The Screen Printing Process

Screens are made by putting a chemical emulsion on a mesh surface. Vector artwork is taken from Adobe Illustrator or Freehand and printed out on a film type paper or vellum. The screen is then exposed on a light table with the artwork under it. The light solidifies the chemicals around the design, and where the light failed to pass through, the chemical breaks down. The screen is then rinsed out and what is left is the area where the light hit.

The shirt is placed on a platen and each screen swings around over the top of the shirt. The screen is then brought down and placed on top of the shirt. A squeegee is then pulled over that screen's ink colour which pushes the ink onto the shirt fabric. That screen is then lifted, carefully off of the shirt (If the shirt moves or is stretched, the next colour will be out of registration). The platen with the shirt is then moved under a flash unit where it dries. Upon curing, the shirt platen is brought back and the next colour screen is swung over the top of it.

When screen printing, one colour at a time is applied and therefore the cost will increase with each additional colour applied. Likewise a separate screen is required for each colour, and hence, screen charges may be uneconomical if only a small quantity of clothing is required.

Screen printed garments wash well, and should not be confused with heat transfer printing which does not look as good or last so well. Many t-shirt printing shops use this cheaper method rather than screen printing.

PROS - affordable, great for large designs
CONS - not economical for small orders requiring more than one colour design

Print Prices

When you place an order for screen printed clothing there are two charges:

Setup

The first is a setup charge which covers the cost of having the design made into a screen. This charge is 'one off' as the screen is stored for future use. Therefore, if you wanted to place another order in the future with the same design there would be no setup charge.

One screen is required for each different design, and different screens are required for each colour printed, and each different location of printing. For example, a one colour front and back print requires two screens if the design on the front is different to the design on the back.

Per Screen/Per Colour

The second charge is a 'per screen' charge which applies to each item that is customised. This charge basically covers the cost of labour, materials and our other manufacturing overheads. The per screen charge is directly based on the number of items to be printed with the same design and applies to each screen.