, make sure that your prints are completely air-dry before heat curing, and testing should be done before embarking on a large print run. For this type of printing, you can employ heat press and flash dry methods.
1. Heat Press
Heat presses are a favoured option for start-up printers as they are compact to buy and quick to operate. They are recommended for small scale production as it takes time to cure each garment.
2. Flash Dry/Cure Units
Prints must be completely air dry first. Flash units are cheap, compact and quick however they can give variable results. The flash dry method is intended to dry ink to produce opaque colours or dry off colours to prevent smudging between print layers when printing multi-colour prints.
For home-studio printers, we recommend using these three methods: hand iron, oven bake and tumble drying to heat set the print.
3. Hand Iron Curing
Firstly ensure your prints are completely dry. When ironing Metallics, fabrics must be ironed from the inside or reverse side as the pigment in metallics limit the amount of heat going into the fabric. This is especially necessary when curing PERMASET SUPERCOVER® prints.
4. Bake Method
You can bake a print in the oven using a low heat temperature of 90°C or 194°F. Make sure to fold the fabric after air drying and wrap it in aluminium foil before placing inside a domestic oven.
5. Tumble Dry
You can heat cure a print by putting it through a tumble dryer. This method requires 30-minutes. You should always test this method prior to curing all your prints this way.
6. Tunnel Dryer
For commercial and trade printers, employing the drying tunnel method is the best method. The tunnel dryer is also called a belt dryer, this method is the most common for professional screen printers. For PERMASET® inks, the recommended curing is 160°C or 320°F with a standard time of 3 minutes going through the tunnel. Some print shops have success with shorter dwell times, again test this method and find out what works best for you.
Please Take Note
There are recommended temperature and time instructions for each product on the back of the PERMASET® packs to ensure you can properly set heat fabrics and garments. Learn more about screen printing with PERMASET® here, or contact PERMASET® for further advice and tips on screen printing using water-based inks.
For further information about heat curing PERMASET inks check out our Heat Curing Product Information Sheet