Airbrushing & Screen Printing: Can They Be Combined?

Airbrushing has often been combined with screen printing with various degrees of success. One of the best screen print/air brush hybrid methods I’ve seen was done on a black satin baseball jacket or wind breaker. The guy would print a design in white ink on the black satin jackets and cure them normally. Then he would air brush different colors into the design without any masking or cropping the over spray.

The key factor in this method was that wherever he over sprayed onto the black satin, the air brush paint would basically disappear into the satin fabric and be invisible. He would work 1 color at a time moving through the order of jackets. I am not sure if he used any special air brush paint. I think it was a standard air dry type. But the air brush paint adhered very well to the plastisol ink and to this day some of these jackets still exist in great shape.

I do not know a lot about airbrushing or the paints used but the effect that this guy achieved with his technique was great. And it was a cheap way to give the customer a fancy multi colored design without the costs of all the set up and printing. However, it did take some time to do the airbrushing and it was necessary to charge extra for each airbrushed color but it was cheaper than direct screen printing for the customer.

Obviously this method was limited to black satin jackets but black is a very popular color to sell anyway. So that was never a real issue especially when the customer learns they could get a multicolored print without all the extra costs of screen printing set up. So the compromise of the black jacket was never a problem. These jackets sold very well for many years in the local area of this screen printer.

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