May 10, 2024

tshirt screen printing

how t-shirt screen printing is done

Screen printing, also known as silk screening, is a versatile and widely used printing technique that involves transferring ink through a mesh screen onto a substrate, such as fabric, paper, glass, metal, or plastic. Screen printing edgescreen popular method for creating vibrant and durable prints on various surfaces. Let’s delve into the process of screen printing in detail.

1. Preparing the Design:

The process begins with creating or selecting a design that needs to be printed. This design is then transferred onto a transparent film or vellum using techniques like hand drawing, digital designing, or photographic processes. The transparency of the film allows light to pass through during the exposure stage.

2. Preparing the Screen:

Next, a screen made of fine mesh, traditionally silk (hence the term silk screening), but more commonly polyester or nylon today, is stretched tightly over a frame. The mesh is typically made of synthetic materials due to their durability and resistance to stretching and tearing. The screen is then coated with a light-sensitive emulsion, which is a photosensitive chemical compound.

3. Image Exposure:

The prepared design on the transparent film is placed on top of the coated screen, and both are exposed to ultraviolet light. The light hardens the emulsion except where the design on the film blocks it. After exposure, the screen is washed with water, which removes the unexposed emulsion, leaving behind a stencil of the design on the screen.

4. Setup and Registration:

Once the screen is prepared, it is mounted onto a printing press. Multiple screens may be used for multi-colored designs. Proper registration is crucial at this stage to ensure that each color lines up correctly with the others.

5. Printing:

The substrate to be printed is placed on the printing bed beneath the screen. Ink is then poured onto the screen’s surface, and a squeegee is used to spread the ink evenly over the stencil. The squeegee is then pulled across the screen, forcing the ink through the mesh onto the substrate below. The pressure applied and the angle of the squeegee determine the thickness and coverage of the ink deposit.

6. Curing:

After printing, the substrate is passed through a curing process to set the ink permanently. This is typically done using heat, either by passing the substrate through a conveyor dryer or using a flash cure unit. Curing ensures that the ink adheres firmly to the substrate and withstands washing and wear.

7. Repeat for Additional Colors:

For designs with multiple colors, each color is printed using a separate screen and corresponding ink. The substrate is dried or cured between each color application to prevent smudging or bleeding.

8. Finishing Touches:

Once all colors are printed and cured, the finished product may undergo additional finishing processes, such as trimming excess material, folding (in the case of paper products), or sewing (for fabric items).


Screen printing is a versatile and highly customizable printing method suitable for a wide range of substrates and applications. Its ability to produce vibrant colors, durable prints, and intricate designs makes it a preferred choice for various industries, including apparel, signage, packaging, and more. While the process requires some specialized equipment and expertise, the results are often well worth the effort, offering high-quality, long-lasting prints with excellent color reproduction.