All About Screenprinting
What is screenprinting?
also known as silkscreening, is the best way to permanently print your
artwork onto T-shirts, hats, and other apparel. See
samples of some our best screenprinting work here.
How does it work?
Let's use a one-color
red logo as an example.
screen: First we coat a screen mesh with a light-sensitive material
called emulsion. Next, we create a template of your artwork in reverse
- where all the red areas are clear, all the empty/white areas are
solid (so no light will shine through. We place this template on top
of the screen mesh, and expose it to light. Light will expose the
emulsion where the template was transparent. Exposed emulsion changes
and becomes water-soluable. We then spray the screen with high pressure
water, which knocks out all the exposed emulsion. We're ready to print.
Print the shirt:
We place your shirt on one of our presses, and align the screen on
top of it. We place ink (in this case, red) on the screen, and activate
the press, which pushes ink through the holes in the screen mesh and
onto the shirt.
Dry the shirt:
We send the printed shirts through our heated dryer to set the ink.
Then we carefully examine each shirt to make sure there were no errors.
If you should ever discover an error on one of your shirts, just bring
it back and we'll replace it.
For multiple colors
of printing, we make a seperate screen for each color, but the process
is very similar.
How long does
We guarantee our
screenprinting for the life of the garment.
What's the difference
between spot color and process?
A spot color is
a single color of ink, which will result in one color on your shirt.
So, to print an American flag on a black T-shirt, you'll need three
spot colors: red, white, and blue. For a white shirt, you can use just
two: red and blue. But what if your design looks very photographic?
For example let's say you want a picture of David Hasselhoff on your
shirt...with flesh tones, hair, eyes, the ocean crashing behind him,
this would be an impossibly complex spot color job. In this case you'd
want to use 4-color process. What we do is mix four semi-transparent
inks, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK (CMYK) to create virtually every
color you can see.
Spot colors usually
appear brighter and, in general, most designs look best using a few
well chose spot colors. Process color is not as vibrant as spot color,
and is less likely to look ideal on fabric. But for a very photographic-type
design, process color is the only realistic option. For examples of
spot color vs. procss color printing, look
at some samples of our work.
Where on the
garment should my artwork go, and how big?
We recommend avoiding
artwork that is meant to print from seam to seam -after all, no one
will be able to read it. For example, look at the shirt you're wearing
now. If you put a finger from each hand onto your stomach at the point
where the shirt front starts to become the sides, you'll see that the
distance between your fingers is only about half the distance from seam
to seam. One hint is to put on a garment similar to the one you're trying
to make, and measure the size for an appropriate design that way.
Artwork can go in
any number of places, but it looks best in only a few. For T-shirts,
a front design looks good either large in the center, or small in the
upper left corner (on the area that would be the pocket if it were a
pocket T). On the back, people usually only use large designs. If you're
unsure where to put your design, just give
us a call and we can help you out.
What does all
of this cost?
Well, that depends.
First, we have to charge you for the raw garment - T-shirt, hat, etc.
Odd styles and sizes (like XXXL) often cost a little more. We add to
that any art costs, in case you provide us a non-process-ready
design. Finally, we'll add the cost of screens - we generally use one
screen per ink color per design, but this can vary for complex jobs.
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