Screen Printing T-Shirts Explained

Screen Printing

Modern screen printing involves make a “screen” for each imprint in a design. A screen is a device whereby mesh fabric is stretched across a frame and secured to it. The screen is coated with a light sensitive emulsion and a graphic image or design is then placed on the screen either with a transparent medium with opaque graphics on the film (or a milky white substrate called Vellum)

screen print press, M&R Press

Automatic Screen Print Presses will always be suited for larger jobs, they are becoming more versatile and capable of printing on event shorter runs. M&R manufactures the press in the photo.

Imaging Process

The imaging process will eventually permit only the design elements to be washed out of the screen. After the screen is dried and sometimes touched up to eliminate imperfections, it is positioned onto another device a screen printing press  to hold it in place during the printing process. In this technology, ink is forced with a squeegee through the screen’s mesh onto whatever’s underneath it a T-shirt, a jacket, a sign or banner, pressure-sensitive label stock, etc.

How Much Does It Cost?

Setting up a textile screen printing shop with new equipment will run between $10,000 and $20,000 at minimum for basic manual equipment  Used equipment is also available. A new automatic press will run anywhere from $16,000 to $80,000.

How Long Does it take to Learn Screen Printing?

The learning curve of textile screen printing will take but a few days of training, practice, and hands-on experience to gain a basic ability to screen print on a manual press, one without motors, robotic arms, or any high-efficiency add-ons. Learning how to operate an automatic press will take a few additional days to learn. But achieving a command of the subtleties, nuances, and a myriad of variables that ensue with mastering the process will take months. And as some highly-skilled

Scott Fresener, published the first edition of his “How to Print T-Shirts for Fun and Profit” in 1978. Though updated over the years, the book’s basic instructions are still operative today. This landmark work, which has sold tens of thousands of copies since its first release, was the catalyst for launching thousands of screen printing businesses, whose owners had little technical training beyond what was printed in that book. The point here is that learning how to screen print isn’t all that difficult; learning to print well, however, is!

Article from The Business of T-Shirts

Mark L Venit