Screen Printing

SCREEN PRINTING also known as serigraphy, is a method of creating an image on paper, fabric or some other object by pressing ink through a screen with areas blocked off by a stencil. The technique is used both for making fine art prints and for commercial applications.

Screen printing was a technique first used by the Chinese almost 2000 years ago. Human hair was stretched across a wooden frame to create a screen. Stencils made from leaves were then attached to the screens. This is considered to be the first application of screen printing. Later, the Japanese adopted the screen printing process and used woven silk to create the mesh and lacquers to make stencils. The use of silk is where screen printing got its alternative name "Silk Screening".

When it comes to apparel printing, screen printing is the industry standard for superior quality. Most graphic tees sold in major retail stores have been screen printed. The process is designed to make garments bold in appearance yet cost effective at the same time.

Today, screen printing is accomplished by making a mesh stencil (called a screen) for each color that needs to be printed. Screens must be lined up (or registered) and printed on test sheets to ensure that all of the colors line up correctly. Inks are then pushed through the screens one color at a time onto the apparel. Finally, each piece is run through a large dryer to cure the inks.

Screen printing is designed to be printed in bulk. The printing part of the process is actually the fastest part. All the costs and time are in the setup. This is why the cost per shirt goes down the more you print per design. A lot of work goes into getting a shirt ready to print and requires almost every employee at the company. Artwork has to be mocked up and films have to be created. After this, the screens department converts the film into screens. Next, the printers setup the presses to run the shirts. It takes a good bit of time to setup a press to run shirts, hence the required minimum qty of 12 pieces per order.

One of the great things about screen printing is that if you can think of a color, we can print it. The hard part is telling us what the color is. The only true way to do this is by providing us with a PMS color #. To do this you need a Coated Pantone Book (which we provide). Find the color you want and give us the number next to it and we'll do the rest.

Another great fact about screen-printed t-shirts is that they wash well and can maintain the print quality for some time. Most printing you see in the high street shops will have been printed this way, although digital printing has become popular for photographs on shirts recently.

One thing many customers do not realise is that screen printing is very much an art in more ways than one. Not all t-shirt printers or promotional clothing printers take the same care over the quality of the printing as we do. At neXsigns we make sure our print doesn’t crack, colors don’t overlap, the design is straight and the ink is thick enough.

Now that you know what screen printing is all about, we suggest that you visit our quotes page to request a price and or a consultation. We’ll walk through the process with you in more detail and even help you with a design if you need one. You’ll be happy you came to neXsigns.

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