No matter where you’re located in Utah, screen printing might be right for you if you answer yes to the following questions:
- Do you want something printed in one or just a few colors or is your artwork fairly simple/uncomplicated?
- Do you have plenty of lead time to get your custom-printed items?
- Is the number of items you need in total, or per unique design, a very large number (greater than 50)?
If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, screen printing is likely the best printing method for your project. So, while we provide more information on screen printing further below, we’d be happy to help determine what printing method best serves your needs and meets your budget without you having to worry about it anymore!
Contact us today to get started discussing your project further and/or get a price quote.
We look forward to answering your questions!
Screen Printing 101
Screen printing (sometimes called silk screening or silk printing) is not just popular in Utah but all across the country and world! It’s a tried and tested method of printing that many, many shops use in apparel decoration. So whether you need a Utah screen printer like Thredn or just want to educate yourself on the process that might be used for your custom apparel this quick screen printing primer will help!
What is Screen Printing?
Screen printing is a widely used method of printing apparel through screens on a per-color basis. There are a number of steps to screen printing, and it’s quite an art even for experienced shops, but here’s a simplified rundown of the process.
The first step in screen printing is to prepare the artwork for printing. Unlike, direct-to-garment printing in which a single vector or high-resolution file can be printed in full color without too much work, screen printing is done on a per-color basis. Thus, before any printing can be done artwork needs to be broken down into layers based on color.
Once the artwork is prepared, each layer or color is printed by itself on a transparent film in order to prepare the actual screens.
The next step is to prepare the screens that will be used during the printing process. After coating the screen with emulsion and letting it dry, the previously printed design is adhered to the screen. Next, the screen is exposed to light which hardens the emulsion. Your screen is then washed out which in effect leaves you with a stencil of your artwork on the screen. Once the screen with the artwork is dry you’re ready for the printing process. Please note that this screen creation process is far more detailed than what we’ve laid out here and has to be done for each color of your final design.
With your screen prepared, you can now use it to “screen print” your items. Your screen is then attached to the printer while the item you’re printing (shirt, hoodie, etc) is put on a platen much like DTG printing. The screen with the artwork is then lowered onto the item where ink is pushed through the screen only where your artwork outline is and therefore leaves the apparel item with your custom printed design. If there are additional colors the apparel item, while still on the platen, is rotated around the screen printer where other screens apply the additional colors and parts of the design to the same garment item.
When all colors and screens have been printed the garment item is removed from the platen and is cured through a heat press or tunnel so that the garment and its custom printing will last far into the future without any cracking or peeling.
Why Screen Printing?
If you’ve read through the DTG process here on our website you’ll quickly see that DTG printing is a much easier and faster process than screen printing. If this is true, why would print shops and customers choose screen printing over DTG? There are a couple of main reasons.
First is that if the artwork being used is a 1-color logo or simple artwork some of the work outlined above becomes much less laborious. Preparing a single screen for a 1-color job is not too much work and while still not being quite as easy as DTG printing comes pretty close.
Hand-in-hand with simple artwork and preparing a single screen is the cost-effective nature of screen printing. Once the time and cost of preparing a screen is accounted for, screen printing can be a very affordable way to print large quantities of the same item. Thus, from both the shop owner and customer's perspective, everyone wins because it costs less! If the lead time isn’t urgent and the quantity is high, screen printing still provides a very high-quality printed item and can be a great solution for many custom printing projects.
Do I Need Screen Printing?
While you don’t need to worry about whether DTG or screen printing is better for your print project (as both methods give excellent results) you can safely assume that if you have simpler artwork, a longer lead time, and a high quantity of items needing printing we’ll be using screen printing to take care of your job.