In order to stay ahead of the competition, it is important to be open to using specialized printing techniques that will allow you to offer your clients a larger array of creative opportunities. One very popular and timeless design is simulated embroidery. This retro style stitch print gives a soft vintage look and feel that is perfect for a variety of applications. I have created a guide to achieving this look using Wilflex SPFX (Special FX) bases.

Before you begin, it is important to engineer your design to consider what types of bases you are going to use for each component of the print. With specialty printing, there are three key points to consider in order to be successful: understanding how each base works, what mesh counts to use, and the print sequence.

For the sample print (pictured below) we used the following inks, mesh counts, and squeegees in this print order:

  1. Navy blue soft hand was used for the background and drop shadow under the lettering. Wilflex Fashion Soft Base with 5% pigment load, 305 mesh and 70/90/70 durometer squeegee.
  2. The bright green lettering was created with Wilflex Mixing base with 6% pigment load and 3% by weight of Wilflex Thickener #2. This creates a very soft high density ink. An 86 mesh with a 200 micron stencil and 60/90/60 durometer squeegee were used for this layer.
  3. Flash
  4. For the needle punch holes and stitching drop shadows, Wilflex Matte Black through a 230 mesh. 70/90/70 durometer squeegee was used.
  5. For the stitching, we used Wilflex Suede Base with 6% White Pigment load printed through a 195 mesh and a 60/90/60 durometer squeegee.

The edge of the lettering is intentionally done with a rough edge in the artwork to give the impression of worn fabric and to add dimension to the design. The navy background is extremely soft and has a very worn look, similar to a shirt that has been washed several times. The suede ink gives the stitching a 3D look and feel, simulating thread on the garment. The black ink creates drop shadows of the stitching, adding yet another dimension to the design and giving it a realistic appearance.

Close-up view of simulated embroidery screen print design

Using Wilfex’s specialty bases can add an innovative edge to any design. I hope you can use this how-to to create this effect and gain some new ideas on how to gain a competitive advantage in the industry.