25 August, 2015
One of the most common questions asked of our screen printing experts is, “How does the screen printing process work?”
Most of us have a collection of screen printed shirts and t-shirts representing everything from company uniforms and our old soccer team to a fundraising walk that we may have participated in a number of years ago.
Screen printing really isn’t that much of a mysterious process. In this blog article our EZ Corporate Clothing screen printing specialists will explain the screen printing process in detail.
1. Create your logo or custom design artwork to be screen printed.
Whether it's professional branding, a drawing done on a brown paper bag, or some image you saw on Pinterest, screen printing all starts with the design artwork. Even if all you're creating is a new logo, you still need to think about creative elements like colors and fonts. What do you want your logo or custom screen printed design to convey?
2. Submit your design or logo to EZ Corporate Clothing.
Once you have something designed, it's time to send it to our screen printing specialists! Either scan your drawing or send us the link to that beautiful design that you saw on the Internet.
Not feeling so creative? Send us your ideas and one of our in-house design artists will create something for you.
3. Create a digital file of the logo and print on vellum.
The next step is where we take over. From your original design or logo, we'll create a digital file that we can then print on vellum paper. The vellums look kind of crazy when they're printed; they're almost like a negative of your design. They look this way because the color is separated the way it will need to be once we get to the next step: screen creation.
4. Attach vellum paper to the fabric or clothing item.
Screens are comprised of a metal frame with an acrylic fabric tightly stretched over it. The vellum paper from step three is attached to the screens and then exposed to an intense light (called an exposure unit) for a very specific amount of time that depends on the artwork.
Once the exposure time is up, the screens are hosed down to so that the areas that will appear as blank on the finished garment are washed away. The areas that remain are where the ink will be pressed onto the garment.
5. Set up the screen printing machine for printing.
A screen printing machine looks like an octopus. For each color used on the garment being printed an "arm" needs to be set up with a screen. The screen print technician will then register the screens to make sure each print lines up perfect with the next so you end up with one cohesive, flawless design. Then, we'll run a test print.
6. Print each color of the logo one step at a time.
The screen print technician will put the garments on the flat, platter-like surface of the screen printing machine. Each color is then printed one at a time as the garment moves around the machine, kind of like a merry-go-round and assembly line all rolled into one.
7. Allow the screen printed clothing item to dry.
Once a garment has been screen printed, it's placed into a very hot, conveyor belt-type dryer. It's very important that the garment stay flat during this process so the ink doesn't run.
8. Ship the screen printed clothing items to you.
Once the screen printed clothing is dry and cooled, we fold them up, put them in a box, and ship directly to you!
We hope this simple analysis of the step by step screen printing process has been helpful. See also our blog article on 5 Screen Printing Myths Busted!
Whether you need screen printed pocket t shirts, polo shirts, or promotional items like printed bags and sweatshirts, when you are ready to get started with your company clothing order, give our screen printing specialists a call toll free at 1-877-304-1899!
EZ Corporate Clothing also offers free personal assistance.