Santee Silk Screening
We often get a lot of good questions at Extra Graphic about silk screening and screen printing from our customers in Santee. What is silk screening? How is the process done? Aren’t silk screening and screen printing the same thing? Actually, yes they are. But before we get into what has changed about the process, let’s get a little bit into the history of how screen printing came about and why it’s a popular method today for printing custom t-shirts.
What Is Silk Screening?
Silk screening, or what is commonly known today as screen printing, is the process of transferring a stenciled design, color by color, onto a flat surface with a mesh screen, ink, and a squeegee. The mesh screen can be made of different materials such as silk, polyester, nylon, or stainless steel. Different mesh sizes determine the detail of a printed design depending on what material is being used to print on.
What Is The Process Of Screen Printing?
The whole process of screen printing is extremely complicated but results in a great looking product that will last a long time. First, the stencil is made on an acetate sheet. The correct size mesh is then chosen for the project and covered with an emulsion. After placing the stencil on the screen and exposing it to a very bright light that hardens the emulsion, the emulsion that didn’t harden due to the acetate sheet is carefully washed off and the screen is dried, ready to print. The printer then places the item to be printed on the printing board, and the screen is placed on the item. Ink is added, and a squeegee is used to push the ink the whole way down the screen, allowing the ink to flow through the holes left in the screen for the design. The item is then dried at the correct temperature and for the proper length of time according to the ink manufacturer’s instructions. After curing, the item is thoroughly washed to ensure that any residue is removed before being sent to its new owner. If there are multiple colors for a design, the stencil making portion of the process is repeated for each individual color. The printer carefully creates each screen so that the end results line up perfectly to create a seamless design.
What Is The History Of Screen Printing?
There is a large debate on when and where silk screening began. It’s a popular belief that silk screening originated in China around AD 960, which was the beginning of the Song Dynasty. The Chinese used forced ink techniques to create images of Buddha. The Japanese soon caught on to this printing technique and improved on it, creating an art form called katagami. Originally, the Japanese used human hair to create their mesh screens and several layers of washi paper cut into patterns to make the stencils. This is how printing on kimonos started.
Silk screening didn’t catch on in Western Civilization until the early 20th century. Silk was expensive and rare outside of Asia. But in 1907 Samuel Simon of Manchester, England patented the printing process to create fancy wallpapers for wealthy families. His technique became popular not only to print wallpapers but also for printing advertisements. Later, in the 1960s, polyester replaced silk and people started using screen printing for customizing t-shirts, something nobody has ever done before.
Screen Printing In The Arts
The 1960s were a great decade for screen printing, for this was also the time when it became a legitimate art form. American artists experimented with the process to create works of art, known as serigraphy. One of the break-out stars of serigraphy was Andy Warhol, with his famous 1962 prints of Marilyn Monroe and Campbell’s soup cans. Serigraphy made its way into politics as well, with the works of Sister Mary Corita Kent, who rose to international fame with her prints. Since the serigraphy movement, it’s been nearly impossible for any screen printer to not think of their work in terms of an art form because that is exactly what it is.
Why Is Silk Screening Now Called Screen Printing?
As mentioned above, screen printing was previously done with a silk screen, hence the name silk screening. The term of the process changed due to the fact that silk was expensive and rare outside of Asia, and it was replaced with polyester in the 1960s. Since then, polyester mesh screens have been the more popular screen used to screen print on surfaces such as t-shirts and paper. And now with specialized inks, screen printing can be used to print on even more surfaces like wood, plastic, metal, and even glass.
Why Choose Extra Graphic For Your Santee Screen Printing Needs?
Now that you know how screen printing began, what the process is, and how it became popular as a form of art, here are some great reasons why you should call Extra Graphic for your custom screen printing projects in Santee:
- We’ve been custom screen printing for over 15 years now 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 affordably priced.
- You can order anytime, we’ll keep pace with your schedule.
- Fast Turnaround! 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 on Iowa Street to ask any questions you may have for your printing needs! Being the local leader of high-quality apparel printing in San Diego, we guarantee the quality of your printed projects. When other printers disappoint, Extra Graphic delivers!
Call us for more info at (619)-354-XTRA today!