A Step-By-Step Guide To Screen Printing


Screen printing is considered to be the procedure in which pressing of the ink occurs particularly through a stenciled mesh screen. Ultimately, it results in the creation of a printed design. This technique is known to be a recognized one and many industries are focusing on going for this. 

If you have never heard about this term or don’t know how it works, then also there are high chances that you have worked or used an item that is screen-printed at some point in your life even without realizing it. Some other names of this screen printing process are silkscreen printing or serigraphy. So, don’t be confused when you hear any of these terms, because all of these indicate the same basic screen printing method. 

Due to the great effectiveness of the screen printing technique, it is used for many different purposes. You can easily create bold canvases, artwork as well as posters by employing this technique. Not only that but, many people are also utilizing this highly effective method for printing textiles and fabrics. 

Thus, it is considered to be an outstanding option for creating every type of custom product as well as clothing. In case, you do not have a good idea about what screen printing exactly is, how the overall process works, and other aspects concerning this, then don’t worry, as in this guide we will focus on clarifying all of your doubts. 

We have designed this blog post to answer all of your queries related to screen printing. So, without any further ado, let’s get started with our discussion.

What Is Screen Printing?

As already discussed in the above section, screen printing is a process in which transferring of a stenciled design occurs particularly on a flat surface. For carrying out the overall work, a squeegee, ink as well as mesh screen are commonly utilized. In this regard, one should have a good idea about the most common screen printed surfaces which are paper and fabric. 

But, when you are utilizing specialized inks, then you can also print onto metal, wood, glass, and even plastic. The basic technique involves the creation of a stencil specifically on a delicate mesh screen which is followed by pushing ink through. Ultimately, it results in producing an impression of your particular design on the particular surface that is present underneath. 

This is also referred to as silk screen printing or silk screening, although the actual process of printing is similar, how to stencil is produced can vary. It is dependent on the specific materials that are being utilized. Various stenciling techniques are used, which involves the following: 

  • Utilizing a light-sensitive emulsion for the creation of a stencil. After that, it is developed in the same manner as a photograph. 
  • Painting of the stencil by making use of the screen blockers, particularly onto the mesh. The screen blockers can be lacquer or glue.
  • Make use of vinyl or masking tape for effectively covering the preferred screen areas. 

Design that is mainly created by making use of this screen printing method may use either one or multiple colors of ink. It is crucial to apply colors in individual layers, particularly in the case of multicolored items. You can do this by making use of separate stencils for every ink. 

Significance of Screen Printing Method

One of the major causes behind the wide use of this printing technique is that it aids in the production of vibrant colors even on darker shade fabrics. The paint or ink again lies in layers on the surface of the paper or fabric which contributes to providing nicely tactile quality to the print. 

Another main reason behind the continuously rising popularity of this technique is that it lets the printer conveniently reproduce a design several times. As it is possible to replicate a particular design multiple times by using the same stencil and this is the reason, why it is extremely helpful, whenever you need to create multiple copies of the same accessory or garment. 

It is something that contributes to making this screen printing technique a highly effective one for producing big batches of personalized clothing items for work uniforms or athletic teams. But, whenever you go for this particular technique, you need to choose your print service provider very carefully. 

This technique, when carried out by an expert printer or using professional equipment, tends to deliver top-notch outcomes. In this way, you would be able to easily create sophisticated multicolored designs. 

Although this process is a complicated one, it does not mean that there is any specific constraint to the number of colors that the printer can utilize. Digital printing alone is unable to create more intense coloring and this is something that can be effectively achieved by this technique. 

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Step-By-Step Guide To The Screen Printing Procedure

There are several distinct screen printing methods and all of those contain a similar fundamental process. In the below-mentioned section, we will focus on talking about a technique that makes use of a specialized light-reactive emulsion. 

It is something that ultimately aids in the creation of a custom stencil. Out of the other available commercial printing techniques, it is regarded as the most recognized type. One can easily utilize this method for creating complicated stencils. 

In the below-mentioned section, we will focus on discovering another important aspect of the screen printing technique which includes the step-by-step printing process. Read this guide to know about this well.

Step 1: Creation Of The Design

The first and foremost thing that you need is to is create the design. As a part of this step, the printer contributes to taking the design which they wish to create on the ultimate items. After that, it is printed out onto an acetate film (transparent). And, this will particularly be utilized for the creation of the stencil.

Step 2: Preparation Of The Screen

The subsequent step is to select a mesh screen that is well suited for the intricacy of the design as well as the fabric texture that is being printed. After that, the mesh screen is coated especially with a light-reactive emulsion layer. It will eventually harden when developed under bright light.

Step 3: Exposure Of The Emulsion

After that, the acetate sheet showcasing the design is laid onto the screen which is emulsion coated. Now, the overall thing is exposed to a very bright light source. This light allows the hardening of the emulsion. Therefore, the parts of the screen which are covered by the design remain in the form of liquid. 

In case, you find the ultimate design is going to incorporate more than a single color, then it is necessary to utilize a separate screen for the application of each ink layer. Again, if you are looking forward to creating multi-colored items, then you need to opt for the assistance of a skilled printer who can effectively design each of the stencils. Finally, they can end up perfectly lining them to make sure that the ultimate design looks flawless. 

Step 4: Washing Off The Emulsion And Leading To The Creation Of The Stencil

Once the exposure of the screen occurs particularly for a set time, the screen areas which are not included by the design will ultimately become tough. Again, any emulsion which is left unhardened is then again gently rinsed away. It put down a clear-cut impression of the design particularly on the screen for the passing through of the ink. 

After that, the screen is effectively dried as well as finally, the printer will focus on making any required corrections which results in a precise imprint of the original design. Once done, you can use the stencil. 

Step 5: Preparation Of The Item To Be Printed

The next step involves the preparation of the screen to be positioned on the printing press. The garment or item which is being printed is placed in a flat position specifically onto the printing board, beneath the screen. 

In the market, you will find the easy availability of various presses which include both automatic as well as manual patterns. But, nearly all contemporary industrial printers will utilize an automated rotary carousel printer. One of the best things about this option is that it lets several distinct screens work at once. This printer type can again be utilized for the application of distinct layers of color in quick succession. It mainly applies to multicolored prints. 

Step 6: The Pressing Of The Ink Occurs Onto The Item Through With The Screen

The lowering of the screen is done on top of specifically the printing board. After that, the addition of the ink is done particularly to the screen’s top end. In this case, a squeegee is utilized for pulling the ink all along the screen’s complete length. 

You can find that your overall work has become easy by utilizing a squeegee. It is something that helps to press the ink, particularly through the stencil’s open areas. Ultimately, it results in the imprinting of the design on the item that is present below. 

In case, the printer is involved in producing several items, then the raising of the screen is done as well as brand new clothing is positioned on top of the printing board. The repetition of the procedure is done after that.

After all the pieces have been successfully printed as well as the stencil has achieved its desired outcomes, then it is very important to remove the emulsion. You would be able to do so, by utilizing a specific washing fluid, thus the reusing of the mesh can be carried out for the creation of the new stencils. 

Step 7: The Item Is Dried, Checked, And Finished Off

The next step is to pass the printed item, particularly through a dryer. In this case, a dryer contributes to plays a key role in curing the ink. Ultimately, it aids in the creation of a colorfast as well as a smooth finish. The checking of the final item is done next. It is again thoroughly washed to remove any of the residues, before, it is being handed out to its new owner. 

History of Screen Printing

The history of screen printing is very interesting. Let’s talk about this in detail in this section.

Screen printing can be called an ancient art form that is there for a long period. This technique’s early version was first utilized in China around 950 AD. At that time, it was used as a specific process of printing designs on the fabric. 

Later on, i.e. after several centuries, the artisans of Japan contributed to adopting this particular screen printing practice. They mainly utilized this method for transferring the designs onto fabric as well as paper. To carry out this work, they used a stiff brush which was proved to be very helpful in pushing the ink, particularly through a mesh screen that was woven from human hair.

It was in the 18th century when Europe first adopted this screen printing technique. But, due to the incredibly high price of the silk mesh at that particular time, it was slow to be implemented as a fabric printing technique. This technique got recognition once the Silk Road made imported silk a more cost-friendly option. Since that time, it became a well-known as well as profitable means of fabric printing

In the present day, screen printing is used as a commercial printing procedure. Not only that, but people also use this technique as an artistic medium. You can make use of only one stencil for the reproduction of the same design a lot of times. Therefore, it is regarded as an outstanding method that you can use for producing large custom clothing orders.

In A Nutshell

Now, that you are clear about the screen printing technique, whenever you require it, you can easily go for this option without any hesitation. Due to the convenience offered by it, it is regarded as one of the most popular and the best printing techniques, available in the market. 

But, to carry out this task, you need to opt for the assistance of a professional web to print service provider like the WTPBiz. At WTPBiz, our expert professionals help you make use of an automatic screen printing machine  with their game changing web to print solutions to achieve top-notch outcomes. So, what are you thinking about? Contact us today to know more. 

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