What is screen printing?
If you’re new to the sublimation industry, you may have heard of “screen printing” before. Screen printing is a technique that involves printing graphics onto items using thick layers of ink. The design is transferred through a mesh screen onto a substrate.
To create a screen print, the design is first created on a film or transparency, which is then used to create a stencil on the mesh screen. Ink is then applied to the screen and pressed through the stencil using a squeegee, transferring the design onto the surface beneath.
Screen printing has several benefits, including the ability to produce high-quality prints with vibrant colors and precise details. It is also a versatile technique that can be used on a wide range of materials and can produce prints in large quantities.
Some common applications of screen printing include creating custom t-shirts and other apparel, printing posters and signs, and producing branded promotional items for businesses and organizations. Overall, screen printing is a popular and effective printing method that offers many benefits and applications for a variety of industries and purposes.
What is screen printing & How work?
Screen printing, also known as silk screening or silk screen printing and serigraphy, is a printing process in which a stencil design is transferred to a surface using a mesh screen, ink, and a rubber blade called a squeegee. to do is included. The ink is transferred to the substrate, where some parts are blocked. To create a screen print, a stencil is created on a mesh screen, and ink is then pushed through the screen to the surface beneath, creating an impression of the design.
This technique is most commonly used on paper and fabric but can also be used on other surfaces such as metal, wood, and plastic. One of the most important advantages of screen printing is the wide range of colors that can be used, making it a popular choice for many printing projects.
Some of the products that can be made using screen printing include:-
- Earthen pots
How does it work?
Screen printing can be done by hand or using a machine, but the fundamental process remains the same. The main differences lie in the type of ink used, the desired effect, and the surface being printed on. Here are the steps involved in the screen printing process.
Preparing the Screen:- To begin the screen printing process, first, the design is printed onto an acetate film. Then, a mesh screen is selected based on the complexity of the design and the texture of the item being printed on. After selecting the appropriate mesh screen, a light-reactive emulsion layer is applied to it. This layer hardens when exposed to bright light.
Creating the Design:- Before beginning the screen printing process, the first step is to create the design that will be printed. This can be done using graphics editing software like Adobe Photoshop. Once the final design is created, it is ready for printing. The design is then printed onto a transparent acetate film, which will also be used later to create the stencil for printing.
Exposing the Emulsion:- Once the emulsion layer is applied to the mesh screen, it needs to be exposed to a bright light source. The light source used must be stronger than an average light bulb. After a few hours of exposure, the emulsion will harden, and the design-covered parts of the screen will remain in a liquid state, forming the stencil.
It’s worth noting that if the design involves multiple colors, a separate screen is needed for each layer of ink. It’s crucial to line up the stencils accurately for the best results.
Preparing the Item for Printing:- the stencil is now ready, it’s time to start printing. Place the mesh screen on the printing press and position the item to be printed flat underneath the screen.
There are generally two types of presses used for screen printing: manual and automatic. It’s recommended to use an automatic press as it allows for the consecutive application of multiple color layers and also allows you to work with multiple screens simultaneously.
Creating the Stencil:- Next, you will have a screen made up of areas that have been hardened and areas that have not. To create your design, you need to wash away the unhardened parts that are covered by the design. This will leave behind only the hardened areas that will make up your final design when the ink passes through the screen. After washing, you should dry the screen and carefully examine your design to ensure there are no significant imperfections.
The Final Touches:- After printing, use a dryer to dry the item and cure the ink. This will help to ensure a smooth final product. Once it is dry, inspect the item one last time to make sure there is no residue remaining.
Pressing the Ink:- When you are ready to print, apply ink to the top of the screen and use a squeegee to spread it evenly across the screen. This step is crucial as the ink needs to pass through the open areas of the stencil.
If you are printing multiple items with different designs, you can simply raise the screen and place the next item on the printing board each time.
Once you have finished printing all your items, you can remove the emulsion using a washing solution if you wish to reuse the mesh for future projects.
Is Screen Printing Cheaper Than Digital Printing?
screen printing is a cost-effective option for bulk orders compared to digital printing. However, for small quantities, digital printing is a more affordable option. The setup process for screen printing, which includes creating the mesh and stencil, incurs the majority of the costs. After the setup is complete, the only additional cost will be the ink. Therefore, it is not a practical choice if you only need a few items.
Now that you have learned about the technique of screen printing, you should have a better understanding of how it works. If you plan to use screen printing for your business, this guide should serve as a helpful starting point once you have gathered all the necessary tools. Happy printing!