Screen printing is an art form that allows for a wide variety of designs, artwork and text to be printed on clothing. It requires close attention to detail and skill in order to achieve quality prints. Apparel screen printing is a popular choice for team logos and other types of graphics that require multiple colors. It is also a popular choice for creating one-of-a-kind, unique t-shirts that you can’t find in stores. However, the quality of a screen printed garment can degrade over time with frequent washing and drying. The inks used for screen printing can crack, wash out, or fade if not fully cured. To prevent this from happening, follow these tips to ensure your apparel is durable and long-lasting.
The most important step in the screen printing process is to prepare a stencil for your design. This is done by coating the screen with a photosensitive emulsion. Once the emulsion is dry, an overlay of the design is placed on top and exposed to a high-intensity light source. The light burns away the areas of the image that are not coated with emulsion. The emulsion that remains becomes a negative image of the screen design, which is then washed off thoroughly and used again for future print runs.
Once the screens are ready, they need to be aligned in order to print a multi-color job. This is called registration. The print operator places the first color of ink on a scrap shirt and then aligns all of the other screens to that same position. Any nudges to the registration can be made at this time until all of the colors line up perfectly on the garment.
After the colors are aligned, they are run on a fabric screen. The squeegee is used to apply the ink. The ink is thicker than the inks used for heat transfers, which allow for greater freedom of color and sophistication. However, it is still a relatively slow process when printing large quantities of shirts.
When the printing is complete, the screen is washed and the excess ink is removed from the squeegee. The shirt is then hung to dry. Once the ink feels dry, a hot iron can be used to set it.
Unlike direct-to-garment (DTG) printing, which sprays the ink onto the shirt and soaks it into the fibers of the material, screen printing layers the ink on top of the fabric. This makes it a faster and more affordable printing method for short-run orders of single or few colors. However, it limits the complexity of the design and may not be as durable in the long run as heat transfer prints. It is important to note that the inks used for screen printing are much tougher than those used for other types of printing, and they can last longer if treated well. To avoid the ink cracking or washing out, be sure to follow the tips in this article to keep your apparel looking its best. apparel screen printing