If you ever own custom t-shirts, you’d have wondered what are silkscreen prints? You’re not alone! For starters, this type of printing method involves ink being printed directly onto the t-shirts or apparel.
T-shirts printed via this method are generally durable and long-lasting. These types of prints can withstand many rounds of washing, allowing apparel that is customized with silkscreen prints to last for many years. However, bear in mind that the durability of this type of custom t-shirt may vary based on usage and intensity of activities such as sports use which may result in friction and abrasion. In such cases, the durability of this printing method will be affected.
It is by far one of the oldest t-shirt printing techniques, yet produces one of the highest quality out there.
How is this printing technique done?
To understand why t-shirts printed by this method are so durable, you have to know how they are produced.
The first step in the printing process involves the creation of a ‘screen’. This is done by using UV light to transfer the desired design onto a woven mesh board, with other parts of the board blocked by an ink-blocking stencil. Nylon mesh on stencil will have your desired design on it, covering parts of the mesh screen where you do not want the ink to seep through and leaving design area parts uncovered to allow ink to seep through the tiny holes in the mesh, which eventually forms your ink printed t-shirt.
To create the design area for printing on the stencil, we first need to cover the mesh screen with photographic emulsion. A transparency film with your design printed in black will have to be placed on the stencil. Design printed on the film will be exactly how your custom t-shirt prints will turn out. After exposure to UV light, the stencil will be washed out preferably by a jet spray and your design area will be revealed on the screen. Once done, the real work starts now. A ready stencil will be placed above the print area. Next, you’d have to flood some ink onto the screen, and then use a squeegee to press down and ensure that the ink spreads evenly across the screen. Excess ink will be wiped away, and the screen is finally taken off with the design you’re printing. That’s it!
Why choose this method of printing?
It is a traditional and popular method to print on different materials – from t-shirts designs to apparel such as tote bags. Silkscreen printing is a process where images are created through a type of stencil process. The artwork is separated into different colors, then screens are burned with all different color separations. Most importantly, choosing this method of printing results in t-shirts with higher fidelity, which results in more vibrant colors that are harder for other printing techniques to replicate. Compared to DTG shirt printing, this printing method allows for sharper, cleaner, and much more refined details.
Advantages of silkscreen printing
- Cheap for large scale t-shirt printing
- Cost-effective as fewer ink colors are needed.
- Designs are generally more detailed (small text, fine lines, etc.)
- Silkscreen prints are highly durable
- Silkscreen prints are light and thin, resulting in garments having a soft feel
Disadvantages of silkscreen printing
- Not cost-effective for small scale t-shirt printing
- Not cost-effective if the design has many colors
- Only cost-effective if t-shirt design graphics are identical across each piece
- Can be troublesome to execute as it requires specialized
For more information, you can always feel free to contact Legendary Merch for a full inquiry.