Too many colours?

posted by HardCandyGFX • 3 years ago

Hi DBHers,

I had a design rejected today because it had too many colours for an all-over print, so I think I need some more info on what is possible with the screen printing process…

In this design I used a 3 colour gradient, which I thought would be OK because of the 4 colour limit on all-over prints.
In another thread (linked below) Wotto told me that halftones and gradients are possible by overlaying inks, so I assumed using a 3 colour gradient would be within the boundaries of possibility.

Can you guys (and gals) educate me a little better on this subject?



Original thread:

8 Replies

cbass99 cbass99 Artist from California, United States

maybe this will help. just google “screenprint gradients”

check this out –

HardCandyGFX HardCandyGFX Artist from Czech Republic

Thanks for your reply!
Reading the article you referenced, and it’s comments, it seems like it would be possible to print this design using 3 or 4 colours, as long as halftoning was employed.
Is this something easily done? Should I be stating that I have separated greyscale images for each colour channel in my submission?

miahsix miahsix Human from CO, United States

With all over prints you can only have up to three colors but with what your doing you should have been ok. I’m wondering if they thought the circles were a fourth color.

HardCandyGFX HardCandyGFX Artist from Czech Republic

Thanks for your reply!
I thought so too, and indeed, maybe they saw the t-shirt colour as a seperate colour… it’s possible!

wotto wotto Artist from CA, United States


We can print 4 colors for all overs, we prefer 3 but 4 is doable. In this case to get the colors this bright we would need to use a base which pushes this to 5 maybe even 6 colors. It’s also blended in a way that would not transfer to screen print very well. If I saw the psd of this I would probably guess you didn’t blend 4 separate colors but more like 7 colors? You were maybe thinking that inks printed over one another would create this effect, it will but not with this many colors.
The only way to achieve this kind of thing is to print on white tees and have 4 colors in photoshop over laid using halftones, I don’t think you did this here but I might be wrong. It looks like a gradient which isn’t reflective of what screen printing can do.

I hope this helps and good luck with the revisions.

HardCandyGFX HardCandyGFX Artist from Czech Republic

Thanks Wotto,

I am currently experimenting with different halftone methods to rduce the number of colours to 3 (R/G/B) – is that what you would recommmend?
Also, for some more advanced halftoning for screen printing tutorials I am reading, it is useful to know what screen mesh sizes you use, could you tell me that, please?
Also, if you have any preference for screen angles for the 3 colors, please let me know?


wotto wotto Artist from CA, United States

Hi Ed,

Yes I would halftone 3 colors over one another.

We have a large range of screen mesh sizes available to us. If we selected the design we would use the mesh that best suits the piece. Our separators are very well versed on mesh count etc, if the art is strong enough we’ll find the right equipment to print it.

HardCandyGFX HardCandyGFX Artist from Czech Republic

Awesome, thanks Wotto!

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