How Does Screen Printing Work?
3 minute(s) read
Published on: Dec 25, 2021
Updated on: Dec 25, 2021
Sometimes also referred to as silk screening, screen printing is a printing process that uses thick ink of different colors that sit on top of something like a t-shirt or sweatshirt rather than them soaking into the material. This is what the vast majority of businesses used back in the day as it was the only natural way of producing large quantities of customized garments. Although many different printing methods are available to companies, screen printing remains extremely popular throughout the country, including screen printing in Boise, Idaho.
Because screen printing uses thick ink, it is best suited to those designs that only include a few different colors. However, the process is time-consuming, and so for more extensive, bulk orders, another type of printing may be a better option.
First off, a thin mesh screen is placed over a frame very tightly. An inverted image of the design being printed is then placed onto the screen and is lowered onto the garment. Once in position, the ink is pressed over the net and passes through the design and onto the garment. The ink then begins to dry, and the garment is set aside.
While this is a simplistic explanation of the process, screen printing is much more complicated than this. There are various techniques, inks, and chemicals involved in putting a design onto a garment, but what has been explained is its main gist.
For more detail, the screen printing process can be broken down into the following different components.
- The screen
Like a screen door on a house, the screen used during the printing process contains many small holes. Before the pressing process commences, it is covered in an emulsion to stop the ink from bleeding through.
- The color
- the ink used during the screen printing process comes in various colors and can even be matched to a specific color or tone. However, the screen printing of a design or logo works best when only a few separate colors are used.
- The press
- the large press machine contains numerous arms with frames attached at the end. This is what the screen is linked to. Garments are stretched out underneath the screen, and ink pressed down onto it and the material underneath.
- The dry
- screen printed garments are placed into a dry so that the colors do not run and bleed into one another. The exact temperature used for drying depends on the type of garment that has been printed onto. Once dried, the finished design is inspected for quality control purposes.
- The finished garment
- the entire process is performed by hand, and so is the perfect choice for when large runs are required with just a few colors. You will notice how the finished design feels on the garment in that it is raised. This is because the ink dries on top of the material and not in it.