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Custom Screen Printing

Screen printing, also known as silk screening, is a printing technique that has been used for centuries. It involves pressing ink or dye through a stencil onto a substrate, which can be anything from fabric to paper to metal. The stencil is typically made of a fine mesh material, such as silk or nylon, which allows the ink to pass through only in the areas where the stencil is not present.

The history of screen printing can be traced back to ancient China, during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). Chinese artisans would use stencils made of human hair, attached to a wooden frame, to print designs onto silk fabric. These stencils were coated with a mixture of ink and rice paste, which would seep through the holes in the stencil onto the fabric below.

Screen printing as we know it today was first developed in the early 1900s. In 1907, a patent was filed in England for a screen printing method that used a stencil made of wax and a flat squeegee to push the ink through the mesh. This technique was used primarily for printing on wallpaper and fabrics.

Over the years, screen printing has evolved to become a versatile and popular printing technique. One major innovation was the development of photo emulsion, which allowed designs to be transferred to the stencil using actinic light. This made it much easier to create detailed and intricate designs, and allowed for the use of more durable materials like synthetic polymers.

The process of screen printing can be broken down into several steps. The first step is to create a stencil, which can be done using a variety of methods. One common method is to coat a mesh screen with a photosensitive emulsion, and then expose it to ultraviolet light through a photocopied design. The areas of the emulsion that are exposed to the light will harden, while the unexposed areas will remain soft and can be washed away to create the stencil.

Once the stencil is ready, the next step is to prepare the ink or dye. Different types of ink or dye are used depending on the substrate being printed on. For example, textile printing often uses plastisol ink, which is a type of PVC-based ink that can be heat-cured to create a durable, flexible print. However, other types of ink or dye, such as water-based or solvent-based inks, may be used for printing on other substrates.

Once the ink or dye is prepared, it is poured onto the stencil and spread evenly using a squeegee. The squeegee is then pulled back over the stencil, pushing the ink or dye through the mesh and onto the substrate below. This process is repeated until the entire design has been printed.

Screen printing is a popular printing technique for a variety of applications, including t-shirt printing, poster printing, and industrial printing. It is also commonly used in the art world, particularly in underground and subculture scenes. The National Serigraph Society, founded in 1939, is a professional organization for screen printers and advocates for the use of the technique in fine art.

Despite its many advantages, screen printing does have some drawbacks. One issue is that it can be difficult to achieve accurate color reproduction using the CMYK color model, which is commonly used in screen printing. This is because the colors are printed one at a time, rather than being mixed together as they would be in other printing techniques like offset printing. Additionally, creating halftones (which are used to create shades of gray) can be challenging.

Another issue with screen printing is that some types of ink or dye can be harmful to the environment or to human health. For example, some plastisol inks contain phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive problems in humans. However, there are now more environmentally-friendly options

There are now more environmentally-friendly options for screen printing inks, such as water-based inks and soy-based inks, which are non-toxic and biodegradable. Additionally, many screen printers now offer eco-friendly printing services, using sustainable materials like organic cotton or recycled polyester.

In addition to environmental concerns, screen printing has also been used as a tool for social and political activism. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) employed screen printers to create posters promoting various government programs and initiatives. These posters were often colorful and eye-catching, and were designed to appeal to a wide audience.

Screen printing has also been used in the DIY culture and subcultures, allowing individuals to create their own unique designs on t-shirts, patches, and other items. This has led to the development of specialized screen printing techniques, such as discharge printing (which removes the dye from the fabric to create a design) and oversized printing (which creates a design that extends beyond the edge of the fabric).

In recent years, advancements in technology have led to new innovations in screen printing. For example, some printers now use digital screen printing presses, which use computer-controlled systems to create high-resolution prints with more accurate color reproduction. Additionally, new types of inks and substrates are being developed, such as metallic inks and LED-curable inks, which can be cured using ultraviolet or LED lights instead of heat.

Despite these advancements, screen printing remains a popular and versatile printing technique. It is often favored for its ability to produce bright, vivid colors and durable prints that can withstand repeated washing and wear. Whether you're a professional screen printer or a DIY enthusiast, there's no denying the appeal and versatility of this classic printing technique.

Step-by-Step Process:

The process of screen printing involves several steps, including the preparation of the design, the creation of the screen, and the printing process itself. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how screen printing works:

  1. Design Preparation: The first step is to prepare the design that will be printed. This can be done digitally using software such as Adobe Illustrator or by hand using traditional art tools.
  2. Screen Preparation: Once the design is finalized, it is printed onto a transparent film, which is then used to create a stencil on a screen. The screen is made of a mesh material, typically made of silk or polyester, that is stretched over a frame.
  3. Stencil Creation: The stencil is created by blocking out areas of the screen where the ink should not pass through, leaving only the areas where ink is desired open.
  4. Ink Application: The screen is placed over the surface to be printed, and ink is applied to the top of the screen. A squeegee is used to pull the ink across the screen, forcing it through the open areas of the stencil and onto the surface below.
  5. Drying: Once the ink has been applied, it needs to dry before the next layer can be printed. Depending on the type of ink used and the surface being printed, the drying process can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
  6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5: The process of applying ink and drying is repeated for each layer of the design, with a new stencil created for each layer.
  7. Finishing: Once all the layers have been printed and the ink has dried, the finished product is complete.

Screen printing is a versatile technique that can be used to create a wide range of designs, from simple logos to complex illustrations. Its durability and long-lasting results make it a popular choice for a variety of applications.


If you're interested in screen printing for your business, organization, or personal project, look no further than our company. We offer a wide range of screen printing services, using only the highest quality inks, substrates, and equipment. Our team of experienced screen printers will work with you to create a design that meets your unique specifications, and will ensure that every print is produced with the utmost attention to detail and quality.

Whether you need t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, or any other type of textile printing, we have the expertise and resources to make it happen. And if you're looking for eco-friendly options, we offer water-based and soy-based inks, as well as sustainable materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester.

So why wait? Get in touch with us today to learn more about our screen printing services and to request a quote. With our commitment to quality, attention to detail, and competitive pricing, we're confident that you'll be thrilled with the results.