Screen Printing is the process of printing a variety of inks through a silk screen. Ancient China used silk that is, the screen is a polyester synthetic mesh now days. Images are exposed onto the screens using film positives and a dark room light exposure process.
-The most common inks are plastisol inks, a PVC based ink that if too thick can feel heavy and like plastic. Although with some care and conscious design, plastisol can feel weightless.
-Water based inks, typically for high end retail, leave no feeling on the shirt whatsoever. The dyed fabric is coated with pigments from a water "base" that is evaporated off in the conveyor dryer. The color is less vivid and harder to be specifically matched, unlike plastisol which can be accurately matched to Patone or PMS color systems. The somewhat duller texture or appearance of the waterbased inks, gives them what is commonly referred to as a "vintage" look, since you are seeing the dyed fabric itself.
-Solvent based inks are typically for signs, banners and nylon bags.
-A water based discharge ink uses a bleaching agent that removes dyes from the shirt, and then the ink pigments are left on the natural colored fabric of the shirt.
Overall, as long as the material is flat and the adhesive can be applied it can usually be printed. We print as few as 72 shirts for special occasions and up to tens of thousands for a single client. We have both automatic and non-automatic presses.
Printing was invented by the Chinese and has been around for thousands of years. Screen printing is the most cost-effective type of printing to date.
The higher the quantity, the more cost effective screening becomes due to the cost of the exposure process, set-up, etc, being diluted down. Other methods can be more cost-effective for smaller orders such as dye sublimation, which is one of multiple heat press processes.
Your order will typically take 10-15 working days post-approval of your artwork and payment.