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The Basics - What Is Screen Printing?

Posted by Bubba Thomas - Georgia Location Manager on 7/24/2013
Screen Printing is one of the most versatile print methods used today and this effective process can be used on a very broad range of mediums, making screening one of the most preferred print techniques.  Though most popularly used for T-shirt prints, screen printing services can also print on plastic, metal, glass, and paper. Products that can be printed upon are, of course the ever-popular T-shirt, but also posters, signs, labels, stickers, electronics, and textiles. There's little that this process cannot print on, because size, thickness of medium, or shape will not inhibit the silkscreening process. And, for those projects that need the extra "look" of something special, this is the print method to choose.

The screening process is really quite simple and only requires a few pieces of equipment to accomplish the desired results. Screen printing companies use a screen of some type of porous fabric, a frame, ink, and a squeegee or tool to push the paint through the material. Different effects can be accomplished with different types of materials and fabrics used in pushing the ink through the screen and onto the substrate. Reversed or negative stencils, or image plates are placed on the screen blocking the ink flow to create the desired image. Composition, form, the amount of pressure used and the actual blade will also have an effect on the final impression on the object being printed. Professionals use technology in accomplishing this form of print, but this artistic print method can also be used by smaller businesses or even in the garage of the adventurous artist.

When there are specific print jobs that call for this type of process, those seeking screening will want to first determine specifications before contacting screen printing services.  If the project is small and in need of a skillful hand, then using a smaller customized screener may be called for.  Small orders of Inexpensive T-shirt prints will require a different type of service than what large sophisticated commercial printers offer. Asking the printers under consideration for a sample of their work or for an example of the project under discussion would be one way to get a good idea of the quality of work being performed. Screen printing price structures will also depend upon the style and size of the project. The degree of difficulty, the technology used, the materials required, and the labor or time involved will all play a factor into the quoted price. Also, some substrates are more difficult to print on than others, so this, too, can be a cost factor.

There are different types of screen printing methods, and some use a simple spot process while others have complex spot techniques. Elaborate jobs will require multi-color print options along with other new and technically advanced methods that are used by commercial agencies.

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