What is Screen Printing?
Screen printing is a common technique involving forcing ink through a silkscreen to create a printed graphic. It’s used to make custom apparel, easels, artwork, banners, and more in various industries worldwide. Silkscreen printing or serigraphy are two terms that are commonly used to describe this process.
The method of transferring a stenciled image onto a surface using a mesh screen, ink, and a spatula is known as screen printing, silk screening, or silkscreen printing (a rubber blade). Screen printing begins with creating a stencil on a mesh screen, followed by applying ink to the below-surface surface to form and imprint the design.
Screen printing is most commonly done on paper and fabric, but it can also be done on metal, wood, or plastic. It is a widely utilized method for various reasons, the most compelling of which is the wide range of colors available.
What is the characteristics of Screen Printing?
Printing on a wide variety of surfaces is feasible with screen printing. Screen printing allows you to print on a variety of shapes and sizes of characters. There are numerous types of ink available. Colors are more vibrant, the finish is more opaque, and the lightfastness is improved with a thick coating.
Screen printing ink is thicker and has a higher viscosity than regular ink and several other characteristics to fulfill the requirements and preferences of the silk screening. Oil-based Plastisol ink, water-based suede, discharging, and expanding ink are the most often used inks for silk screening.
We recommend printing on cloth with a softer rubber and printing on paper with a harder rubber.
After print we need to heat print with specific temperature. You will get guidelines from inks distributor on which temperature should heat the print but this is more complex case. You need a lot of experience in printing to set up good temperature. We have got two cases:
- Temperature is too low – print may be shattering and may not be resistant to washing
- Temperature is too high – your material, paper may catch fire. Cotton bags and t-shirt may get yellow discolorations
When we can use Screen Printing?
Screen printing is a popular process for generating bright canvases, posters, and artwork, but it can also print fabrics and textiles, making it ideal for personalized clothes and items.
It has been utilized in the commercial and artistic sectors for over a century and is mainly used for producing images and designs on T-shirts, tote bags, paper, wood, ceramics, and other materials. Depending on the goal and the printing technology employed, there are various varieties of screen printing.
Which materials/products are perfect for screen printing?
The fabric itself primarily determines the ease with which you can screen print on the fabric, and some materials are more straightforward to work with than others. The screen printing process has a lot of variables that affect the final output, including the ink and curing procedure.
However, developments in ink technology have made it possible to print on various surfaces without fear of color bleeding or failure to adhere.
If you want to screen print a batch of t-shirts or other fabrics or garments, you need to know whether you can anticipate the cloth to deliver the results you want. Because all textiles are not created equal, this article will assist you in determining which the best for printing are.
Cotton is usually thought to be the best cloth for screen printing. This is due to its absorbency nature, which means it absorbs more ink and makes it a superior screen printing substrate.
T-shirt made from cotton are ideal fabric to print on. Because they have cotton’s absorbent qualities and are softer to the touch – essential because whether or not an article of clothing is comfortable to wear is a significant factor in determining whether you wear it or consign it to your dresser drawer.
Other natural and typical materials are also acceptable for screen printing, however, with some limitations. Silk is an excellent surface for screen printing, although thinner materials absorb less ink than thicker fabrics. This means you shouldn’t expect the same look as you would with cotton or wool, and extra caution should be exercised during the printing process.
Wool is also a good choice for screen printing because it’s thick and absorbs a lot of ink, but complex fabrics will be more challenging to work with, especially if you want to print an intricate design. Other natural fibers tend to produce good results, so go ahead and get screen prints on organic bamboo fiber t-shirts.
Polyester is another good option for screen printing but it demands a lot of experience in this process. Material absorbs a lot of ink, but we need to apply special color blockers – t-shirts are tightly stretch and without blockers, print will shatter when you put it on.
Advantage and Disadvantages of Screen Printing
Cost-effective: This method is best kept for large orders because it necessitates manufacturing screens for each color used in an artwork. The lower the cost per unit, the more clothing is ordered in a single purchase.
Easy to Print: Screen printing is one of the most diverse printing methods available. It may be done on practically any flat surface, including fabric, wood, plastic, and even metal, to name a few.
Use Different Inks: Screen printing provides you with a thicker ink layer than other methods, which gives you more options for the piece’s finish.Quality: Patterns can endure significantly greater stress than other methods without sacrificing print quality because of the structure and thickness of the inks used in screen printing.
More money for a variety of hues: Only one color may be applied at a time due to the screen printing procedure. As a result, the amount of colors available on a t-shirt is restricted, and each additional layer necessitates more time, more screen and stencil, and, ultimately, more money.
For modest orders, this is not feasible.
Before going into production, screen printing requires more preparation than other processes. This precludes it from being used for “on-demand” printing, which involves creating a garment as soon as it is ordered.
Relative Complex: Screen printing, despite sounding contradictory, may be fairly complex depending on the design and project because it involves more processes than other procedures.Not suitable for the environment: Although efforts have been made to develop environmentally friendly inks and screens, the fact remains that screen printing loses a significant amount of water. Water is required to mix inks and clean screens that may not seem like a big deal at first, but garment makers produce hundreds of outfits every day, and the numbers can add up quickly.
Screen printing is a versatile procedure that lets you print on various surfaces like wood, glass, metals, paper, textile, and plastic. Because a stencil may be used multiple times in a row, it is an excellent printing method for large orders.
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