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Screen Printing 101: An Ultimate Guide For Printing Businesses

Screen printing is one of the oldest forms of printing and is still used by many businesses today. From marketing materials and packaging products to T-shirts and other items, the screen printing technique still has a lot to offer a business to stand out in the market. There is a lot to learn about this printing technique to make the most out of a printing business. 

In this article, you will be learning about what is screen printing, how it works, and how you can use it in your business. 

History of Screen Printing

history of screen printing

As you may know, screen printing is a process that involves the use of mesh and stencils to create printed images. This particular printing method has been used for thousands of years and is still commonly used today to create many different types of images, from textiles to paper, metal, and glass. The history of screen printing dates back to the 1800s when a French inventor named Louis-Jean-Jacques Durand developed it after noticing how silk fabric was printed using a stencil. People started using this same method to print onto other materials such as paper or metal as time passed. 

A British man named Samuel Simon patented the first "modern" screen printing method in 1907. To achieve this, a stencil was drawn onto a bolting cloth and stretched across a rolling board wooden frame. The products he developed remained only available to the wealthy despite his method becoming the standard across Europe. 

Screen printing was improved in the 1910s by a group of three men who used light-reactive chemicals. A revolution in the industry was brought about by the introduction of photo-imaged stencils. 

As time passed, we found ourselves needing faster ways than handwork alone could offer us because we needed more than just one person to ensure everything went smoothly during production. 

How Does Screen Printing Work?

screen printing - how it works

The process of screen printing is a very simple one. The screen printing process starts with a screen. The screen is a mesh that is stretched over a frame. A stencil of the design you want to print on your t-shirt is then placed in front of the mesh. The stencil can either be sprayed with emulsion or water-based emulsion added manually. 

Afterward, ink or dye will be spread onto this stencil and squeegeed through it onto your shirt. The ink from the squeegee then passes through any openings in the mesh but not through others; this allows for only selected areas of the design to transfer onto your garment.

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The Process of Creating a Screen Print 

The process of creating a screen print is a multi-step process. The first step is to create the artwork, which can be done digitally or traditionally. After the artwork has been created, you will need to make or purchase the screens for your prints. This involves making sure that each color has its own screen and washing them out properly before using them on press. 

Once you have made your screens, it is time to expose them. This means transferring your design onto each individual screen through an exposure unit (a machine that projects light through UV-sensitive emulsion). When all of this work is complete, we simply wash out our screens so they are ready for use in production. 

How To Make Screen Printing Stencils?

printing stensils

In the screen printing process, knowing how to make a screen printing stencil is of great importance as it can help you do things right when it comes to printing jobs and transferring the prints on the desired surfaces perfectly. In this regard, here are steps to follow while making a stencil: 

1. Draw and scan your design or create it on the computer. 

2. Create a transparency sheet and print your design on it. 

3. The emulsion should be applied to both sides of your screen. The emulsion can be spread evenly using a squeegee. 

4. Allow the emulsion to dry for approximately 2 hours in a dark room or box. 

5. To ensure the stencil stays flush, place a piece of clear glass on the screen and apply pressure. 

6. Make sure the design has been set by shining UV lights for about ten minutes. 

7. Cold water should be used to wash the screen.

Read More: Offset Printing 101: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners 

Different Types of Screen Printing 

different types of screen printing

There are many different types of screen printing, each with its own unique characteristics and uses. 

Rotary Screen Printing 

This method uses a squeegee to transfer ink from the screen to the substrate. The substrate is placed on top of a rotating cylinder. As the drum rotates in one direction, pressure from the squeegee transfers ink from one side of your stencil or mesh onto your substrate. After transferring all desired colors and layers, you pull off your design and prepare it for printing directly onto product pieces. This technique is great for large orders requiring multiple colors or prints on each garment item because it allows more time between color changes than other methods do. 

Direct-To-Garment Printing 

This method is similar to rotary printing, except that instead of using a drum as your material holder, you will have individual screens mounted into frames or grommets holding several screens simultaneously. You will use these frames/grommets along with a bottom transfer sheet so that when you run down all possible print combinations on each frame/grommet first, before moving on to another combination, set it up above it. 

What to Wear for the Screen Printing Process? 

While you don't have to dress like a clown and wear a mask, it is important that you wear clothes that won’t get ruined. You will be working with various chemicals and tools, so it is highly recommended that you wear old clothes or old work clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and/or stained. 

You should also ensure that your hands are clean before starting the printing process, as this will ensure better results in the end. 

How to Prepare for the Process? 

The process is different for every fabric and ink combination. However, there are a few things that you can do to improve your print quality: 

Make sure you have the right mesh count and tension. If you don't know how to measure the mesh count of your screens, just ask your screen printer or someone else who has experience with this kind of work. The type of material used will also affect how well it works with screen printing because some fabrics are more difficult than others. For example, silk screening on cotton requires special attention because cotton absorbs ink while silk does not; any loose threads can also cause problems. 

Be careful when applying heat to both sides of the garment at once. This technique can damage both sides equally, so ensure everything is evenly spaced out before heating up anything drastically hot, like ironing boards or irons. Then use them again in another spot after letting them cool down completely again so they would not melt into one big mess together. You will get better by practicing constantly until everything becomes second nature. 

How to Remove the Screen Print? 

screen printing remover

You can use one of the following solvents to remove the print: 

  • Acetone or nail polish remover 
  • Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) 

The first step is to apply solvent to the print. You can use a paper towel for this purpose. Next, soak up some of the solvents with another paper towel until you have removed most of it. Let it dry, and then run a hairdryer over the screen print area for 10-15 seconds on high heat until it is dry again. 

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Application of Screen Printing In the Packaging Industry 

It is no secret that screen printing is a fantastic way to add a personal touch to your packaging. A simple design can transform your product from bland and boring into something eye-catching and memorable, which will help you stand out from the pack. 

Screen printing is used to print on various materials, including paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal, and even fabric. The most common application of screen printing in the packaging industry is when it comes to printing logos or text onto bags or boxes. Although other methods are more cost-effective than screen printing, this technique has become so widespread because of its versatility. 

It Is Best To Leave The Process To Professional Screen Printers 

If you are interested in the screen printing business, it is best to leave the process to professional screen printers. Even if you have a design ready and know exactly what you want your shirt or banner printed with, some things can only be done by professionals. These include: 

Experienced Staff  

Screen printers have years of experience working with clients on their designs and printing material. They know what works well and can advise you on how to get the best possible result from your project. 

Design Assistance 

Professional screen printers will provide help when designing your project so that everything is printed correctly, including color balance and the layout of text elements within an image. 

Marketing Assistance 

Professional screen printers will support marketing campaigns like social media posts or email newsletters; these types of services may be beyond many small businesses' capabilities but still require careful planning so that they do not fail at reaching customers. 

Conclusion 

custom boxes

If you are in a printing business and want to make the most out of it, going for the screen printing technique can help. The above discussion about this technique can help you make the best use of this technique to fulfill your customers' requirements when it comes to printing marketing and packaging solutions