If you want to create your own custom-designed t-shirts, a great way of executing your design would be through screen printing. Screen printing creates high-quality images that can be used for everything from brand identity, team uniforms, or special events.
Screen printing uses a synthetic screen stretched over a wooden or metal frame. The screen is then coated with a light-sensitive emulsion that blocks out any parts that haven’t been exposed to light through a burning process.
1. Start with your design – Before deciding on a design, make sure the one you’re going to use is a high-quality one – one that uses a minimum of 300 dpi (dots per inch) to ensure a clear and well-defined image. If you’re not sure how to go about it, we can guide you or we also offer professional design services.
Afterwards, the design is then printed onto a film or vellum. The film used for screen printing is similar to that used in overhead projectors, though a vellum can also be used as a cheaper, but just as effective, alternative. This kind of film allows light to penetrate properly, creating a high quality image.
2. Colors are then separated from the design – If your design uses several different colors, these colors are then separated and printed onto different films.
3. Emulsion is applied to the design – After color separation, a photo-sensitive emulsion is then applied to each screen. The emulsion will block out any areas where there are gaps in your design to create a proper stencil. The screens are then dried before the next step, the exposure process.
4. Burning – During exposure process, or burning process, the screens are transferred to an exposure unit. These units contain lights inside them. The films are then placed between a glass and the screen so that light can shine down on it, through the glass and film, and into the screen. Wherever the light doesn’t hit, the emulsion will block out.
5. Printing – After the burning process, the screens will then be washed out with water to remove excess emulsion and left to dry. After the screens dry, they’re ready for the registration process.
6. Registration is a process of lining up each screen so that the design/image is in its proper place and ready for printing.
So whether you want to customize t-shirts for your annual company retreat, or have a t-shirt design in mind for your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, screen printing is a great way of making your designs a reality.