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What is screen printing on T-shirts?

Screen printing, or silk screening, is a cool way to put designs on t-shirts. A stencil is made on a fine mesh. Then, ink is squeezed through the mesh to make the design on the fabric. This makes the design sit above the shirt and not soak in.

It’s used on more than just t-shirts. You can find it on paper, metal, plastic, glass, and wood too. Screen printing is great for team logos, group names, or special t-shirt designs you can’t get in shops.

What is screen printing on T-shirts?

Waxed Branding is all about screen printing on t-shirts in South Africa. Our team uses top-notch screen printing machines and the best screen printing inks. This makes sure your design is bright and lasts longer. We do t-shirts for businesses, events, or just for fun, turning your screen printing design into reality.

In screen printing, each colour in your design needs a different screen. We use a strong light to make the image on the screen. Then it’s washed to make the stencil. Ink is pressed through the stencil onto the shirt using a squeegee. The shirt is then dried and set to keep the design looking good for a long time. With the right screen printing supplies and know-how, you can create amazing t-shirts.

Key Takeaways

  • Screen printing is a versatile method for printing designs on various materials, including t-shirts
  • The process involves creating a stencil on a mesh screen and pushing ink through to create the design
  • Screen printing is ideal for creating custom logos, team names, and unique t-shirt designs
  • Waxed Branding offers professional screen printing services for businesses and individuals in South Africa
  • The screen printing process requires specialised equipment, inks, and expertise to ensure high-quality, long-lasting prints

Introduction to Screen Printing

Screen printing is an engrossing way of making top-notch items with special focus on every detail of the design. Some may see it as very hard, thinking it’s better left to the pros. Yet, the truth is, with the right tools and knowledge, great t-shirt designs can be made at home.

screen printing supplies for t-shirts

The main process involves making a stencil on a mesh screen. Ink is then pushed through, leaving the design on the shirt. This method came from Asia to Western Europe in the late 18th century and has changed a lot since. In the SA, printing on clothes is now over half of all screen printing projects.

It’s perfect for things like logos, team names, or unique t-shirts. Big names in art, including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, used this method. They made famous art pieces with it. It’s also used for making many copies of posters.

Understanding screen printing on t-shirts means knowing about the tools used. Printers use a squeegee, hinge clamps, and a silkscreen. Polyester is the most common mesh material. Its tightness is measured in Newton per centimetre (N/cm).

Ink TypeCharacteristics
PlastisolOne of the most popular options for t-shirt printing, offering longevity and brightness but can feel thick on the fabric when heavily used.
Water-basedProvides a softer feel on the fabric and is more environmentally friendly, but may require multiple passes to achieve desired opacity.
DischargeRemoves the garment’s dye and replaces it with the desired ink colour, resulting in a soft, seamless print that is ideal for lighter-coloured fabrics.

When choosing between screen printing or heat pressing, think about your design’s complexity and the number of colours. Also consider how many items you need. Resources and services like Waxed Branding can guide you for the best outcome.

“Screen printing is a beautiful blend of art and science, allowing for the creation of unique, high-quality designs that stand the test of time.” – Waxed Branding

Learn about the basics and the many techniques screen printing offers. Then, let your creativity flow. Make t-shirts that reflect your style and message in an outstanding way.

The Screen Printing Process

Companies such as Waxed Brandng use the screen printing process to make t-shirts and other items look great. This method uses thick inks that stay on top of the fabric, making the designs vivid and lasting. Many people don’t realise it, but you can do screen printing at home with the right tools. This makes creating your clothing easy and affordable.

screen printing supplies

Preparing the Artwork

First, you need to get the right design ready. You break the design into colours, and make a film for each one. You can use programmes like Adobe Illustrator to do this. There are lots of guides and tools online to help with this step.

Creating Film Positives

After the design is ready, you make film positives. These are clear sheets with your design in black. You make one for every colour that will be printed.

Exposing the Image onto a Screen

Next, you put the film positives on screens. These screens have a special light-sensitive coating. The screens are then exposed to light. The areas with the black ink harden, but the rest washes away. This leaves the design as open areas on the screen.

Setting Up the Screen Printing Press

Now, you’re nearly ready to print. There are different types of screen printing presses you can use. Some are simpler, and some can handle more colours. The Riley Hopkins 150 is a good choice for those starting out. Now, you place the screens with your designs on the press.

Printing the T-shirts

It’s time to print the t-shirts. You place the t-shirt on the press’s platen. Then, lower the screen onto it and push ink through. For designs with more than one colour, you repeat this process for each colour. The t-shirt might need to be partly dried between colours to keep them separate.

After you’ve printed all the colours, the t-shirts are dried completely. This step cures the ink, making your design last a long time.

StepDescription
Preparing the ArtworkDesign is separated into individual colours; film positives are created for each colour
Creating Film PositivesTransparencies with the design printed in black ink; one screen per colour
Exposing the Image onto a ScreenFilm positives placed on emulsion-coated screens; exposed to light; washed to create stencil
Setting Up the Screen Printing PressScreens set up on the press; ink prepared for printing
Printing the T-shirtsT-shirt placed on platen; ink pushed through screen onto fabric; multi-colour designs printed separately; shirts dried to cure ink

Following these steps and using the right tools lets you make great t-shirts. You can get professional results quickly. This makes screen printing perfect for businesses, events, and personal use.

What is Screen Printing on T-shirts?

Screen printing puts designs on t-shirts using a stencil and ink. Ink is forced through the stencil onto the fabric. It’s popular for making custom shirts by businesses, event planners, or anyone wanting unique clothing.

This method is great because it makes bright, durable designs. The ink is thick and stays on the fabric’s surface. So, the design looks sharp even after many washes.

For long-lasting results, always follow care instructions. This usually means washing the shirt inside out in cold water. Remember to keep it away from harsh chemicals and high heat when drying. Doing this helps your shirts look good for longer.

To start screen printing, you need several tools:

  • Screens and frames
  • Photo emulsion
  • Gloves
  • A 150-watt bulb
  • T-shirts
  • Squeegees
  • Silk screen fabric ink
  • Cardboard
  • Design software
  • A piece of glass
  • A dark room

The process follows these steps:

StepDescription
1. Prepare the artworkCreate the design using software like Illustrator, Photoshop, or Procreate
2. Create a film positivePrint the design onto a transparency to create a stencil
3. Coat the screenApply a light-sensitive emulsion to the mesh screen in a darkroom
4. Expose the imagePlace the film positive on the screen and expose it to light using a 150-watt bulb
5. Wash the screenRinse the screen to reveal the stencil of the design
6. Set up the pressPlace the screen on the printing press and apply pallet adhesive to the platen
7. Print the t-shirtPosition the t-shirt on the platen and pull the ink across the screen using a squeegee
8. Cure the inkPass the printed t-shirt through a conveyor dryer or use a flash dryer to cure the ink

Screen printing is a good choice for making quality shirts with unique designs. Remember the steps and care for your shirts well. With this, your t-shirts will serve as perfect canvas for whatever you wish to express.

Advantages of Screen Printing

Screen printing is a top pick for custom designs on items like t-shirts due to its benefits. It’s known for creating prints that last well over time. Waxed Brandng, a top company in South Africa, highlights this.

The screen printing process uses thick ink. This ink bonds well with the fabric. It’s less likely to crack or fade, making it ideal for items used frequently, like sports t-shirts or workwear.

Durability and Longevity

Screen printing ink sticks well, showing sharp details that last a long time, great for display items and any environment. The prints resist weather changes and the sun’s effect.

“Screen printing is perfect for lasting designs that stand the test of time. Our customers love the quality and durability of our prints.” – Waxed Brandng representative

Vibrant Colours and Versatility

Screen printing brings out bright colours in flexible designs. Designers can use various inks to create eye-catching prints. This method stands out well.

It also works on many surfaces. Besides t-shirts, you can print on paper, plastic, metal, wood, and glass. This versatility helps companies make a variety of branded products.

Cost-Effectiveness for Large Orders

For big orders, screen printing is budget-friendly. The setup cost might be higher than other methods at first. Yet, the more you print, the cheaper each item gets.

QuantityAverage Price per T-shirt (1-color print)
50R160
100R135
500R110
1000R100

Lawson Screen & Digital Products says a 1-color print on a cotton t-shirt costs R100 to R160. As shown in the table, this price drops with larger orders. So, screen printing is smart for bulk printing.

Choosing high-quality, 100% cotton shirts is key for best results. They work great with screen printing, ensuring your design lasts and looks good.

Screen printing is a wise choice for anyone needing long-lasting, colourful, and budget-friendly prints. It helps businesses make standout promotional items that spread their message effectively.

Screen Printing vs Heat Transfer Printing

When making custom t-shirts, both screen printing and heat transfer printing have their advantages. Waxed Brandng from South Africa provides both methods to meet different needs. But, which is best for your project? Let’s explore the main differences to help you choose wisely.

Quality and Resolution

The final product’s quality and resolution are key in picking between screen and heat transfer printing. Screen printing creates bright, durable designs. The ink sits on the fabric’s surface, lasting through many washes without fading or cracking. This makes for a tough, high-quality finish.

Heat transfer printing, on the other hand, uses a thinner ink that absorbs into the fabric. It can handle detailed designs, gradients, and photos well but may crack or fade with time and washing. This method is best for precise or complex designs that require high resolution.

Suitable Applications

The type of print technique depends on the project’s needs. Here’s what to think about:

  • Screen printing suits big orders with few colours. It’s budget-friendly for lots of items. It’s great for simple designs such as logos or text.
  • For smaller orders or complex designs with many colours, heat transfer printing is ideal. It skips the need for multiple screens. It’s also fast, perfect for quick jobs or small quantities.

When choosing t-shirts for your project, think about the type:

Screen PrintingHeat Transfer Printing
Best with 100% cotton t-shirtsGood with different fabric blends
Makes designs that last a long timeGives complex designs a high-resolution look
Good deal for big ordersAffordable for small projects

“Screen printing is excellent for long-lasting custom tees. Yet, heat transfer printing has the edge in versatility and speed for complex or urgent projects.” – Waxed Brandng

Your choice between screen and heat transfer printing hinges on your specific needs. The complexity of your design and the quantity of t-shirts matter. Knowing the pros and cons of each method helps you make the right decision for your custom t-shirt project.

Conclusion

Screen printing on t-shirts is a well-loved method. It’s used all over the globe for unique designs. Here’s how it works: first, a stencil is made on a fine mesh. Then, ink is pressed through, leaving the design on fabric, paper, and more. You can have many colours but need a different stencil for each.

This method is great for brighter, more lasting colours than digital printing. It’s perfect for making a lot of the same shirt. This is because the stencil can be used again. Also, if the items are printed well with the right ink, they will last through a lot of washes without fading.

If you’re part of a team or just want cool clothes, screen printing is a good choice. Waxed Brandng, based in South Africa, is a top pick for this. They know all about the screen printing process. They can make your design dreams real, on all kinds of items.

FAQ

What is screen printing on t-shirts?

Screen printing is a method where ink passes through a mesh screen onto fabric. This creates a design on the fabric.

What are the advantages of screen printing?

There are many upsides to screen printing. It makes prints that last and are colourful. It’s also great for any design and is cost-efficient for big orders.

What is the screen printing process?

First, the artwork is prepared. Then, film positives are created. These are exposed onto screens. Next, the printing press is set up, and the t-shirts are printed.

For designs with several colours, each one is printed one by one. The shirts might need to dry under special lights between colours too.

What type of t-shirt is best for screen printing?

For the best screen printing results, choose a 100% cotton, high-quality t-shirt.

How do you treat a shirt after screen printing?

Follow what the printer says to keep your printed shirt looking good. This might include washing the shirt inside out in cold water. Avoid harsh chemicals and high heat in the dryer.

Which is better, screen printing or heat press?

Screen printing can provide vivid, long-lasting designs. On the other hand, heat transfer can handle lots of colours or detailed designs better.

Can screen printing be done at home?

Yes, you can make your own cool t-shirts at home with the right materials and know-how.

What surfaces can screen printing be used on?

It’s not just for fabrics. Screen printing works on paper, metal, plastic, glass, and wood too.

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