Do you know? The screen printing technique can print 40-100 t-shirts in an hour. You would think, “This is too feasible! Can custom t-shirts be printed in an hour with our own unique designs? How about a little technique called screen printing? Hell yes, we do that too. The screen printing is by far the best t-shirt printing method for custom t-shirts as it offers quality at a very reasonable price. This is one of the most preferred printing methods for bulk orders! How screen printing ticks all the boxes? You’ll find out below :
A screen printed t-shirt (in.pinterest.com)
What is Screen Printing?
Screen printing is a t-shirt printing technique which is done with a stencil. This stencil is made according to the custom t-shirt design. Screen printing prints t-shirts with a thick ink which penetrates deeply into the fabric, increasing the t-shirt’s durability. The only cost involved in this printing technique is the creation of stencil. But wait what’s the magic inside screen printing? It’s the amazing Screen Printing Kit that is fabricating all the magic!!!
How Does Screen Printing Work?
Screen printing is an amazing process, so we decided to guide you with all the steps of this printing technique. Whether you’re new to this technique or a professional screen printer, this step by step guide on how screen printing works can make you a wonderful screen-printer. So first let’s come across magical screen printing equipment which is the reason behind all the fascinating designs that are produced on custom t-shirts.
Ultimate Screen Printing Kit!
Screen printing with its magical kit (ssp315.com)
Screen printing equipment through which we can generate our very own customized designs includes :
- Screen Printing Press – A screen printing press is the most important component of screen printing as the press holds the screen firmly in place during custom t-shirts printing, making it efficient for an individual to swap out of the clothing which is printed quite easily.
- Inks – The ink is used to push through the mesh screen on the fabric or any clothing which is being printed, transferring a color imprint of the designed stencil onto that particular fabric. There are 4 types of inks, which is used in custom t-shirts printing
- The Screen – The silkscreen is a wooden frame with a fabric stretch over the top side. Once the screen is coated with emulsion and exposed, it is ready to use as a stencil. Once the printing process is completed, it can be washed with cold water
- Squeegee – It is a rubber blade that is attached to a plastic handle. It helps in pushing the ink through the screen onto the fabric which is being printed. Try to pick a squeegee that has a similar size to that of the frame of the screen
- Washing Station – It is important to wash the screen after using it to remove all the extracts of emulsion. The washing station depends upon you, the larger print works requires larger stations on the same hand smaller print works can be washed in your sinks
These are the most common equipment used during the screen printing process. Now let’s see by using this equipment, the screen printing process can be easily performed.
Screen Printing Process Step-by-Step
- Choose a design – To start with the t-shirt printing technique, choose a t-shirt design that you want on your fabric and print it on a transparent film. It will help in creating a stencil
- Screen preparation – Choose an appropriate mesh screen according to your t-shirt design, like how complex it is or on which fabric the design is being printed. The mesh screen is overlayed with an emulsion
- Exposing the emulsion – The transparent film carrying the design is laid onto the emulsion coated screen and it is then exposed to bright light
- Wash the emulsion and create a stencil – After the screen being getting exposed to the light, some of the areas will get hardened and some of them will get unhardened, so you will wash the unhardened areas around the screen, this will create an imprint of the design through which can pass the ink. After the screen is dried, start making any corrections to the imprint so that it gives a precise print. The stencil is all set to use
- Fabric is prepared for a print – The screen is then laid on a t-shirt printing press, where the fabric is put on the printing board, underneath the screen
- Pressing of the ink through the screen onto the fabric – The screen is moved down onto the printing board, ink is poured to the top edge of the screen, and a squeegee is used to pull this ink along the complete length of the screen. This presses ink through the screen onto the fabric imprinting a design on it. Once the t-shirt printing process is completed, wash the screen with cold water along with discarding the stencil
- The fabric is ready to go – The printed fabric then dried up with the help of a dryer which creates a long-lasting finishing. Please check the final product before passing to the owner
Quick Diagrammatic representation of screen printing custom t-shirts (behance.net)
There are always multiple customer questions about how many washes, does a screen printing last, or for how long we can use these t-shirts, etc. Below mentioned is a consolidated list of these questions and their answers :
Do screen printing t-shirts last?
Screen printing t-shirts last longer due to its tendency to hold itself to machine washing and drying as it is more proficient at standing up to all sorts of wear and tear and lasting for an entire lifetime. The best way to conserve a printed t-shirt is to wash them in only cold water, this will reduce the chances of printed areas cracking and will also extend the life of your apparel.
Will screen printing ink washout?
This is the most common question asked by resellers. Screen printing ink is tougher than any other inks used in different techniques so if it’s washed out it means that it was not cured fully. If the ink starts washing out from the apparel it will give common symptoms like making cracks on the prints itself which will give a very bad look to a t-shirt. To make an ink fully cured make sure to put it under 280-320 degrees Fahrenheit, you can use thermometer tapes to check apparel’s temperature, so it basically depends upon the type of ink you use for your apparel. The right ink will avoid cracking or washing out the inks from the apparel and give a long-lasting look which won’t go away that easy.
How many washes does screen printing T-shirts last?
Screen printing can withstand about 40-50 washes, as the inks used in this technique is quite thicker than the inks used in other techniques, giving it immense power to last till numerous washes without fading away. The ink used in this technique penetrates deeply into the fabric therefore, along with your special care it could last as much as the apparel itself.
Can you screen print on cotton t-shirts?
Absolutely you can screen print on cotton t-shirts, as cotton is a natural fabric that tends to absorb ink more readily than any other fabric so screen printing can be easily performed on any cotton apparel, but if we get deeper into it, there’s so much that you can know. The screenprint on cotton also varies like, in the case of thick cotton it will produce a bit of faded look but while on thin cotton t-shirts, screenprint can produce an opaque print so it completely depends upon your choice of fabric.
Can you iron a screen printed t-shirt?
Avoid using an iron-on screen printed t-shirt as it causes heavy damages to t-shirts. If possible go for steam to remove unnecessary wrinkles from screen printed t-shirts or hang them on hangers which are present in the bathroom. If you still want to use iron-on printed t-shirts you can iron them inside-out to maintain the structure of the imprint or try to iron them between two pieces of cloth it will extend the life of the apparel.
Instructions for long-lasting apparel (ro.pinterest.com)
Different garments have different textures, fabric, and colors due to which the t-shirt printing technique varies as well. Below mentioned in a complete guide to help you solve the problems which usually come while selecting different printing techniques :
How is Screen Printing, DTG, Heat Transfer & Sublimation Printing different from each other?
|Screen Printing||DTG||Heat Transfer||Sublimation|
|Unlimited Colour Palette||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|One Time Cost||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Cost-Effective (Qty.)||High||Less||Med – High||Any|
|Limitations (Fabric Color)||None||None||None||White|
|Limitations (Fabric Type)||None||None||None||Polyester / PC|
Here is also a Quick Guide to choose the best printing method for your t-shirts.
Why will some people choose DTG or Heat Transfer over Screen Printing?
Heat transfers and DTG printing are famous for printing smaller quantities orders, as both generally don’t have a minimum order. Heat transfer requires less input than screen printing whereas in the case of DTG the entire t-shirt design is printed in one go and it also doesn’t use any extra setup time.
So, now let’s dig deeper into this. We are going to find all the advantages and disadvantages of the screen printing method.
Advantages of Screen Printing :
- The most versatile type of printing can be done on any kind of fabric whether it could be cotton, polyester or wool, etc.
- The printing makes amazing patterns quickly with no kind of delay
- The fastest printing method for bulk production of personalized t-shirts with giving a long-lasting life to them
- With a bulk order of t-shirts, the cost per t-shirt is less making it the cheapest printing method for large scale production
- The major advantage of screen printing is that it produces broad color vibrancy with a life expectancy
Disadvantages of Screen Printing :
- This printing technique is not “on-demand printing” as it needs more preparations before stepping into production as compared to other printing techniques
- Screen printing is not an environmentally friendly technique to be used as firstly it wastes a lot of water and secondly it uses dangerous chemical combinations
- It is relatively complex when compared to other techniques as while printing a single design on a t-shirt it got numerous steps to perform
- Screen printing starts costing more if the design is using more color tones so if you are using this technique it is better to keep a few tonnes
- It does not offer the best quality prints while transferring an image or any kind of photographs on personalized t-shirts
For a good-quality screen printing company in Delhi or screen printing online order, get in touch with us at Champu!
Note: Images used in the article are for representational purposes only.