Screen Printing: The Process
There are many steps to insure we bring your ideas and art to life.
Review Art Submission
Color Separation and Film Output
Screen Prep for Production
REVIEW ART SUBMISSION
There’s a number of guidelines and standards we use to determine if a piece of art will print well. We’ve developed these standards based on our experience over the years. We review each piece art and offer suggestions and recommendations for better printing if necessary.
Once we have art that is good for printing, we’ll set up a proof for you showing a mockup of the design on the garment style and color(s). On this proof, we’ll list out the exact imprint sizes and list the pantone colors we intend to use.
The mock-up is an estimate for sizing and location, this will serve two purposes. You will know what to expect and we will have proof to follow.
COLOR SEPARATION AND FILM OUTPUT
For each color in a design, we produce a piece of film that will be used to burn the image into the screen. Each separate screen is put on press and loaded with a specific color to be printed. We refer to the film as a positive.
Screen exposure is the process of creating a screen with the image on the film.
A pre-stretched screen is coated with a photo-reactive emulsion and dried.
The film is then placed under the coated screen and exposed to high intensity light for a defined period of time. After exposure, the screen is washed out with water to remove the emulsion from the image area.
SCREEN PREP FOR PRODUCTION
Once the screen has dried from the wash out, we prep it for production. The edges of the screen are taped off to prevent other ink leakage and allow easier clean-up.
While the film is being printed and the screens are being made, the ink department is pulling the ink and stationing it in a holding area for the press operators. Since plastisol inks don’t dry out, we can keep pantone mixes on the shelf ready to go.
There’s actually a lot of variables that are addressed each time a screen print design is set up on press. Depending on the design and desired outcome, press operators consider the amount of off-contact, squeegee speed, squeegee angle, etc….