Screen Printing

Screen printing is a printing technique where a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate, except in areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil. A blade or squeegee is moved across the screen to fill the open mesh apertures with ink, and a reverse stroke then causes the screen to touch the substrate momentarily along a line of contact. This causes the ink to wet the substrate and be pulled out of the mesh apertures as the screen springs back after the blade has passed. One color is printed at a time, so several screens can be used to produce a multi-colored image or design.

There are various terms used for what is essentially the same technique. Traditionally, the process was called screen printing or silkscreen printing because silk was used in the process. It is also known as serigraphy and serigraph printing. Currently, synthetic threads are commonly used in the screen printing process. The most popular mesh in general use is made of polyester. There are special-use mesh materials of nylon and stainless steel available to the screen-printer. There are also different types of mesh size which will determine the outcome and look of the finished design on the material. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen_printing)

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Step 1

Before we can print a shirt (or hat, tote bag, hoodie, etc.), we need a vector file of your artwork. Typically, vector files are created in design software such as Adobe Illustrator. A vector file is a must when it comes to screen printing because, unlike .jpg, .png, .tiff files, vector files can be scaled to any size dimension without losing quality. If you don't have a vector file for your artwork, we can help you get it vectorized! Just contact us and our art department can handle the conversion process for a small fee. Alternatively, you can use online services such as Fiverr or 99 Designs to source high quality vector art (just make sure you are paying for the vector file as some graphic designers may not include it in their price).

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