Screen Printing 101: The Basics
The screen printing technique was first put to use around the time Tiberius was Emperor of Rome and the giant Sequoias of California were only saplings. The original technique was developed in China over 2000 years ago, with screens built from human hair and leaves; then the Japanese made a quantum leap forward when they started using silk fibers instead of human hair – and long haired printers rejoiced. Over the next two millennia, the basic screen printing concept remained the same even if the technology increased.
Today, screen printing is accomplished in much the same manner the Chinese used (just less human hair involved). Mesh stencils (called screens) are built for each color and ink is pushed through the screen and onto the substrate fabric. And even with the advances in technology, screen printing is still largely a hands-on process – just check your screen printers’ clothes and hands for ink stains!
One of the best things about screen printing is the massive color selection available. An explosion in the popularity and usage of screen printing over the last few decades has resulted in ink and color options that are only limited by your imagination.
When it comes to picking colors, the best method is to provide us with a PMS (Pantone Matching System) number. Having the PMS number allows for very close matches and is perfect for color-sensitive projects – however keep in mind that even with a PMS number, fabric type and color can affect how the final product looks. Of course, our expert screen printers are experienced in getting the color right – even on difficult projects.
If you don’t have a PMS number, don’t worry! We can still print your project and still get your colors looking great, but because of variations in monitor outputs your final product might be an exact match. But we still promise that your products will come out looking sharp and clean.
With screen printing, a large portion of the expense comes from converting artwork and creating screens – while the actual printing goes pretty quickly. Because of the large up-front time commitment, screen printing gets more economical the more you print. Our minimum screen printing quantity is 12, and we offer price breaks at each dozen mark after that (24, 26, 48, etc.).
Another factor that affects price is then number of colors in your design. Because a new screen is created for each color, the price goes up accordingly. So, a one-color design is going to cost less than a three- or four- color design; but because screen printing gives such vibrant color results we keep our color prices low. We love printing exciting garments, and so we do everything we can to make it possible for our clients to create multicolor designs.
We take our screen printing seriously, and we can handle a wide range of special requests and unique orders. One popular option is our soft, vintage style screen prints. This look is achieved through a softer application and the use of high mesh screen; and it creates just the right look for your vintage or retro project.
We can also print anywhere on your garment – from standard locations to diagonal, off-center, or low locations. Just keep in mind that screen printing doesn’t always play well with seams. We can print on them, but the uneven surface can cause distortions in your design.
Screen Printing Experts
Fusion Group USA has the screen printing experts to handle any job – from the simplest to the most unique. In fact, we love a good screen printing challenge – so bring us your craziest ideas and let’s see what we can do! Contact us today for more information or a custom estimate for your next custom screen printing project.