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Screen Printing Process

Want to know exactly what goes into creating your Screen Printed garments and accessories?

Of course you do.

 

First up. Your Garment.

Deciding on the type of garment or accessory the print will be printed onto. Knowing what garment allows us to both ensure the correct ink is used in the production process to ensure a superior finish and make sure it works with the fabric.

Fun Fact: Heavily dyed fabrics, especially polyester garments can effect certain inks used in screen printing. When garments are heated in the curing process the dyes also heat and can in some cases begin to mix with the inks applied to garment. Therefore, knowing the type of garment, ensures we use a specialised ink to stop dye migration.

Moving on…design time!

Considering your garment type, next comes creating and laying out the design to be applied to the garment. The design process is essential as it denotes the number of colours in the design, which in turn determines the number of screens required to print the design. But the design process allows you to see a mock up of the final product so you can see what it will look like prior to production.

Our team will not begin production until a signed design approval is completed for your project. If you need assistance in getting the right design for your garment type, talk to our team.

Preparing the screens.

Once the design is settled, now comes the start of production and here you will see why it’s called ‘screen’ printing. The first step is to prepare the screens that will hold your design. A special silk mesh is stretched over an aluminium or wooden frame, tensioned and affixed. Screens are then coated in a photo-emulsion mixture, dried and stored ready for use.

Fun Fact: Photo emulsion is ultraviolet light sensitive chemical that allows for the screen design to be ‘burned’ into the screen when exposed to an ultraviolent light source. When screens are coated in emulsion, they are stored in dark rooms to protect them from light.

Getting your image onto the screens.

Depending on the number of colours in a design will determine the number of screens required for a screen printing job. To keep it simple, each colour in a design requires its own screen, therefore if you have a 3 coloured logo, 3 screens are required to be setup in order to print your project.

Each colour of a design is separated and printed black onto a transparent film. This film is positioned on the prepared silk screen with photo emulsion and exposed to ultraviolet light. Once the light has exposed the image onto the screen it is washed out with water, the elements of the design that were black on the transparency will washout of the screen. The screen in then dried and ready to be put into the printing press.

This process is repeated for each colour of the design. Now you can understand the setup cost involved in creating screen ready for screen printing.

Fun Fact: Photo emulsion hardens when exposed to ultraviolet light. Which means that inks can not pass through any part of the screen that has been coated in emulsion.

Setting up the press.

Exposed screens are placed into the screen printing press whether it be a manual press or and automatic press. Screens for multi coloured projects are aligned on the platens ensure the perfect replication of your design.

Printing.

The appropriate coloured inks are applied to the screen/s ready for print. Garments are loaded and aligned onto a platen and the printing process begins with the screen being lowered onto the garment and ink applied through the screen. The process is repeated for multi coloured projects.

Fun Fact: Inks are capable of being colour matched to PMS colours. This means if you have a specific PMS colour swatch in your design, we’ll be able to replicate it.

Curing.

Once a garment has been printed the inks are required to cure in order to bond with fabric fibres and ensure longevity of the print.

The End.

Once garments have been completely cured they are checked for quality and packaged for dispatch.