What is screen printing you ask? Well first it should be know that there are many faces and sides to the world of screen printing. There are countless processes and alternative ways to get to the point of a finished, custom T–shirt but today we’re going to cover one specific method that has been used the longest and is the most widespread – silk screening (aka screen printing). Now even though things have greatly changed within the world of screen printing thanks to today’s technology, the premise is still the same. You ultimately will have a shirt, a screen with an image burned into it (that’s a whole other topic), and a bunch of really thick ink. The traditional method was that you could only print shirts by hand by applying a generous amount of ink to the top of the screen and using a squeegee to slowly force the ink–evenly–onto the t-shirt to get your custom design printed.
First Step to Learning What Is Screen Printing
So let’s assume we have our artwork in place and ready to be burned into some screens for printing. It should be noted that many shops use different methods so I’ll go over what we personally do. We use screens that have a thick substance that is easily affected by light. Essentially we us a custom tanning bed to burn the image of the artwork into the screen while keeping the rest of the screen intact so our shirts aren’t slathered in ink in the end. From that point there are two necessary points that must be taken care of. The screens must stay away from UV-light as to not damage the screens or the burned design. Second, the screen is further perfected by applying water to the screen just to clear out all of the little holes to ensure just the right amount of ink goes through.
Now that we’ve got our screens ready to go, it’s time to move onto the actual printing process. Remember earlier when I said you had to use a squeegee to drive the ink through the screen? Well that part still remains true except we no longer have to do it by hand! That’s where our 10-armed printers (for up to 10-colors) comes into play. We’re able to load the screens in place, select the proper ink colors, and let the machine drive the ink on through. Of course we still have to load the t-shirts into the correct place but who knows, that part could soon be replaced by machines as well. In order to ensure that the ink can settle properly, the shirts are immediately taken from the printers and placed into the oven at some pretty high temperatures.
Design Your Own Shirt
As I previously said, there are many different processes that can be done for screen printing and really t-shirt printing in general. The exact process that we just described really comes in handy for large-rush orders or for those customers truly want their design(s) to pop will a slew of colors. We’ll ultimately cover the methods we choose to use and let you know what methods are best for you and your order here on our blog. Speaking of order, did you know you can design your very own custom t-shirt right in our Design Studio and order it straight from us!? Pretty cool, huh?