Screen printing: how does it work?
Screen printing is a process that involves pushing ink through a woven mesh stencil (the SCREEN in screen printing) onto fabric. The stencil opening creates the space through which the ink will go to create the design. The ink is then pushed over the mesh, pulled by a fill blade or squeegee. As the blade is pulled, the ink is pushed through the mesh, onto the garment. Finally, each piece is run through a large dryer to cure the inks.
With screen printing, only one color can be applied at a time. Therefore, the number of colors on a t-shirt is limited, and each color requires more time, another screen and stencil, and ultimately, more money. That’s why screen printing is a good choice for simple designs with just a few solid colors, and when you’re making many t-shirts of the same design at a time.
To answer some questions you might have...
Can I Only Print 1 Shirt & Why Do I Have to Print in Bulk?
Screen printing is designed to be printed in bulk. The printing part of the process is actually the fastest part. All the costs and time are in the setup. This is why the cost per shirt goes down the more you print per design.
A lot of work goes into getting a shirt ready to print and requires almost every employee at the company. Artwork has to be mocked up and films have to be created. After this, the screens department converts the film into screens. Next, the printers setup the presses to run the shirts. It takes a good bit of time to setup a press to run shirts.
Because of this we cannot print 1 shirt at a time as it would easily cost $150+ to do. The smallest order of shirts we will do is 12 of the same design.
How Much Does it Cost?
A lot of factors go into the final cost of a screen printed tee. We have tried to make things as simple as possible, starting with all inclusive pricing wherever possible. You just need to decide what garment you would like to print on, how many shirts you want of each design and how many ink colors will be in the design.
Picking out a Brand & Style of Shirt
Picking out a brand and style can sometimes be the hardest part of the process. There are many different options, catered to different situations and personal preferences. We offer a variety of brands and styles to suit any need, from name brands like Under Armour and adidas to great value brands fitting any budget.
The hard part of picking colors is telling us what the color is. The only true way to do this is by providing us with a PMS color #. To do this you need a Coated Pantone Book. Find the color you want and give us the number next to it.
If you don't know exactly what colors you need, no problem. We will do our best to pick them out for you but cannot guarantee a perfect outcome. Every computer monitor is different, so the colors on your screen will look different when displayed on the monitors in our art department.
Your print will only be as good as the artwork you provide. The higher resolution artwork you can provide us the higher quality print we can provide for you. Vector art will generally not incur art charges but we can work with all filetypes and convert them into vector art (art charges may apply and are based on labor hours needed to complete the process)
Printing Over Seams & Other Uneven Surfaces
In order for a print to be perfect you have to print on a smooth, flat surface. Any print that goes over a seam, collar or any other uneven surface will never be perfect because the screens cannot lay flat on the garment. We always recommend staying away from any printing that will go over seams.