How to Screen Print on Tire Cover?

How to Screen Print on Tire Cover?

Screen printing on tire cover isn’t similar to printing on t-shirts. While the printing procedure remains almost similar, materials such as ink, mesh count, emulsion, and squeegee are particular to specific substrates. For your reference, you can think of printing outdoor signage. The material properties and methods used are similar to printing on tire covers. Below, let’s discuss everything in detail.

Table of Contents

Materials Required for Screen printing Tire Cover:

Other than vinyl tire cover, frames, screen printing machine, and conveyor dryer, you must have the following printing materials that are specific to printing on tire covers.

1. Inks:

Not all inks suitable for screen printing on tire cover. Particularly, tire covers are made with vinyl. So, we need vinyl inks. Mostly, Nazdar inks are suitable for vinyl substrates, especially for their longevity, durability, and UV resistance. In orders words, the ink used is equivalent to making outdoor signage.

2. Emulsion:

Use emulsion on the screen that must be compatible with vinyl inks. You will have to check with the emulsion manufacture to see if it holds up to solvent ink. You must use the right emulsion or it will lock that emulsion into your screen.

3. Squeegee:

It is better to use a harder squeegee (mostly 80 durometers).  You have to print faster since the ink will dry on the screen. After a print, gently flood the image area by pushing your ink backward from the top back over the image towards the bottom. Moreover, squeegee must be polyurethane type.

4. Screen Mesh:

As the ink required to print on vinyl is much thinner, therefore use screens of use at least 250 mesh count, or finer. Most probably within a range of 200-300 mesh count.

Step by Step Procedure to Screen Print Tire Cover:

Today I am going to explain to you how you gonna screen print the tire cover. You are going to need a screen, a squeegee, and some photo emulsion.

Step 1: Prepare your Emulsion:

You are not applying emulsions directly onto the screens. You gonna prepare it first.

Take a bottle of photosensitizer. Many emulsions come with a sensitizer. If not, you can get a Speedball Diazo Sensitizer. Next, you are going to add a little water to the bottle of photosensitizer and mix it up well. That loosens it from the sides of the bottle. And then you can pour it into the emulsion.

You can use hands, a spatula, or a mixer. Make sure that it is thoroughly mixed. It might take a little while, but you want to make sure that you get it fully consistent. On the other hand, vigorous mixing of emulsions creates air bubbles that cause pinholes-like formation onto the screen. Therefore, allow it to sit in the bottle for two hours to ensures all air bubbles settle before applying it to the screen.

Mixing your emulsion is the first step in preparing screens.

Step 2: Pour Emulsion onto the screen:

Once you have your emulsion ready, pour a little bit of it onto the screen. You don’t need to use it very much because it spreads nicely once you use the squeegee.

Make sure to get the entire thing covered where you are placing the image stencil. Make sure, the emulsion really spreads even onto the screen.

Now, don’t leave this emulsion in the light. Put a fan on it to dry and turn the lights off. You want it to dry in the dark.

Step 3: Expose your Screens:

Once it’s dry you do want to work quickly because this stuff is photosensitive. The longer the lights on it, the quicker it is going to set.

Print out your art on some transparencies, and you can do this at any office supplies store. And lay them backward on the back of the screen.

Lay a piece of glass over them to push them down against the screen, and then set a really bright light on top of it for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Step 4: Rinse your Screen:

The light exposes and hardens the emulsion that is no covered by the design. You can use a light spray and a soft toothbrush to help remove this area.

The way printing works is that the dark area acts as a mask. The white or lighter area lets the ink through onto the surface that you are printing on.

You want to do this gently because you don’t want to remove anything that you actually need. This may take a little bit of time.

Step 5: Printing the tire cover:

Now lay out the tire cover and place your screen onto it. Then add a nice thick bead of the screen printing ink. And pull the ink with a squeegee to get nice prints on the tire cover.

It is best to have somebody else hold your screen and pull the squeegee down across your print. You can use a manual or automatic printing press if you have it. If you have a manual press, you hook in the screen, line it up with your center line and you can get repeatable nice prints. Moreover, we are primarily focussing on the most affordable ways to screen print tire covers.

Step 6: Heat application:

Next, put the printed tire cover through a conveyor dryer for a few minutes to heat set the ink.

Finally, you are successfully done screen printing tire covers.

Step 7: Reuse the screen for more printing:

You can reuse the screens too if you are finished with them by putting some photo emulsion remover on them.

You can use Speedball photo emulsion remover. This is a simple solution that you can just wipe with a paper towel or a toothbrush. Make sure you put it on both sides of the screen and it does not have to stay longer than a couple of minutes.

Then you can use a hose to wash out all of the emulsion. If you use dark inks, sometimes it will stain the screen but you can still reprint through them as long as the emulsion is gone.


It needs a little bit of practice. When you do this for the first time, you may end up having some bad prints on tire covers. It takes a little while to get the feel of how hard you need to push down the squeegee and how to do it evenly. Because you want to make sure you get a really even pull. So, that the ink is spread evenly through the screen.

So, for beginners, it is best to find some old tire covers to practice on before you try to screen print new tire covers or the ones you would sell.

Finally, screen printing works on all sorts of things. Such as textiles, t-shirt, canvas, wood, bags, aprons, vinyl, hats, and more. Any type of clothing really works well.  You can also screen print on paper if you wanted to make any type of posters or invitation cards. Just make sure to heat set the after-screen printing, so that it cures and lasts longer.

Written by Davis Brown

Hi! I'm Davis Brown, Head of Editorial Team of HowNest. We are team of researchers, writers and veterans. We publish articles, whitepapers, journals and blogs with full-proof research and proper analysis. We focus on various areas such as eCommerce, industrial operations, corporate management, technologies, and DIY solutions.

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