What is Screen Printing?
Screen Printing is the most common type of printing technique for customised t-shirt and garment printing. We typically suggest this method for larger quantity orders of 50 units or more because of the set-up fees involved and economies of scale that are achievable. Screen printing produces the highest quality print results out of all the other printing techniques. For example, prices can range as low as £1.45 per t-shirt on an order of 250 t-shirts.
The first step involved in screen printing is making the screen that will basically perform as a stencil for your printed design or artwork. Screens are made by transferring a transparent film with vector artwork printed onto it, called a positive, to a silky mesh surface with a chemical emulsion that is then exposed to light. The light causes for the chemical surface to dissolve around the printed design and results with a stencil for printing colour onto your desired garments. The screen must be washed at this point as to remove the residual emulsion from the surface and leave it ready for reuse in the future. You now have your screen and are ready to print onto your t-shirt or garment!
Once your screen is made up, your t-shirt or desired garment is placed onto a platen (looks like a small ironing board made for a t-shirt) and the screen onto the machine in the correct alignment for printing. It is vital to have the position correct otherwise your print will be out of alignment. The next step is to apply the coloured ink specific to your screen, which is rolled on with a squeegee and then transferred directly to your t-shirt or garment of choice. The machine then proceeds to rotate and expose the platen under light until the ink on the t-shirt or garment dries. This process continues to occur with each successive screen that is required by your design or artwork. Once all the colours are applied and dried, your t-shirt or garment is finished and ready for folding.
Puff Screen Printing
Discharge Screen Printing
*It is important to remember that for every colour in your artwork or design, a separate screen is required. This is what we refer to as set-up fees and is the sole reason why we recommend screen-printing on larger quality orders, as it can be quite expensive, especially for small-run quantities. Please note that we ask for vector artwork, which is like an Adobe Illustrator (.ai, .eps or a coral artwork) file. The reason being is that we must require files in this format so that we can separate each colour from within the design or artwork to determine how many screens will be needed for the print job.