SCreen Printing

Screen printing is a printing technique where mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate, except in areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil. A squeegee is moved across the screen to fill the open mesh apertures with ink, and a reverse stroke then causes the screen to touch the substrate momentarily along a line of contact. This causes the ink to wet the substrate and be pulled out of the mesh as the screen springs back after the blade has passed. One color is printed at a time, so several screens can be used to produce a multi-colored design.

There are various terms used for what is essentially the same technique. Traditionally the process was called screen printing or silkscreen printing because silk was used in the process. It is also known as serigraphy, and serigraph printing. Currently, synthetic threads are commonly used in the screen printing process. The most popular mesh in general use is made of polyester. There are also different types of mesh size which will determine the outcome and look of the finished design on the material.

We are able to offer a lot of options when it comes to screen printing. We offer plasitisol inks (standard), water-based, discharge and CYMK ink processes.

We can add additives to many of the inks to give 

 

Cracking ink
Cracking ink effect is when the ink produces an intentional cracked surface after drying. 
 
Discharge inks
Discharge inks use Zinc Formaldehyde Sulfoxylate to activate the dye in fabric to discharge from the originating fabric. Discharge inks are available in clear or colors. Cons of using discharge inks is that the process only works properly on dark fabrics that have a content of 100% cotton. Fabrics with under-dyes and fabric blends will discharge their dye to different degrees.  Pros to this process is that discharge is especially effective for distressed prints and under-basing on dark garments that are to be printed with additional layers of plastisol. It adds variety to the design and gives it that natural soft feel.
 
Puff
Puff is an additive to plastisol inks which raises the print off the garment, creating a 3D feel and look to the design. Mostly used when printing on apparel.
 
Flocking
Flocking consists of a glue printed onto the fabric and then flock material is applied for a velvet touch.
 
Foil
Foil is much like flock, starting with an adhesive glue or plastisol ink base layer. Foil is finished by applying a thin sheet of reflective/mirror like material on top of the screened base, then heat pressed to set. The foil substrate does not adhere to non-screened areas of the design, and the balance of the foil sheet is discarded.
 
Four-color process/CMYK
Four-color process is when the artwork is created and then separated into four colours (CMYK) which combine to create the full spectrum of colors needed for photographic prints. This means a large number of colors can be simulated using only 4 screens, reducing costs, time, and set-up. The inks are required to blend and are more translucent, meaning a compromise with vibrancy of color.
 
Glitter/Shimmer
Glitter or Shimmer ink is when metallic flakes become an additive in the ink base to create this sparkle effect. Usually available in gold or silver but can be mixed to make most colours.
 
Metallic
Metallic ink is similar to glitter, but smaller particles suspended in the ink. A glue is printed onto the fabric, then nano-scale fibers applied on it. 
 
Nylobond
Nylobond is a special ink additive for printing onto technical or waterproof fabrics.
 
Plastisol
Plastisol is the most common ink used in commercial garment decoration. Good color opacity onto dark garments and clear graphic detail with, as the name suggests, a more plasticized texture. This print can be made softer with special additives or heavier by adding extra layers of ink. 
 
PVC and Phthalate Free
PVC and Phthalate Free is relatively new breed of ink and printing with the benefits of plastisol but without the two main toxic components. It also has a soft texture.
 
Stretch
An additive added to plastisol inks used to allow the inks to move spandex and streatchable fabrics without cracking.
 
Suede Ink
Suede ink is a milky coloured additive that is added to plastisol. With suede additive you can make any color of plastisol have a suede feel. It is actually a puff blowing agent that does not bubble as much as regular puff ink. 
 
Water-Based inks
These penetrate the fabric more than the plastisol inks and create a much softer feel. Ideal for printing darker inks onto lighter colored garments. Also useful for larger area prints where texture is important. Some inks require heat or an added catalyst to make the print permanent.