As you know, custom screen printing is one of the most popular and cost-effective ways to create a one-of-a-kind t-shirt or apparel item for your team, business, school or event. If you are thinking about using this technique to make some custom apparel, it is important to understand the process involved so that you can communicate your vision effectively with the custom screen printing shop you work with.
There are two primary printing methods for t-shirts: Digital Printing (DTG) and Screen Printing. Each has advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of project you are working on. Digital Printing is best for single-color, low-quantity projects and can produce incredibly detailed prints that would be impossible to achieve through screen printing. However, Digital Printing tends to fade after washing due to the fact that the ink is melted into the fabric rather than set on top of it.
Screen printing is great for multiple colors and large quantities of the same design. It is also ideal for high-quality, durable wear and tear apparel such as uniforms, athletic gear, and outerwear. Screen printing is more expensive than digital printing, but it provides superior durability and quality.
First, the design is created on a computer using a graphic design program. The design is then converted to a vector file, which allows for scaling without loss of clarity. Once the file is ready, a mesh screen (usually silk, polyester, or nylon) is chosen that fits the texture and size of the garment to be printed on. The screen is then coated with light-reactive emulsion and exposed to bright light in an exposure unit. The light hardens the emulsion on the screen where the design is to be printed while leaving other parts of the screen soft enough to wash away. The screens are then washed and allowed to dry before they are used to print the shirts.
The process of creating a custom screen printed shirt can take anywhere from a few days to a week. The printer needs time to prepare the screens, run a test print, and then apply the design to each shirt. For this reason, it is always a good idea to have an accurate head count or at least a close estimate of how many shirts you need before you order from the custom screen printing company. It is better to have a few extras than not enough!
In addition to the traditional printed designs, screen printing can be used to add specialty embellishments like glow-in-the-dark inks and puff. This is a great option for adding your team name or other elements to the front of the shirt and can really help you stand out at an event.
Another great way to make your customized apparel even more unique is to have embroidery added to the t-shirts or other clothing items. Embroidery can be used to add a monogram, company name or other embellishments to your t-shirts, jackets, hats and more. custom screen printing apparel