WHAT IS SCREEN PRINTING?
In short it’s a method in which ink is applied directly to a surface, in this case a garment. The image to be printed is photographically transferred to a very fine fabric mesh in which the non-printing areas are blocked off therefore making the fabric serve as a stencil.
The ink is wiped across the screen to pass through the unblocked pores and reach the fabric. For each colour to be printed a separate screen is prepared and the process is repeated. Want to see the process in action? Head over to our Youtube channel. Below you can find all the information you need step by step about the screen printing process on to garments.
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.
STEP 1 - ARTWORK AND COLOURS
The first step in the screen printing process once you have finalised your design is to
work out how many colours you would like printing and what colours they are.If you’ve
only got one colour to print then you can skip ahead to the next step and decide your garments!
We have to set up one screen for each colour in the design, so the more colours in
your design, the higher the cost. Alternatively if you would like a design with several colours,
but would like to keep costs down, look at our heat transfer option in ink types.
In this example, we’d use a halftone to print the details and each screen would have a different colour (red, light grey, dark grey and black).
If this design were to be printed on a dark garment we’d need an additional white base colour, which would require an additional screen. Design by Suara Store.
In this example, we’d separate the peach from the black. Each colour needs its own screen so we’d have one screen for the peach colour and one for the black.
If this were printed on a dark garment, we’d need an additional white base colour to make sure the peach prints well. Design by Laura Callahan.
You’ve got your design finalised and now you need the perfect garment to print it on to.We are able to provide high quality garments that have been tried and tested with our industry standard printing equipment.
Our garment catalogue provides a great selection of hoodies, t-shirts, sweatshirts, accessories and more. Have a look on our garment page for a full selection. If you like, you can provide your own garments but this will incur a small charge as we have to check each individual garment is suitable for printing.
MAXIMUM PRINT AREA
Everything has a limit and that applies to printing to. Our adult mock ups below represent a size medium/large, these will slightly vary dependent on design and garment. You can see the full range of garments we supply on our garment page.
Jumbo and all-over prints incur an additional charge. A top tip from us, is to print out your design exactly to scale how you’d like it and lay it out flat on a spare t-shirt. Too small, too big, you’ll visually notice straight away.
CHOOSE AN INK
STANDARD INK TYPES
This is an oil based ink that was purposely created for t-shirt printing. It’s great if you want bright, solid colours that will barely ever fade. Plastisol also wins every time for tonal designs and can retain very fine detail, even over large week long print runs.
The main drawback is that it’s not as breathable and heavier to wear than its water based or discharge counterparts.
Often the best choice on light garments the ink really penetrates the fabric leaving a non-glossy, super soft, almost textureless finish. It’s also the most ecological choice.
A downside is the colours will not stay box-fresh bright after washing and won’t show up well on darker fabrics. The ink is also prone to drying out during the run which may lead to inconsistencies.
We add a bleach based additive to the ink, print it like normal onto dark fabric and pop it into the dryer. The heat activates the bleach taking the printed areas back to their natural, un-dyed colour thus allowing the pigments in the ink to stand out.
This is our ‘go to’ for large, soft prints onto dark garments. However the effect will not work fully unless the material is 100% cotton.
This is the process of printing designs onto special transfer paper and then applying the transfer paper onto the t-shirt or garment using a commercial heat press.
It enables full-colour images to be printed very quickly and is a great option for promotional clothing. The downside to this process is that it’s often not as wash resistant as the other three. For more info on this process have a look at our heat transfer page.
SPECIALITY INK TYPES
These inks are made up of a mixture of pigment and a liquid resin. The pigments have to be ground so that they are fine enough to pass through the mesh of a screen which makes them less brilliant than foiling however the results are longer lasting
Made up of a lycra binder mixed with light reflecting glass beads this ink works really well both as a decorative tool and to increase night time visibility.
Chemically designed to puff up when cured these inks become raised when they reach the correct temperature. This process works really well with large and bold designs but also as a final accent colour in a multi layer print.
Photo luminescent inks owe their magic to phosphors – a chemical that absorbs energy and re-emits it as visible light.
Glow in the dark inks can be produced in a variety of colours but the human eye is most sensitive to green light so this will appear brightest.
We supply and print a number of different coloured foils for application onto almost any garment. The print process involves us screen printing a glue and then, once the it has cured we heat press the foil of your choice in place.
The pigment in fluorescent ink works by absorbing UV energy and transmitting it as longer waves. The inks can be fairly transparent so almost always require either a base or double hit but the final outcome is striking, particularly on dark garments.
This ink is perfect for giving your t-shirts an instant vintage look. A self crack base is applied before the top coat is printed. The heavier the ink application the larger the cracks will appear.
Not so much an ink as a transfer flock is a way of adding a soft velour like texture to a design. The process works by first screen printing an adhesive base before applying small synthetic or natural fibres and heat pressing to seal.
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