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.
Getting the size and placement of your design correct is no small task. You can have your print almost anywhere at almost any size but we have a few standards that will help you to understand what’s going to work really well.
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.
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.
GLOW IN THE DARK
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.