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Screen Printing for T-Shirts

 

 

Screen printing is a direct to garment printing system. Ink is squeezed through a fine mesh directly onto the garment. The ink is then cured so that it fixes into the fibres of the fabric. Screen printing can be used to print tones and photographic images, as well as solid areas. There are videos on our video page that show how this is done.
Obviously we think screen printing is the most tried and tested method of decorating garments as well as the most versatile. After all we have spent thirty years perfecting our skills at using this method. Screen printing unlike the newer digital systems requires a lot of experience and knowledge to do well.

Screen printing is a direct to garment printing system. Ink is squeezed through a fine mesh directly onto the garment. The ink is then cured so that it fixes into the fibres of the fabric. Screen printing can be used to print tones and photographic images, as well as solid areas.


Pros:
Long lasting
The durability of Screen printed logos on garments is very good. Screen printed logos can last for hundreds of washes.


Versatility
Screen printing can be done to almost any type of garment as long as there is access to the outer layer.
It is possible to print large open or solid colours as well as fine detail. The use of screen printing to produce four colour process printing on light and dark coloured garments is standard practise. Simulated process screen printing is used generally on dark coloured garments.
Screen printing is the least expensive method of printing large numbers of garments.

Cons:
The water proof coating on some garments can affect the adherence of the screen printed ink, this is also true for all transfer systems.
Screen printing is not a 1 hour process and is cost prohibitive for one off printing.

A disadvantage of screen printing is the cost for small print runs (below 12 garments).

Costs:
Unlike both laser and vinyl cut-out the setup cost decreases with the increase in the number of garments printed.  Each colour printed in a design needs a separate screen. Artwork has to be broken down to make a screen for each colour printed. Each screen has to be registered on the printing machine so that all the colours to be printed end up in the right place on the T-Shirt. The cost of this work is a one off charge for each print run. This means that if you were having for example 12 T-Shirts printed with one colour, the cost of the screen would be £20. This spread over 12 T-Shirts is £1.67 per shirt plus the garment and printing costs. Over 24 T-Shirts the screen costs would be £0.83 per shirt, over 50 T-Shirts £0.40 per shirt, 100 £0.20 etc.


Screen printing can be used to decorate any type of garment as long as the correct ink is used. Inks come in many opaque colours as well as metal effects, Gold, Silver. Pantone colours can be matched. 


Inks:
Inks come in two main types, plastisol and dye.
Dyes are used on white and light coloured garments. They dye the fabric itself and leave the printed area with the same feel as the fabric.


Plastisol inks have a plastic or robbery feel when cured, more so on dark garments.
Screen printing cannot print in as fine detail as the new digital systems. Screen printing on garments can only print at 60 dots to the line inch = 60dpi. Laser printers and photocopiers print at around 600dpi. Jersey knit fabrics t-shirts, sweatshirts have gaps caused by the knitting process. 600dpi dots when printed direct to the garment can miss the thread and fall into some of these gaps. This means that the size of the dot we use 60dpi is big enough to avoid this problem.


Laser printers and photocopiers print direct to a solid substrate ‘transfer paper’ which holds the 600dpi dot in place when it is transferred to the garment.

 
Apple Screenprint, Unit 1, Stadium Industrial Park, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE10 0XF, UK
www.applescreenprint.com  |  applescreenprint@gmail.com  |  Tel 0191 4776972  | 
VAT Reg No: 499 8246 70