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What is screen printing?

IMG_2135A typical screen printing process starts with high resolution artwork, whether it’s produced from scratch, provided by a designer or downloaded from the Internet. A design is then be prepared with a computer program like CorelDraw, Photoshop, Illustrator, or a FREE design tool called “gimp“. Preparing the artwork consists of sizing, altering coloring and color separating. In screen printing, each color in the design normally represents a screen, so to screen print a multicolor design we separate the colors using a program.  As soon as the artwork has been correctly separated and prepared, we print out a positive film for screen printing production.

Thus, all quality screen printing production starts with artwork, which is transferred to a positive transparency, and lastly to a screen. To make a quality screen output, we ask our customers to meet the necessary resolution of a minimum (150 dpi) dots per inch.

Our next step is to utilize the positive transparencies for exposure. This entire procedure is completed in a darkroom. Because light exposes emulsion we need to block out the light and try to keep the design parts of the screen fresh and unexposed. After exposure, we wash out the unexposed emulsion with water in a washout sink. When the screen has actually been effectively washed out, it exposes the design in the screen. We then dry and tape around the edges to prevent ink from coming through the edges of the frame.

Lock the screen into hinges that are mounted onto our print surface.

Lock the screen into hinges that are mounted onto our print surface.

Setting up or registering a screen is a very important piece to the production puzzle. Doing it correctly determines the quality of the printed garment. We use screen press micro registration to align the design to the correct and requested location of the garment.

As soon as the screen is registered, it is time to test print for a final proof and begin our manufacturing. It is remarkable to remind ourselves the importance of preparation. That is why many screen printing businesses charge a setup fee and require a minimum order. At BluePDX your order of 25+ qualifies for FREE setup and delivery and for those who just need a few shirts, our minimum is just 10 items per design.

When starting a screen printing job, another essential is preparing the high resolution design, exposure, flashing and drying the garment. Whenever we are printing on a dark garment we set an underbase first; this allows the color to appear in a nice, smooth, and bright finish. Once we print this underbase we cure it by flash so that we can print another layer on top of it. We then repeat the process until we achieve the desired look and feel.

Free DeliveryAfter we screen print the order, our final step is to double check the order quantities, the quality of the printed shirts, and to sort sizes together into boxes. Sometime we take a sample of the printed garments and wash and dry them to make sure the printed design is effectively cured and is long lasting. We then print the invoices and deliver the product to our awesome customers.