Once known as silk-screening or serigraph printing, screen printing is a popular technique that employs a mesh screen to transfer ink onto a fabric. Popular for T-shirt and garment printing, is also great for outdoor uses such as banners and tablecloths used at trade shows and fairs.
Screen printers use a blocking stencil to make certain areas of a garment impermeable to the ink, while the intended design is transferred to a garment. The screen printing process produces vivid and durable results on fabric.
Over more than 30 years, Space Shirts has screen-printed millions of T-shirts and other garments. And our printers have mastered the art! Nancy, our lead printer, says, “Great screen printing is not just about applying ink to a shirt. It starts with the graphic artist’s design concept. Our graphic artists understand how ink plays with fabric and that’s really important.
“Also, today’s artists use computers to generate their designs and the plates they print from, so graphic artists must know how to properly calibrate their designs for professional output. For example, they need to know what size mesh openings will work best for transferring a particular design to fabric.
“Modern screens are typically made of polyester, nylon or stainless steel, rather than silk. Print quality depends on the mesh size, fabric, ink quality and printer’s skill. After we place the garment on our automated presses, we carefully watch the process and inspect each item printed to make sure the plates line up properly and all colors register as intended. That’s how we ensure sharp color with crisp edges.
“After garments are printed, we place them on a conveyer belt that pulls them through a drying tunnel. When they arrive at the other end, they are ready for packaging.”
Want to Know More about How Screen Printing Works?
Screen printing can be done manually or automatically. At Space Shirts most runs are done on an automatic press. (INCLUDE PHOTO) Screen printers press a blade or squeegee across a plastic or fabric screen to fill mesh openings (known as apertures) with ink. A reverse stroke then causes the screen to touch the fabric. As the blade passes, it presses the ink down, wetting the garment with a specific color. After the blade has passed, the screen bounces back. One color is printed at a time, so several screens are used to produce a multi-color image or design.
Why Use Screen Printing?
Screen printing is a great option when you need more than a just few shirts, hats or other garments. Starting with runs of 24 or more in one-color, screen printing generally costs less per garment than other printing options, such as plateless (direct-to-garment) printing and dye-sublimation printing.
Wondering about Cost Factors?
The cost of screen printing depends on the number of colors used, the quantity of goods needed and the cost of garments selected for printing.
Need help deciding the most cost-effective printing option for your branding needs? Call Space Shirts at 1-800-451-7453, or local at 321-453-7453.