the art of screen printing

thE blank shirt

The process of actually screen printing a tee shirt starts with the blank shirt. This is after the art work has been created, the films printed and the screens created. The shirt is positioned on a platten in the proper position to make sure the print is placed at the correct spot on the shirt.

the first color

After setting up the print, checking all the adjustments and making sure everything is secure, the first color is applied. Quite often this first color is a white or very light grey. On a dark shirt, the addition of a white "underbase" is neccessary in order for the other colors to appear bright and of natural color.

second color

In addition to a white underbase, in order to make sure the colors all remain vibrant we "flasg cure all the colors after the colors are applied before we add additional colors. Flash curing the ink gels the previous color so the next colors being applied do not run together. After we flash, then the second color is added.

third color

The third color is now added. While it is not always necessary to flash the print, the design of this particular print requires flashing because of the layering of colors. Again, this was done to assure that all the colors remained bright and true to their actual color. As you can see from the picture, the yellow and the blue are nice and bright.

fourth color

We are almost there! As we continue to add colors, the design is starting to take shape. Adding this fourth color red, half tones were added to the design to allow us to create the orange color in the flames. Halftones allow us to create colors by combining two colors eliminating the need for an additional screen.

final color

The final color in almost all designs is what brings out the magic. In this case the final color is black. The black adds details and helps to accent the other colors. After the final color is laid down on to the garment, the shirt is carefully removed from the platen and placed on a dryer belt to "cure" the ink. The ink used in garment printing does not "dry" but needs to be heated to be cured.

the cure

The shirt will pass through the dryer for approximately 17 to 21 seconds heating the ink to roughly 345 degrees. This will make sure that the heat makes it all the way through all levels of ink, curing everything properly. The shirt will drop into a container and cool before folding. Screen printing is not an exact science so there may be some differences in the look and feel of the print between different shirts.

the final product

After the curing and cooling process is done, the garments are then photographed, inspected, folded, packaged and boxed for delivery. As you can see, the process of screen printing can be a complex time consuming process. The more colors in a design, the more time will be required to produce a shirt. For more on how screen printed apparel can be used to promote your business or event please call us at 610-369-1112.