The Screen Printing Process

By Jamie on August 27, 2008 10:35 AM | | Comments (0)

Screen printing is a great way to brand and personalize lighter weight apparel and items that don't easily accommodate an embroidery hoop.

Screen printing is a printing process in which ink is pushed through a stencil with a device known as a "squeegee" onto a printing surface known as a "substrate". Typical substrates include t-shirts, sweatshirts, golf shirts, and other apparel as well as "hard goods" which include signage, ad specialty products, and face plates of equipment.

The typical screen is made of polyester mesh (formerly silk mesh, from which the term "silk screening" is derived) which is tightly stretched over a wooden or metal frame. A stencil is created on the mesh using a chemical coating known as "emulsion." A "film positive" of the art that is to be printed is placed on the stencil and using a light exposure unit, the stencil is washed out with water leaving only the image to be printed on the emulsion coated mesh. The screen is then dried and the emulsion hardens leaving a durable printing stencil ready for printing thousands of impressions. Once the screen is ready, the screen is placed into the screen printing press, ink is placed in the screen and the squeegee is then pulled across the screen forcing the ink through the stencil onto the printing surface. Once the product has been screen printed, it is typically run through a dryer to cure (dry) the ink properly.

Screen printing is one of the most versatile methods of commercial printing and has been used as an industrial printing process since the early 1900's. At Leaderpromos.com we are experts in screen-printing specialties and garments, and we use primarily water based plastisol ink which is a durable, PVC based ink available in any color and is offered in many types of special effects formulations including puff ink, shimmer/glitter, glow-in-dark, reflective, and color change.

One of the reasons screen printing continues to be the leading method of decorating apparel is the long lasting durability of the print and the vibrant colors that can be obtained with the process.

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