Screenprinting is among the most popular methods of textile printing and is mostly preferred on t-shirts. It’s a unique process, which involves pushing ink through a mesh stencil and onto the fabric. The space between the stencil creates an opening where the ink passes through to create the design. The ink is then pushed over the stencil mesh using a squeegee onto the fabric.
Screenprinting is quite a fascinating textile printing method, which makes colors vibrant and fancier through graphics. However, the process can seem a bit complicated, and to understand it better, you first need to know how screenprinting appears on different fabric types.
Using natural fabrics for screenprinting is the best choice because they absorb ink more easily than man-made fabrics. Most design printers prefer cotton material and cotton blends because the material is soft and absorbent, plus you can make organic cotton a lot softer. Screenprinting on cotton is less complicated than other alternatives like polyester, acrylics, fleece, and other blended fabrics.
When using cotton material, the risk of dye migration or bleeding is highly reduced. Cotton also absorbs the dye more deeply than other fabrics. For example, acrylic and polyester are less porous than cotton, so that the ink won’t stick easily. Most customers usually love 100% cotton because it’s slightly heavier, hypoallergenic, and breathable than most fabrics.
Silk material provides a flat surface for screenprinting, and it absorbs ink evenly and effectively. Silk is usually a thin material, and one thing to note is that the lighter the fabric, the lesser dye will be absorbed. With silk, there will be a lesser effect than on thicker materials like wool and cotton. Silk tends to move around and can shrink, so ensure you pre-wash the fabric before printing, and keep it in place with adhesive tape when printing to get good results. Silk also needs to be cured at a lower temperature of 180 degrees, so that the fabric doesn’t burn.
Wool fabrics and woolen blends offer a more absorbent element for screenprinting. As always, the thicker the wool, the more vibrant the design will be. Keep in mind that it will be a challenge to print on more textured and chunkier wool, especially for highly sophisticated and detailed print designs. To get the best out of wool, use less textured woolen fabric and less complicated designs.
Polyester and Acrylic Fabrics
It’s harder to get printing ink to stick to polyester and acrylic fabrics because they are less porous and less permeable than cotton. With advances in technology today, there are solutions that design companies use to be able to print on synthetic fabric. The application of synthetic fixer has made it possible to use screenprinting on fabrics that don’t absorb ink as readily as cotton.
Jersey is typically a type of cotton blend and absorbs ink very well. Water-based fabric paint produces better results than plastisol dyes, which tend to sit on top of the fabric and crack when you stretch it. When you use water-based fabric print, it will be easily absorbed, resulting in a superior and softer look. There’s a chance jersey fabric will move between prints, so ensure you use adhesive tape to hold it in place. For more information and to order printing on jersey, go to https://www.justvisionit.com/jersey-printing/
The Benefits of Screenprinting
- Cost-effective for bulk orders
Screenprinting requires the creation of screens for every color you’ll be using in the design, and it’s best used for bulk orders—the bigger the order, the cheaper the cost of printing.
- Screenprinting is easier to print on special garments.
It’s hard to find a textile printing method as versatile as screenprinting. It can be done on any flat surface like metal, wood, plastic, fabric, and others.
Screenprinting allows inks with greater thickness than any other printing method, which results in better colors and quality when it comes to the final product.
- The choice of fabric is unlimited.
Screenprinting on fabrics, mostly cotton, allows the ink to be absorbed deeply, resulting in intense and vibrant colors that can appear in both dark and light-colored fabric.
Due to the composition and use of inks with greater thickness, the designs printed using screenprinting can withstand far more stress than others without losing the design print quality.
- Expensive when working with multiple colors
With screenprinting, you can only apply one color simultaneously, and each color uses different screens. Therefore, it limits the number of colors you can use on fabric because every color demands a different stencil and screen, hence more money.
- Not ideal for small orders
Screenprinting requires more preparation before going into printing than other methods. This type of textile printing isn’t practical for small on-demand orders that require you to start printing as soon as the order is placed.
While efforts have been made to develop more eco-friendly inks and screens, screenprinting still uses and wastes a lot of water. A lot of water is wasted during mixing up the inks and dyes and cleaning up the screen. It may not sound like much, but imagine the amount of water used by manufacturers who print thousands and thousands of garments daily.
Screenprinting is the ideal choice for a company if you’re looking to brand t-shirts, bags, hats, or any other merchandise to give out as promotional products. You can customize your designs however you want and get it printed in quantities, which will make it a cheaper option. Customers will appreciate the promotional products because they will be of higher quality, especially if you choose cotton material, which absorbs the ink better, and the print design lasts longer.