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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Steps to the Screen Printing Process

Step 1: Prep the Art

The art is first brought to the designer, whether you have your own design or we are creating one for you. The designer will then place the art onto a template with a mock up of your design on your garment. They will identify imprint colors, locations (how many and where) and the overall imprint size of your screen printed design. You will be sent this proof, once approved the designer will separate the artwork based on how many different colors are used in the design. If there is only one color, there will only be 1 separation, but if there are 4 colors, there will be 4 different separations. The separations are then printed onto separate pieces of clear film, these are used to create the screens.

Step 2: Dark Room

After the films have been printed, they are taken into the production process. Our screen printer carefully looks over the prints to ensure everything looks right. Next, the screen printer carefully measures, aligns and tapes the print onto the screen to match the approved print. Once the prints are placed onto the screen, the dark room process begins. Using a UV light unit, the prints are burned on to emulsion-covered screens. The UV light burns each design color onto a screen.
Aligning prints onto the screen to match proof

Burning the Screen using UV light machine

Step 3: Finalizing the Screen

Next is the final step to creating the screen for production. The screens are rinsed using a pressure hose to push out the excess emulsion, the design is revealed in white on the screen. Ink will be pushed through white areas of the screen to create the design.
Rinsing screen with a pressure hose.

Step 4: Imprinting the Garment

Taping off the Screen
After the screens have been prepped and burned, you will need to tape the edges of the screen. This helps protect the garment from excess ink. Now, it is time for the actual printing process to begin. Depending on the job, our screen printer will either print by hand or use an automatic press. First, An ink color is poured onto the top of the screen. Then the garment is placed onto a flat platform straight and evenly. The screen is then lowered onto the garment and a squeegee is pulled across the screen, which applies the ink. 

When using multiple colors, 
Applying ink to the garment
the garment will go under a ‘flash’ unit to cure the ink in-between color applications. After all the colors for the design are applied, the garment is placed on a moving conveyer belt, which brings it under a dryer to completely dry and cure the ink. This process repeats for every garment.
Drying Garment

Watch a Video of the Screen Printing Process now!

And that’s how screen printed garments are produced. Contact us today for more information or start a custom screen printed apparel order!

Learn More: 800.678.4041  |
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