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Author Topic: Removing silkscreened text from clothing  (Read 777 times)
LukeHogbin
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« on: July 20, 2014, 12:12:28 pm »

Alright, here's the deal:

I have this labcoat-like piece from my old job, which has the name of the company silkscreened across the shoulderblades. The fabric is 50% cotton and 50% polyester.

Any of you got any idea as to how to remove the writing without damaging the coat ?

See pic attached:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
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MarcusJuliusCroft
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2014, 12:27:11 pm »

Buy a new coat  Wink Wink
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LukeHogbin
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Steamcat


« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2014, 01:08:21 pm »

Not a particularly useful piece of advice, is it ? These things cost 30-40 eur a piece new. And I have a perfectly fine one, I just don't want that company name on it.
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Drew P
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2014, 01:58:26 pm »

I know that if you continue to iron on top of a graffic(lettering, in your case) that it will slowly start to crack and peel. But this usually takes many, many washes.
How about getting a block of color(matching the darker color) screened across the shoulders to cover it?
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MWBailey
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2014, 03:05:55 pm »

I've done screen printing and similar graphic arts, and I worked for several years in DIY and Industrial Paint departments, so I know just a bit about this sort of thing.

I'm sorry to say that Mr. Croft may have had the best suggestion, albeit not a terribly helpful one. Mr. Drew's, while rather difficult in actual execution from a design standpoint, would be probably better than trying to actually remove the lettering. Below are several reasons why.
 
One issue is that silkscreening media are not all formulated the same across the board. Some are oil-based, some are alcohol- or other solvent-based, some use another whole type of media as a base (many are lacquer-based, for example), and some are water-based (these are often nearly impossible to remove without damaging the fabric). Which type it is will determine to a great degree what will "cut" or remove the screened image.

Other issues are:
1. In order for the media to be forced through the screen, it has to be extraordinarily thin, in some cases almost watery. This causes a kind of dyeing effect in the more absorbent fabrics, meaning that even if the surface layer is removed, some may/will remain in the outer part of the threads of the fabric. Thinner or less closely-woven fabrics often allow the media to soak all the way through, as in the case of some silk or similar scarves. Multiple application of the removal media will probably be necessary in any case. Some pigmentation will most likely remain whatever you use. That's just the nature of the beast.

2. Even if you do manage to remove the design, there will be the difference in intensity of the fabric's color between where the image was located (much the same as if you removed a sewn-on fabric patch), and where the fabric around it has been effectively "bleached" by exposure to light and just general wear and tear. I have no practical experience in balancing fabric color intensity in such a situation, so I can't really suggest anything but a theoretical solution, which might not or probably won't work.

Whatever you do, don't soak it in solvent, I in fact would vehemently advise against it, since that creates one hell of a fire hazard, and oh yes it can bet set alight by the very slightest spark, in some cases no spark at all, but just the innate "heat" of the solvent itself reacting to something in the soaking item.

Not to mention that if the garment is wholly or partially made of synthetic fibers, it might well dissolve partially or wholly in the presence of a solvent whose basic formulation contains one or possibly more of the chemicals (such as toluene, MEK, Varsol, acetone, benzine, etc.to name a few possibilities, all of which are absolutely brain-melting and toxic as hell) used to thin the resin from which the synthetic fiber is made.

Sorry to be not very helpful, but forewarned is forearmed (pardon the cliche').
« Last Edit: July 20, 2014, 03:54:48 pm by MWBailey » Logged

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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2014, 07:52:21 pm »

 there is no harm in trying to remove the offending graphic.[did they have no creative flair???]

  It may take several goes , persistence and patience.

Try one of those fabric cleaner soaps  or bottles, soak for several hours or  over night. It is having some effect  repeat a few times.

 Meths,  kerosene  or acetone applied liberally 

 apply  one of those thick ammonia based cleaning products  [ not bleach] and soak for a short  spell.

   after using any of the above , soaking in a wash powder solution  over night

 repeat if necessary

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Will Howard
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2014, 09:39:30 pm »

Have you considered adding a cape (like on a late 18th/early 19th C greatcoat)?  Ths silkscreening would still be there, but concealed by the cape.  If you can't match the fabric/colo(u)r exactly, a deliberate contrast is better than a bad match.  You could even line it in still another colo(u)r & make it reversable.
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MWBailey
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rtafStElmo
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2014, 10:18:15 pm »

I'd suggest trying solvents of any sort on an easily hidden part of the garment and see how they react with the fibers (if you want to risk it, that is. I wouldn't, given past personal experience). In my experience, acetone melts everything plastic, including synthetic garment fabrics.  "Meths" vary in their effects according to formulation (MEK-Methyl Ethyl Ketone- tends to act much like acetone). If the printing media is water-based, solvents may degrade the media to the point where it flakes away or melts altogether, or have no really discernible effect whatsoever. The chances that they will damage the fibers of the fabric are high, however.

Some of the solvents mentioned may be impossible to attain due to government restrictions. I Haven't messed with them much since the 1990s, when the chemical weapons scare occurred and many solvents became restricted in the US (it's the reason you have difficulty buying toluene, Varsol or MEK for example, in larger amounts than a gallon or so - if that- without a permit. Maybe the restrictions have been lifted, but I haven't heard of it if so).

Also, be sure to ventilate the area you are working in VERY well (as in open a window and aim a fan at it or the piece or both), and wear a mask that filters out fumes.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2014, 10:38:08 pm by MWBailey » Logged
Dharmagraphics
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2014, 02:57:40 am »

I am a professional screenprinter and have been for over 20 years .
 I sometimes have to remove a similar graphic from a garment . It IS possible.
We use a pressurized " spot cleaning gun " . This is very similar to a paint gun however we are spraying a cleaning solvent , and the garment is placed over a metal screen that draws air through the garment with a vacuum . so you are working on a one inch area at a time .
  This equipment is at any reputable Dry Cleaner . There are solvents for grease-based stains and other solvents for ink .
 Perhaps you could work a deal with a local Dry Cleaner .


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-Rf2gfY2yQ
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MarcusJuliusCroft
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2014, 03:17:27 am »

I know, I know, that my suggestion was rather unhelpful, but I still believe that that is the best option.  I said it because other then spending large amounts of money on specialized equipment and time, it would be far cheaper to purchase a new coat and of course, I would highly advise you not to go soaking or saturating any part of a coat with solvent.  Although the others suggestions would leave you a coat with no name, in the name of science, it would take one stray spark for you to go poof up in a cloud of smoke.

And thank you Mr Bailey, I agree with you.
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2014, 03:35:43 am »

as the offending graphic is on a yok, one could   cover the yoke,  make a patch out of a piece of fabric with a relevant design or print.

 such as a rice or flour bag ,  quilting  print  or other  large label.
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MWBailey
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"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2014, 05:01:50 am »

I am a professional screenprinter and have been for over 20 years .
 I sometimes have to remove a similar graphic from a garment . It IS possible.
We use a pressurized " spot cleaning gun " . This is very similar to a paint gun however we are spraying a cleaning solvent , and the garment is placed over a metal screen that draws air through the garment with a vacuum . so you are working on a one inch area at a time .
  This equipment is at any reputable Dry Cleaner . There are solvents for grease-based stains and other solvents for ink .
 Perhaps you could work a deal with a local Dry Cleaner .


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-Rf2gfY2yQ




Oops, my bad; I had completely forgotten about the cleaner's gun. Sorry about that.
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MarcusJuliusCroft
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Australia Australia



« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2014, 05:04:14 am »

I am a professional screenprinter and have been for over 20 years .
 I sometimes have to remove a similar graphic from a garment . It IS possible.
We use a pressurized " spot cleaning gun " . This is very similar to a paint gun however we are spraying a cleaning solvent , and the garment is placed over a metal screen that draws air through the garment with a vacuum . so you are working on a one inch area at a time .
  This equipment is at any reputable Dry Cleaner . There are solvents for grease-based stains and other solvents for ink .
 Perhaps you could work a deal with a local Dry Cleaner .


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-Rf2gfY2yQ




Oops, my bad; I had completely forgotten about the cleaner's gun. Sorry about that.

Still though, wouldn't this be more expensive then purchasing a new coat?
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VampirateMace
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Mein Hexapod


« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2014, 07:48:48 am »

If the fabric is relatively the same inside and out (and you have a sewing machine), you could rip the seams and re-sew the section so that the lettering is on the inside.
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LukeHogbin
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Slovenia Slovenia


Steamcat


« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2014, 10:14:21 am »

I've had moderate success with acetone-free nail varnish remover and a buffing cloth. A few more passes then a thorough washing should hopefully work.

Thanks for all the advice, folks. ^^
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MWBailey
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"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2014, 05:08:35 pm »

I've had moderate success with acetone-free nail varnish remover and a buffing cloth. A few more passes then a thorough washing should hopefully work.

Thanks for all the advice, folks. ^^



Interesting! I'll add that to my list of possible methods.
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