In summary there are two big components in the whole silk screen printing process:
Pre-press / Creating The Design:
This involves creating the stencil of the negative image, coating the screen with a emulsion, and proceeding to burn away the unblocked areas using a bright light (for the design item and color).
Pressing Phase / Printing :
Once that whole process is done, the actual ‘printing’ begins. This includes transferring the design unto the fabric.
The common process for commercial silk screen printing is as follows:
· Step 1: the design is created – the printer prints out the design onto a transparent acetate film
· Step 2: the screen is created – a mesh screen is selected to cater for the complexity of the design
· Step 3: the screen is coated with a layer of light-reactive emulsion, which will harden later when developed
· Step 4: the emulsion is exposed – the design is placed on the coated screen, and the whole thing is exposed to bright light. The light will harden the emulsion, and parts of the screen that is covered by the design remains in liquid form
· Step 5: (to include in another color) a new screen is used to apply the new layer of ink
· Step 6: the areas of the screen that is not covered by the design will start to turn hard. Any unhardened parts are then washed away, leaving behind a clear imprint of the design on the screen for the ink to pass through. The screen will be left to dry
· Step 7: the screen (with finalized design) is then placed on the printing press, and the fabric will be placed on the printing board, below the screen (most commercial printers will use an automatic rotary carousel printer to allow several screens to work at the same time)
· Step 8: The ink is then pressed through the screen onto the fabric
· Step 9: The fabric is then checked, washed and dried before finalization
What are the pros and cons of silk screen printing?
- Ideal for high printing volume (if you have the right equipment)
- Easy to perform to do on for simple designs
- High durability
- Not as cost-effective for lower quantities
- Difficult to do – if you would want to incorporate many colours
- High setup time
FAQs on Silkscreen Printing In Singapore
– How long is the lead time for silkscreen printing for t-shirts?
Silkscreen printing is one of the most tedious methods for t-shirt printing. Thus, depending on the quantity, in general it would take about 5-7 working days to complete a project. What would affect the time to complete the project really depends on: complexity of the design, and material used.
– How long-lasting is silk screen printed t-shirts?
Due to the tedious printing process, silk screen printed t-shirts are usually more long-lasting. They are highly durable and can keep its design quality up to hundreds of washes. Note that the durability would also depend on how the fabric is washed, taken cared of, and treated.
– What products are suitable for silk screen printing?
Silk screen printing is suitable for many types of fabric applications: t-shirts, polo shirts, cotton fabric, tote bags, jackets, hoodies, and even caps.
– Are there different grades of silk screen printed t-shirts?
The quality of your silk screen printed t-shirt would really depend on: (1) the quality of the t-shirt used, (2) the quality of your printer. A higher quality grade silk screen printed t-shirt will not have its graphics cracked so easily after much wear and tear, and washing. In addition, the graphic will look sharper as well.