About Screen PrintingScreen printing (also known as silk screening) is a printing technique that uses stencils and ink to create designs on fabric. Although it requires significantly more set-up time than digital printing or heat transfer, screen printing remains popular because it is the most economical method for producing large quantities.
SCREEN PRINTING PROCESS
Screen printing has a steep learning curve that requires knowledge of everything from making screens and press set-up to actual print.
IMAGE DESIGN: Create a customised graphic using professional graphics software. The graphic must be separated by colour, with each colour printed on its clear film positive. Fewer colours mean a simpler set-up, resulting in lower costs.
SCREEN MAKING: Following a process that requires the use of a darkroom and photographic chemicals, a stencil, known as a screen, is made for each colour in the graphic image.
PRINTING: Each screen must be inserted and carefully aligned in the printing press to ensure that adjacent colours in the image are correctly aligned. The printing press applies ink to each screen, then uses pressure to squeeze the ink through the screen’s open mesh areas and onto the shirt. There are three common types of screen printing presses: flatbed; cylinder; and rotary, which is the most widely used.
DRYING: After all, colors are printed, the shirt is placed in a drying chamber at around 350°F for about 40 seconds to cure the screen print ink. Once cooled, the shirt is ready to wear.
SAFE WORK ENVIRONMENT:It is strongly recommended not to overheat the garments at any stage of the screen printing process. Please ensure adequate ventilation in your screen printing facility and make sure to clean and maintain your equipment regularly.
- Due to the nature of the dyeing process employed with Comfort Colors pigment dyed shades, loose pigments may remain on the surface of the garments. We therefore strongly recommend washing these garments only with like-colored garments, as some of the pigment dyes may stain light or white coloured garments in the wash cycle.
- Washing the garments in cold water will reduce the possibility of staining.
- Dye migration occurs when the dye colour in the clothing absorbs into the screen printed ink.
- Ghosting is when printed shirts are stacked too soon during the drying process before being adequately cooled. This will cause a chemical reaction which creates a ghosted image of a white screen print on the back of the shirt stacked on top.