Do you have a collection of screen printed shirts that you have acquired over the years?  Maybe they’re ones you purchased, were part of a uniform, or you received from giveaway. Have you ever wondered how they are made?  Or, maybe you are needing to order some for a group or sports team. Most printed shirts are made by screen printing. There are several advantages of choosing screen printing over other methods of printing such as digital printing and heat transfer.  

 

    The roots of screen printing could be linked to the Egyptians with stencils.  In 900 AD, China pressed ink through silk to create images. In the 1800s screen printing became a commercial process.  So, what exactly is the process used for modern screen printing? The process of screen printing involves creating a stencil that printers recognize as a ‘screen’; hence the name ‘screen printing. These stencils are made of mesh that apply layers of ink on the printing surface.  Each color of ink has its own screen, so several screens are used to create a multi-colored image.

      Screen printing has a high level of vibrancy that remains bright even on dark surfaces.  Screen printing also creates a more authentic, softer look than other forms of printing. This method of printing is not done under pressure and the screens are flexible therefore could be printed on a variety of textiles other than shirts and flat surfaces.  Some examples of specialty products that screen printing is used for are water bottles, mini footballs you might get at a football game, linen bags, or balloons.

 

      Because of the process involved in screen printing, it isn’t the best option for individualized prints.   It is, however, more cost efficient for large orders. Typically with screen printing, the more items with the same print you purchase, the less it costs per item.  This could be good for promotional products or giveaways at large events.

 

        With all of the advantages of screen printing, why might screen printing not be an option for you?  If you are needing individualized items, such as names printed on shirts, then screen printing isn’t a good option.  This is because only one image is created with the screens. Each name would require a new screen to be created and wouldn’t be cost efficient.  If you are needing a photo quality print that includes a lot of detail, screen printing isn’t the best option for that either. This is because the screens used for screen printing aren’t designed for high amounts of details. If you only need a small amount of items printed, then screen printing isn’t the best option because of the labor and materials needed.  

 

    Screen printing has been around for a long time and is a tried and true method for printing a variety of textiles.  Whether you need shirts printed for an entire company, or promotional products to give to customers, screen printing is a good option with many advantages over other types of printing.