Screen Printing in Santee
At Extra Graphic, we get a number of questions about our methods of printing custom t-shirts for our customers in Santee. What are the different ways to print? What is used in the printing process? Which printing type gives me the look I want for my design? What is the best print type that will give me the most bang for my buck? Our printing experts are here to help you decide which type of printing will be best for your project. One of the custom printing methods we offer is screen printing.
What is Screen Printing?
Screen printing is the most widely used method of printing custom t-shirts and other printed products. This is the process of transferring a stenciled design onto a flat surface with a mesh screen, ink, and a squeegee. Fabric and paper are the most common surfaces used for screen printing, but specialized inks now make it also possible to print designs on even more flat surfaces such as wood, glass, metal, and plastic.
What is the Screen Printing Process?
The process for screen printing is very complicated but it results in a high-quality, long-lasting product. If multiple colors are used in a single design, then this process is repeated for each color and the printer needs to carefully create each stencil so that it lines up perfectly to ensure the final design is seamless. Because this process has to be repeated for multiple colors and the extra care it takes to make sure the end products are perfect, more colors mean a higher cost. It is more cost-efficient to have your designs with only one or two colors if you’re set on having your items screen printed.
The step-by-step screen printing process includes:
- Creating the Design- First, the design is printed onto an acetate film, which is used to create the stencil.
- Prepping The Screen- The mesh screen is chosen by the printer to suit the fabric and design being used. The screen also gets coated with light-reactive emulsion.
- The Emulsion Is Exposed- The acetate film containing the design is placed on the screen, and is exposed to very bright light. This light hardens the emulsion and the parts that are covered by the design are left in a liquid state.
- The Emulsion Is Washed Off- Any unhardened emulsion is carefully rinsed off, leaving holes in the mesh for the ink to pass through the design. The screen is dried, and any necessary touch-ups are done.
- The Item Is Prepped For Print- The screen is placed on the printing press, and the clothing is placed on the printing board with the screen underneath.
- The Ink Is Pressed Through- The screen comes down on top of the item. Ink is added to the screen, and a squeegee is used to pull the ink down the full length of the screen, pressing the ink through the mesh and onto the item.
- The Item Is Cured- The printed product then goes through a dryer to create a smooth finish. The item is then checked for quality and washed to get rid of any residue.
What is the Difference Between Screen Printing and Heat Transfer Printing?
Heat Transfer Printing is a name given to any process that uses heat to bind a design to fabric. Designs are printed onto a material coated in heat-reactive adhesive, also known as transfer paper. Then, the ink is thermally transferred to fabric using heat and pressure. Transfer paper is compatible with either inkjet or laser printers, but are not cross-compatible. So inkjet transfer paper must be used with inkjet printers, and if a laser printer is being used, then laser transfer paper must be used. Also, the quality of the print using heat transfer is not as durable as screen printing and designs tend to fade away with continuous washing. Heat Transfer printing is not suggested for larger orders, due to the cost of the transfer paper. Screen printing is a better option for layered colors because, with heat transfer printing, multiple layers tend to feel bulky and heavier on the t-shirt.
Will the Ink From Screen Printing Wash Out?
At Extra Graphic, our professional printing staff is trained in the use of heat-treated washable ink. Washable ink, in this case, is not the same as a washable marker which washes off skin and fabric easily. The ink we use is washable in the sense that it can be washed multiple times, so your colors won’t wash out. We make sure that the ink is set according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and use the correct drying temperatures and drying lengths according to the type of ink and fabrics used, following the instructions to the letter to ensure that we create a long-lasting, washable item that will last.
Why Choose Extra Graphic for Your Santee Screen Printing Needs?
- We’ve been custom screen printing for a long time and we know the ins and outs of making your design look its best with any style of printing we offer.
- We offer a large selection of apparel styles for printing.
- We strive to give you the best-printed apparel possible.
- We’re competitively priced.
- You can order anytime, we’ll keep pace with your schedule.
- Most orders are ready in 7-10 business days.
There are many styles and options available for your customized t-shirt project. We at Extra Graphic are always happy to offer advice on what method of printing will best fit your project and your budget. You are also more than welcome to stop by our studio to ask any questions you may have for your printing needs. Being the local leader of high-quality apparel printing in Santee, we guarantee the quality of your printed projects.
Call us for more info at 619-354-XTRA (9872) today.