Screen Printing is one of the most versatile and commonly used printing methods in the apparel industry. Screen printing is a printing technique where ink is applied directly to the garment by using a mesh screen. The non-printing areas are blocked off and the fabric of the mesh serves as a stencil. The ink is wiped across the screen to pass through the open area in the mesh screen and applied to the garment. For each color to be printed a separate screen is prepared and the process is repeated. There are three commonly used Screen Printing techniques: Plastisol, Water-Based and Discharge.
Plastisol Screen Printing
Plastisol Screen Printing is the most commonly used of the three Screen Printing methods. In this type of Screen Printing the ink wraps around the fabric creating a mechanical bond with the fabric instead of dying the fabric of the garment. Once the ink is applied to the garment it must be heated to dry. The ink will not cure at normal temperatures. Plastisol Screen Printing allows for vibrant colors on dark garments. Specialty inks such as Metallic, Glitter, Foil, Flock, Faux Leather/Suede, and Crackle can also be used to create unique effects.
Water Based Screen Printing
Water Based Screen Printing soaks into the fabric of the garment. With the ink dying the fabric it leaves a very soft hand feel to the garment. Water Based Screen Printing also sustains better when washing the garment compared to Plastisol Screen Print. The design imprinted won’t crack or fade adding lasting value to the garment. Water Based Screen Printing is also less harmful to the environment than Plastisol Screen Printing.
Discharge Screen Printing
Discharge Screen Printing is achieved by adding an agent to the ink that removes the dye from the garment. Once the original color is stripped from the fabric the ink will soak into the fabric. Discharge Screen Printing is most commonly used when a light color Water-Based ink is applied to a dark garment. This remedies the need to lay down an additional layer of white that previously would be needed to achieve the proper opacity of the top color. Since Discharge Screen Printing does not require the lay down of white ink it is able to soak into the fabric of the garment leaving the soft hand.
In our facility we utilize all 3 Screen Printing techniques. We can produce a 48 piece order to high volume runs. Our presses can run up to 10 colors and we offer a wide variety of specialty inks to help you create your one-of-a-kind custom garment.