What is Screen Printing?

The technique of screen-printing t-shirts is often referred to as a form of art due to its meticulous nature. The reason is that each color has to be individually applied to the printing surface. This technique involves using a stencil (or ‘’screen” as most of the industry specialists call it) that applies one single color at a time.

If the design uses more colors, then more stencils will be created to apply the other colors. You might be unfamiliar with the actual term, but at some point in your life, you must have worn a t-shirt or a hoodie that was done using the screen printing process. The screen-printing technique often carries the name of “silk screen printing” or if you prefer a more technical name then use “serigraphy” which is the same thing.

The Technical Side

Like any other printing technique, one always starts out with the artwork which will represent the starting point for how the entire process should continue. In screen printing, the printer will be required to pay a lot of precision to how each layer of colors is placed on the top of the other (depending of course on how many colors your design has). And for each layer, the printer will also need to take care of all the extra technical details which are prepared in different software, such as Adobe Illustrator, or Corel Draw.

A rule of thumb is that whenever you decide to get something printed with the screen-printing technique, you will want to favor vectors over pixels. And if you’re wondering why that’s down to the amazing capability of vectors to be enlarged without losing the quality. The vectors are based on precise mathematical shapes which allow the user who manipulates them to resize the shape without ending up with a mushy artwork. So… Vectors are your friends in this battle

And the last thing you might want to take into account: when saving the final design, some of the compatible formats you need to remember are png, psd, jpeg, tiff and bmp. Oh, and don’t forget to save that file with a 300 d.p.i quality. You don’t want to risk having a design that looks as if it’s been done in the 80’s. (Nothing wrong with the 80’s if that’s what you’re after!)

What Fabrics are Ideal for Screen Printing?

Screen printing on fabric is partly dependent on the fabric itself, and some fabrics are easier to work with than others. There are a number of variables in the screen-printing process will affect your outcome, and the ink and curing process also make a big difference in terms of how the final product will come out. That being said, advances in ink technology have made it possible to print on an array of different materials without worrying too much about bleeding or about the color not sticking.

Not all fabrics are created equal

If you’re looking to get a batch of t-shirts or other fabrics or garments screen printed, you need to know if you can actually expect the fabric to give you the result you desire or not. Since all fabrics are not the same, this article will help you understand what is the most suitable for printing on.
Lucky for you, Milano has a variety on in-house stock fabric that are suitable for screen-printing.

Among all fabrics, cotton is traditionally regarded as the best fabric for screen print. This is due to its absorbent nature, which inherently means that it soaks up more ink and thus is a better substrate for screen printing on.
While pure cotton has traditionally been favored, 50/50 blend t-shirts like CVC and Tri-blend are actually ideal fabrics to print on because they have cotton’s absorbent qualities but tend to be softer to the touch – important because a significant factor in determining whether you wear an article of clothing or consign it to your dresser drawer is whether or not it’s actually comfortable to wear.
Cooltex is a special technology fabric which protects the skin from harmful UV rays. The key feature of this fabric is that it is constructed in a way where the inside of the fabric worn next to the skin is predominantly cotton and the outside is polyester. This therefore combines the comfort of cotton with the hardwearing properties of polyester. Polyester makes it easier and highly durable for screen-printing technique.
Milano Group is proud to be the only supplier of Cooltex Fabric in the market.
There are other natural and naturally-derived fabrics which are also suitable for screen printing. Cool Mesh being 100% Polyester provides an ideal surface for screen prints, but do keep in mind that thinner fabrics absorb less ink than thicker ones. What this means is that you shouldn’t expect the same look as what you’d get with cotton or wool, and furthermore, care must be taken during the printing process itself.
Wool is also a great fiber for screen printing on because it’s thick and readily absorbs more ink, but textured fabrics will present more of a challenge – especially true when you want to print an intricate design. Other natural fibers tend to yield a decent result, so if you want to get screen prints done on organic bamboo fiber t-shirts, go ahead.

Screen Print Inks

The high-density inks. As the name might suggest, the end design will give that tangible print which feels nice to the touch. The artwork is going to look slightly raised on the fabric which gives you that extra-dimensional edge that you might wanna go for.

Glow in the dark, which can be easily a great thing for a night event, is a great way to have that glow in the night look.

Puff inks are desirable if you want to have something for kids

Water-Based Inks are exactly what you might be thinking of – they will get you an exact suede-like texture on the garments


Benefits of Using the Process of Screen Print for T-shirts:

  • Create vibrant designs for your t-shirts;
  • Works really well for dark fabrics;
  • It feels nice to the touch as the inks are somehow thicker and it produces a nice visual effect;
  • Long-term lifespan and quality are ensured;
  • Authentic and sleek finish;
  • Scalability – if your batch is larger, the price you pay is smaller;
  • Large volumes of t-shirts are printed in only a matter of time;
  • No margin of error when it comes to matching your print color.

Should I Use Screen Printing for my T-shirts?

Over the years, screen printing t-shirts have been ideal for those who wanted to produce large quantities of t-shirts. As you could tell already, given its detailed approach, screen printing is slightly more costly as compared to other techniques. The quality of the machines used in the process has an impact as well on the overall efficiency of the process. Our goal is to ensure our clients that their order comes in a timely and efficient manner while the quality of the products remains high.

We also recommend a screen-printing service for works that have a large design and require a high level of vibrancy, or when using black or other dark colored garments. The reason why screen-printing dark t-shirts is preferred to any other technique lies in the fact that the ink is applied in more than one layer of color which, in turn, ensures the overall high quality of the t-shirt.


So What Do You Need to Remember?

  • Think about your designs: are your t-shirts going to use bold graphics?
  • Are you going to print typographic t-shirts?
  • Is your design minimalistic and uses only a limited amount of colours?
  • Are you looking to produce more than ten t-shirts?
  • If you answered YES to all of the questions above, then you might want to have screen-printed t-shirts then. Head over to our Online Store and get inspired!
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