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What is screen printing?
Screenprinting, also known as silk-screen printing, is the process of printing a shirt by pressing ink through a special screen that allows the ink through only where the artwork specifies. This process essentially dyes the shirts in very specific areas, creating sharp, vibrant designs that are more durable than vinyl or heat press designs.
The nature of screen printing requires very precise equipment to align the different screen in the same place for each shirt. We use a 6-head manual press for our larger orders, and a 4-head manual for our smaller orders.
We use only the best quality inks, and mix them fresh before printing your design. This ensures they are vibrant and accurate to the color you have chosen. View our collection of ink colors here.
Once we have received your artwork, our art department will begin processing. Artwork is converted to vector in order to properly separate the colors and ensure maximum quality.
We generate a proof that shows what your artwork will look like on the shirt (placement, size, etc.), as well as the ink colors that will be used and the dimensions of the final print.
The proof gives you the opportunity to make any changes or review the artwork for any errors. Once final approval has been given for the proof, the printing process begins.
The artwork is separated into its ink colors, and each is printed on a clear film for use with "burning" the screens.
The screens are coated with a photosensitive emulsion to create the masking for the screen printing process. The screens, with the films in place, are exposed in a vaccum light table with a 3,000-watt metal halide light.
After exposure, the screens are washed out. The emulsion is only removed where the artwork is present, which creates the mask that the ink will pass through.
The screens are then loaded onto our printing press and ink is mixed and applied to the appropriate screens. The ink is pressed through the screens one color at a time, until the artwork is complete. For dark shirts, a base layer of white is typically applied first to allow the lighter colors to stand out.
Finally, the completed shirts are sent through a dryer to set the ink, inspected for quality, folded, and boxed for your pick-up.
Because of the extensiveness of this process, screen printing is usually recommended for larger volume orders. For smaller orders, we use direct-to-garment printing or sublimation, which does not require the burning of screens.