Screen Printing 101: The What, The Why, The How

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Screen Printing is the most common method of pressing ink through a stenciled mesh screen for creating custom designs. This is also known as serigraphy or silk printing. This is quite a well-known method of creating custom-designed screen printing T-shirts or screen printing blankets. Even if you’ve never heard this term, the chances are you probably own or have worn one. Apart from clothing or textiles, it is commonly used for creating bold canvases, artworks, and posters as well.

What Exactly is Screen Printing?

Basically, a mesh screen is used to transfer a stenciled design onto a flat surface. Be it paper, cloth, wood, glass, or even metal, screen printing works with everything. The process involves creating a stencil or fine mesh screen, then pushing the specialized ink through it, to imprint the design on the surface beneath. The textile industry is brimming with screen printing designs due to its practical and efficient output.

Why Screen Printing?

There are various reasons behind the immense popularity of screen printing. Some of the major benefits of screen printing are-

1. Vibrant designs

The extent of vibrancy screen printing offers is hard to match with any other printing method. Especially the techniques like DTG (direct to garment) used for printing t-shirts use thinners like cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) dots to imprint their images. It gives great details, they lack vibrancy and result in dull and pale designs. Screen printing, on the other hand, produces more bolder and vibrant colors.

2. Wide range of variety

Screen printing enables different types of inks that result in various effects and textures. It means you have a wide range of variety when it comes to creating designs using screen printing. Moreover, some screen printing machines enable you to cover a wider area, resulting in more customization possibilities. In addition, you can apply any color or design to create more creative and fashionable clothing designs.

3. Bulk order friendly

Whether it’s 1 unit or 1000 units, you’ll have to go through the same amount of customization. It means it is better to create designs in bulk because the more units you will create, the more you’ll save. This is the reason more and more textile businesses are leaning towards screen printing.

4. Quick and efficient

Screen printing offers unparalleled speed and efficiency. Once you are through with setting up the stenciled mesh and other customization, the printing is a walk in a park from there. Some screen printing machines are so efficient that they can print over 4,000 units an hour.

5. Practical and durable

When it comes to screen printing, it can work on almost any flat surface including fabric, paper, glass, metal, wood, etc. therefore, it is a practical choice for creating custom screen print blankets or artwork. Moreover, the natural composition of inks and designs created using this method can withstand far more stress as compared to other printing methods. Therefore, screen printing offers long-lasting designs that don’t lose color or image quality for a long time.

6. An easy and straightforward method of printing

Since the method is quite popular, the tools and technologies are easily available in the market. Moreover, the method is the leading method followed in the textile industry, so the tools or technologies are not going obsolete anytime soon. In addition, the process itself is pretty easy to implement. If you are just starting, put your worries at ease. The learning curve is pretty negligible and you will master it in no time.

What are various methods of Screen Printing?

Screen printing has been in the market for quite some time. Therefore, the availability of various methods and techniques is inevitable. Some of the common methods used for screen printing are as mentioned below-

1. Rotary printing

This method is not as popular now but was considered quite innovative in 1963. Businesses used this method to scale up their production levels and speed. It involves the use of flat screams, ink and squeegee placed inside and wrapped around to form a tube. Then, it will be attached to a machine. As the name states, the rollers and web would move in harmony to make it a consistent process, resulting in a rotary printing process.

2. Stenciling

As the name suggests, it is the process of creating stencils. Instead of using hand-made stencils, photo-reactive chemicals like potassium, sodium, or ammonium chromate are used for creating detailed and photo-realistic designs.

3. Digital Hybrid

It integrates the automatic screen printing press with CMYK digital enhancement. The aim is to deliver a variety of data options for greater customization. This is the most efficient method used for bigger units like screen print blankets or pants.

Interest in printing high-quality screen print T-shirts or blankets? Talk to us! Also, check out our customized embroidery services.