Screen printing is a great process for larger order of printed t-shirts (10+) and larger designs. Screen-printed tshirts wash well and can maintain the print quality for some me. Most printing you see in the High Street shops will have been printed this way.
When screen printing, one colour at a me is applied and therefore the cost will increase with each additional colour applied. For each separate colour an additional screen is required, so a design with 4 colours in it will need 4 screens, this can make screen printing in many colours uneconomical if only a small run of clothing is required and digital printing might be a cheaper option.
At the other end of the number scale the cost of 4 screens spread over a large number of garments doesn’t add a lot extra to the cost per shirt. You can combine garments to get to the next price bracket as long as the print remains the same. If the print size is changed then this counts as a separate print run.
Type of screen-printing ink we use
Plastisol inks are the standard ‘go to’ inks for most screen printing jobs. It is an oil based ink formulated into PVC molecules and pigment, suspended in a plasticizing emulsion. The ink does not dry out at any point but needs to be cured at approx 160 degrees Celsius for 2-3 minutes for the PVC and plastisiser melt and bind to each other to create a hardened compound. Plastisol inks tend to sit on top of the t-shirt ﬁbres rather than sink into them and this creates a raised and textured feel.
Dark garments require a heavier deposit than light garments and this exacerbates the ‘raised’ feeling. This feeling can be mitigated slightly with additional softening agents but this stretches the pigment slightly and reduces the vibrancy slightly.
If the ink is used straight out of the container, it is very opaque and this means your prints achieve a brightness and vibrancy that is superior to all other types of inks. Plastisols will work on almost any standard fabric used in garment production and this is why they also remain the ﬁrm favourite.