Custom Screen Printing For T-Shirts And Apparel
Screen Printing is an ancient art that spans all the way back to the
tenth century, when Asian cultures adopted the practice for general
printing purposes. Since then the craft has gone through many
transformations and continues to evolve today. From Andy Warhol’s 1960s
portraits of Marilyn Monroe to present-day students making custom tee
shirts, screen printing continues to be an effective and versatile tool
for artisans of all disciplines.
The process is an integral part of mainstream fashion, and yet there are
many elements of basic t shirt screen printing that continue to mystify
the masses. Thus this article aims to illuminate some of the basic
aspects of screen printing (also known as screenprinting).
1. Millions of dots create solid colors
The solid colors appearing on
your custom tee shirts are the result of millions of dots of ink, forced
through a screen stencil by a squeegee. Most screen
printers use a spot color technique to maximize the appearance and
brightness of colors. And unlike methods that created different color
shades by mixing from four colors - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key
(Black) - the most popular method today eliminates color combining in
favor of using the actual colors featured on your personalized t shirts.
If black, blue, or green is needed for the design, then black, blue, or
green ink is used.
2. Computer Imaging and Ultraviolet Light bring your images to life
Images and graphics for your custom tee shirts are configured with
computer imaging programs and then burned directly into screens with
ultraviolet light. First, the color, size and image appearance is
perfected in a program such as Adobe Photoshop. Pictures and images can
be scanned and imported, or created from the tools of your respective
computer program. Once the image is complete, it is sent directly to the
screen and burned into it with an intense ultraviolet light. The process
generally requires several minutes. These screens can then be used and
reused to print endless copies of your personalized t shirt.
3. Ink setting requires multiple drying stages
Simply put, your custom tee shirts would be a mess if the various inks
were applied simultaneously. Thus a series of intermediate drying steps
is necessary to ensure each color appears crisp and clean. The first
color is applied and dried partly with a process known as “flashing.”
This step is repeated with each subsequent color until the print is
complete. The t shirt screen printing process is then completed after
the full image passes through a final high-temperature dryer that
resembles a pizza oven in many ways.
4. Light colors can shine on darker surfaces
Light colors naturally appear darkened when printed on darker fabrics.
But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon any designs and color
configurations for your custom tee shirts. Screen printers overcome this
obstacle by first printing a white undercoat on darker fabrics. With a
white surface area in the necessary places, the normal process can then
be undertaken without fear of colors not shining to their full
5. Squeegee’s are more important than you think
While squeegees might elicit thoughts of fast food drive-thru windows,
their impact in the screen printing process cannot be easily dismissed.
In fact, the squeegee rivals only the screen for equipment supremacy.
Therefore, selecting the appropriate squeegee for the job can make or
break the product. The hardness, angle, and pressure vary in relation to
the surface (garments or cardboard). The squeegee performs several
roles: It pushes ink through the screens and onto your personalized t
shirts, dictating how much ink passes through; sustains contact between
the garment and the screen; and removes excess ink from the screen,
preventing unwanted prints on your custom tee shirts.
To learn more about custom screen printing services from The Graphic
Edge, contact us today!
No Art Fees
No Setup Fees
Custom Printed T-Shirts
Short Sleeve Tees, Long Sleeve Tees, Tank Tops & Sleeveless Tees, and Ladies Tshirts.
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custom screen print and embroidery apparel Catalog