WHAT IS SCREEN PRINTING?
Screen printing is a printing technique where a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate, such as a shirt, except in areas made impermeable to the ink by the screen. A squeegee is moved across the screen to fill the open holes in the screen mesh with ink. This causes the ink to wet the substrate and be pulled out of the mesh holes. One color is printed at a time, so several screens can be used to produce a multi-colored image or design.
The technique is used not only for garment printing but for printing on many other substrates such as decals, clock and watch faces, balloons, yard signs, clothing, hats, bags and many other products.
WHAT ARE THE PROS OF SCREEN PRINTING?
MANY OPTIONS FOR SUBSTRATES
Screen Printing is a great process for being able to print onto almost anything as a surface as long as the surface is flat. Examples would be plastics, metals and woods as well as fabric and clothing items as well.
GOOD FOR SIMPLE DESIGNS & LOGOS
If you are looking to print a simple design or text then screen printing is the way to go. Screen Printing is best for artwork that has solid color and isn’t photo based.
GREAT FOR HIGH QUANTITY JOBS
One of the benefits of screen printing is that the more products you have to print, the lower the cost per item will be. Even though Screen Printing can have a complex set up process, it usually only needs to be set up once and the screens can be reused at a later time.
Screen printed designs are typically more durable due to the technique of laying down thick layers of ink which are absorbed into the material being printed.
WHAT ARE THE CONS OF SCREEN PRINTING?
Screen Printing is not as cost effective if your only printing a few items. The setup is complex and time consuming, so printing in low quantities is not recommended. Most screen printers have a minimum of 12 pieces due to this fact.
SET UP TIME
The set up for screen printing is more complicated than other print methods and has a slower turnaround time. The common set up for screen printing involves imaging your design onto a screen which is then transferred onto the print material with ink. For each color in your design, a new screen would be needed. For example, if your logo has 3 colors, then 3 seperate screens would need to be made, one for each color.
LIMITED INK COLORS
Screen Printing is not the method of choice if you are looking to have a design printed that has a large range of colors or if it is a photo based design. Trying to recreate specific gradients or shades of colors can be difficult or even impossible to accomplish. Most Screen Printers will offer a select number of colors to choose from.