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Screen Printing

Screen-Printing : noun

the technique of creating a picture or pattern by forcing ink or metal on to a surface through a screen of fine material.

Method Printing is a prominent Chicago-based screen printing shop that takes pride in delivering top-quality results. With our diverse range of screen printing services, including plastisol, water-based, and discharge printing, we have the expertise to meet your specific printing needs. But you might be wondering, “What is screen printing, and is it the right choice for my next custom printed t-shirts?”

Screen printing, also referred to as silkscreen printing, is a highly versatile and time-tested method of applying intricate designs onto a wide array of fabrics and materials, with t-shirts being one of the most popular choices. The process involves creating a stencil, commonly known as a screen, which acts as a medium to transfer ink onto the chosen surface. Each color within the design requires a separate screen, and ink is meticulously applied to the fabric one color at a time, layer by layer.

One of the key advantages of screen printing lies in its ability to produce vibrant and long-lasting designs. The ink used in screen printing is applied in a thicker layer compared to other printing techniques, ensuring that the colors remain bold and vivid, even after multiple washes. The method’s exceptional durability allows custom printed t-shirts to retain their striking appearance and high-quality finish, making them ideal for frequent use and everyday wear.

The precision of screen printing enables the creation of intricate and detailed designs that accurately replicate artwork and graphics. It is particularly suitable for designs with solid, bold shapes and a limited number of colors, ensuring each element appears crisp and defined. From simple logos and text to elaborate illustrations and photographs, screen printing can faithfully reproduce a wide range of designs, making it a preferred choice for various custom apparel and promotional items.

As a highly scalable technique, screen printing is well-suited for both small and large-scale production runs. Whether you need a limited batch of custom t-shirts for a small event or a bulk order for a larger campaign, screen printing offers cost-effective solutions without compromising on quality. This makes it a popular choice for businesses, sports teams, schools, event organizers, and individuals alike.

In summary, screen printing’s ability to transfer intricate designs onto fabrics like t-shirts, coupled with its vibrant and durable results, has solidified its position as a timeless and popular printing method. Its versatility, precision, and cost-effectiveness make it a favored choice for those seeking outstanding custom printed t-shirts that are sure to leave a lasting impression.

At Method Printing, our team of skilled professionals is dedicated to delivering outstanding results and exceeding your expectations. Whether you need t-shirts for a promotional event, team uniforms, or branded apparel for your business, screen printing can offer the versatility and durability you seek.

If you’re ready to take your custom t-shirts to the next level with screen printing, contact us today to discuss your project. Our friendly staff is more than happy to assist you with any questions and help you make an informed decision about the best printing method for your unique needs. Let us transform your ideas into stunning reality with our top-notch screen printing services.

Screen Printed T Shirt

Why Go With Screen Printing VS Direct To Garment Printing?

When deciding between Screen Printing and Direct to Garment Printing (DTG), it’s essential to understand the advantages of each method to make the best choice for your custom apparel needs.

Screen printing stands out with its remarkable longevity and fewer limitations compared to DTG printing. The screen printing process allows for vibrant and durable designs that can withstand the test of time, making it ideal for long-lasting and frequently used garments like t-shirts. Moreover, screen printing offers exceptional versatility, accommodating a wide range of fabrics and materials beyond just garments, expanding its potential applications for various promotional items and personalized merchandise.

On the other hand, DTG printing is favored for its lower minimum order requirements, making it a cost-effective choice for smaller projects under 25 pieces. This digital printing method allows for printing with intricate details and an unlimited color palette, enabling you to bring even the most complex designs to life. However, it’s important to note that DTG printing is not as efficient or cost-effective for larger-scale projects due to the nature of the process and the time it takes to print each individual garment.

When it comes to costs, screen printing often becomes the more economical choice for larger orders. Once you meet the 25 piece minimum requirements set by Method, the per-piece cost of each shirt decreases significantly compared to opting for a DTG vendor. This makes screen printing an attractive option for businesses, organizations, and events looking to produce custom apparel in bulk.

Ultimately, the decision between screen printing and DTG printing depends on the specific needs and goals of your project. If you prioritize longevity, versatility, and cost-effectiveness for larger quantities, screen printing emerges as the optimal choice. However, if you require smaller quantities DTG printing may be the better fit.

At Method Printing, we specialize in screen printing, delivering top-quality custom apparel that not only looks outstanding but also stands the test of time. Our expert team is here to guide you through the process and help you make the best decision for your custom apparel project. Contact us today to learn more and explore the possibilities of screen printing for your unique needs.

If you would like to learn more about the screen printing process view this blog article :


Screen Printing Terms

Block-Out: Block-Out is a chemical used in screen printing to cover any pinholes or open areas on the screen. It acts as a barrier, preventing ink from passing through these areas during the printing process.


Burn: In screen printing, burning refers to the process of exposing a screen coated with photosensitive emulsion to a light source. This exposure creates a stencil, with the emulsion becoming hardened in the areas where light passes through the artwork, allowing ink to pass through during printing.


Capillary Film: Capillary Film is a light and sensitive film used in screen printing to create stencils. When applied to a screen with water, it adheres to the mesh by capillary action, forming the stencil for printing.


Coating: Coating in screen printing involves applying direct emulsion to the screen mesh. This process prepares the screen for exposure and stencil creation.


Conveyor Dryer: A Conveyor Dryer is a machine equipped with a conveyor belt used for curing inks on printed garments. The heat from the dryer fuses the ink onto the fabric, ensuring a durable and long-lasting print.


Coroplast: Coroplast is a solvent ink used specifically for printing on coroplast blanks. Coroplast is a corrugated plastic material commonly used for signage and display purposes.


Curable Reducer: Curable Reducer is an additive used with plastisol ink to decrease its viscosity. This helps in achieving the desired consistency of the ink for smoother printing results.


Cure: In screen printing, curing refers to the process of using heat to fuse plastisol ink onto the fabric, ensuring the ink adheres permanently and withstands washing and wear.


Darkroom: In screen printing, a Darkroom is a controlled space with minimal light exposure, used for drying screens coated with emulsion or capillary film.


Degrease: Degreasing is the process of washing the screen with a cleaning agent to remove dirt, oil, and contaminants before applying emulsion.


Dehaze: In screen printing, Dehaze refers to the process of using a specialized cleaning agent to remove ghosted images or unwanted residue that may appear on a screen after repeated use. This essential step ensures that each print is clear and free from any remnants of previous designs.


Diazo Emulsion: Diazo Emulsion is a two-part photosensitive chemical used in screen printing to create a stencil. This emulsion requires mixing before application and reacts to light during the exposure process, resulting in a durable and high-quality stencil.


Discharge Ink: Discharge Ink is an innovative method used to print lighter hues onto darker fabrics. This unique ink not only adds color but also removes the dye from the garment’s fabric, resulting in a softer feel. Although it offers excellent results, Discharge Ink can be challenging to control due to its unique properties.


DPI: DPI, or Dots per Inch, is a crucial measure of spatial printing or video dot density. In screen printing, DPI determines the resolution and image clarity, making it essential for achieving sharp and detailed prints.


Durometer: Durometer is a measurement used to describe and quantify the hardness of rubber, such as the squeegee blade used in screen printing. The durometer value indicates the blade’s firmness and its impact on ink application during the printing process.


Emulsion: Emulsion is a photosensitive chemical available in liquid, roll, or sheet form, widely used in screen printing to create stencils. During the screen exposure process, the emulsion reacts to light, creating a hardened stencil area for ink transfer.


Flocking: Flocking is a specialized material printed onto fabric to achieve a luxurious mirror finish or super-soft touch. This technique adds texture and dimension to the printed design, creating a premium and eye-catching effect.


Four-Color Process: Four-Color Process, also known as CMYK printing, is a method that utilizes four ink colors—Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black)—to reproduce the entire color spectrum. This printing technique allows for the accurate representation of full-color images and photographs.


Full Cure: Full Cure refers to the stage when the plastisol ink film has fused completely with the fabric, ensuring maximum adhesion and durability. This step is essential for achieving long-lasting and wash-resistant prints.


Halftone: Halftone is a technique used in printing to create a color or grayscale image by converting it into a series of large and small dots. These dots vary in size and spacing to produce shades of color, allowing for realistic image representation in screen printing.


Halftone Dot Types: Halftone Dot Types refer to the various shapes and patterns of dots used in the halftone printing process. The choice of dot type can influence the visual effect and overall quality of the printed image.


Infrared: Infrared refers to energy wavelengths that produce heat. In screen printing, infrared dryers are often used to cure the ink on printed garments efficiently and effectively.


Manual Press: A Manual Press is a screen printing press used to transfer ink onto various materials. It requires manual operation, where the printer applies pressure by hand to move the screen over the substrate, making it an ideal choice for smaller-scale projects and precise printing.


Mesh: Mesh refers to the woven material used on the printable portion of a screen in screen printing. The mesh is an essential component that holds the stencil and allows ink to pass through during the printing process.


Mesh Count: Mesh Count refers to the number of threads per square inch in a screen mesh, measured in both the vertical and horizontal directions. It determines the level of detail and clarity achievable in a print and is crucial for producing high-quality results.


Micro-registration: Micro-registration is a precise adjustment feature on the print head of a screen printing press. It allows for fine-tuning and precise movement of the screen, enabling accurate alignment of colors and ensuring precise registration of designs.


Monofilament: Monofilament refers to single-strand threads woven into the screen fabric used in screen printing. Monofilament mesh offers excellent ink flow and uniform print results.


Off-Contact: Off-Contact is a screen-printing method where there is a slight gap between the screen and the substrate being printed. This gap allows for smooth ink transfer, minimizing smudging and ensuring clean prints.


Pinholes: Pinholes are tiny unwanted specs or imperfections that appear on the stencil after exposure during the screen printing process. Proper screen exposure and emulsion application techniques can help prevent pinholes.


PMS: PMS stands for the Pantone Matching System, a standardized color matching system used in screen printing to achieve accurate and consistent color reproduction. By mixing various inks, printers can match specific Pantone colors precisely.


Positive: In screen printing, Positives are opaque media used to block out UV light during the exposure process. The positive contains the image or design to be printed and is placed on top of the coated screen to create the stencil.


Print Side: The Print Side refers to the side of the screen that comes into direct contact with the substrate during printing. Ink is pushed through the mesh on the print side to transfer the design onto the material.


Reclaim: Reclaiming is the process of removing the old emulsion from a screen so that it can be reused for future printing projects. This environmentally friendly process allows for cost savings and reduces waste.


Reducer: Reducer is a colorless ink additive used in screen printing to lower the viscosity of ink, improving its flow and allowing for smoother printing and better coverage.


Registration: Registration in screen printing refers to the precise alignment of the screen image to the original artwork on a printing press. Accurate registration ensures that colors align correctly, resulting in a clean and professional print.


Retensionable Frames: Retensionable Frames are screen frames designed to allow mesh replacement without the need for stretching equipment. This feature makes it easier and more cost-effective to maintain high-quality screens for the screen printing process.


Safelight: A Safelight is a specialized light used in the screen printing process when working with photosensitive materials. Its purpose is to prevent accidental exposure to UV light, which could prematurely harden the emulsion or other photosensitive chemicals.


Squeegee: A Squeegee is an essential tool used in screen printing, typically featuring a wooden or metal handle with a rubber blade. During printing, the squeegee is used to drive ink through the stencil by pulling it across the screen, ensuring even and consistent ink coverage.


Squeegee Side: The Squeegee Side refers to the side of the screen where the ink is applied during the printing process. This side faces the substrate and is responsible for transferring the ink onto the printing material.


Spot Color: Spot Color refers to a specific color reproduced in screen printing using an opaque, premixed, or standard ink from a system like the Pantone Matching System (PMS). Spot colors are used for precise color matching and consistency in printing.


Stencil: The Stencil is the portion of the exposed screen that contains the image or design to be printed. It is created by applying a photosensitive emulsion or capillary film to the screen and then exposing it to light, resulting in a hardened stencil area.


Step Wedge Test: A Step Wedge Test is an exposure test used in screen printing to determine the proper exposure time for creating a well-defined stencil. By exposing the screen to varying degrees of light, printers can identify the optimal exposure time for achieving the desired stencil quality.


Substrate: The term “Substrate” refers to the item or material on which the screen printing is performed. In screen printing, the substrate can be various materials, such as fabric, paper, plastics, or metal.


Tension: Tension in screen printing refers to the tightness of the screen mesh. Proper tension is crucial for achieving accurate registration and high-quality prints.


Underbase: An Underbase is a thin coating of ink printed first on the substrate and cured before printing additional colors. It acts as a base layer, enhancing the vibrancy and opacity of the subsequent colors in the design.


Underexposed: Underexposed refers to insufficient screen exposure time during the stencil-making process. This can lead to the emulsion not hardening adequately, resulting in reduced print quality and detail.


Viscosity: Viscosity is a measure of the thickness or thinness of an ink used in screen printing. Proper ink viscosity ensures smooth ink flow and optimal printing results.


Wash Test: A Wash Test involves laundering a printed garment to determine if the ink has been fully cured and adhered permanently to the fabric. This test helps assess the print’s durability and wash resistance.


Washout Booth: A Washout Booth is a specially designed booth used for washing out stencils and screens after exposure. It helps remove the unexposed emulsion or capillary film, leaving behind the hardened stencil for printing.