Everything You Need To Know About Screen Printing Techniques

Screen printing refers to a printing method where ink is transferred on a substrate via mesh. Certain areas where printing is not required are blocked and made resistant to ink using a stencil. At first, it was referred to as silk screen printing as a natural silk mesh or screen was used. Today, however, screen mesh is made using polyester, stainless steel or nylon. Most commonly used is polyester mesh. Screen printing is quite popular these days and has been used for the expression of art and creativity. 


Principles of Screen Printing 

Screen printing is of 2 types, ones using water-based ink and other using oil-based ink. The first type is popularly used for printing anything made from textiles like bed linen, tablecloth, etc. and t-shirts too. Oil-based ink is used for printing on paper or plastic. However, there is a certain type of ink, called plastisol ink, that can be used on textiles as well.   The material or framework for screen printing may have changed over the years, but the principles behind it remain the same. A stencil or screen with attached mesh is used. The photosensitive ink is passed through the open areas in mesh, allowing the design to appear on the material. A squeegee, made from flexible polyurethane or rubber, is attached to a wooden handle. This is used to pass the ink through the mesh evenly on the printing surface or substrate, except in those areas blocked by the stencil.   


Pre-press Screen Printing Practices 

Regardless of whether you’re printing logos and designs, adding neat effects, creating a clothing line or simply using silk screen printings as an expression of your art, there are certain considerations that must be kept in mind before beginning. These prepress procedures ensure that you manufacture the best product. In other words, before printing process takes place, the frame and screen needs to undergo a pre-press process.   


      * Prep Time 

For a hindrance free experience, it is always best to have everything you require already set up. Pre-press tasks are crucial for the overall printing job and involves all the operational tasks needed before screen printing. Various systems and products are used in pre-press rooms. Everything begins in the art room where film and output devices are there. From here, everything goes to posting art films on carrier sheets and pre-registration systems.   Find the kind of devices and 


      * screen printing machines 

required to do printing. Try and get your money’s worth, do not buy something that will not be used to its full potential or something that can is restricted in functionality. Ensure that you shop within your budget as well. Procure all your material and keep it ready before you begin. This way screen printing with prepress and post-press techniques will be effective.   


      * Darkroom 

For some reason, this is an extremely overlooked factor among amateur screen printers. A darkroom is crucial to the process and must have right humidity for the printing process to be successful. To do this, use a good quality humidity tester. The emulsion will not stick or dry if the humidity happens to be too high.   


      * Degreasing Mesh 

A degreasing mesh is only essential if, as a printer, you’re attempting to use subpar materials. There are quite a variety of economical and environment-friendly degreasers available that can save a lot of time and effort during the washout process.   Even though the degreaser allows the emulsion to adhere to the mesh, ensure that there is no overuse as this can pose a few issues. Different sizes of frames require a different number of sprays. Keep in mind that sides of the frame also need to be degreased as they contain just as many contaminants as the mesh itself.   


      * Framework 

If possible try to choose a static framework. When working under budget constraints, a wooden frame may seem inexpensive, but they tend to warp. Whereas, aluminium frames for screen printing machines are pricier to ship. Ensure that you avail a tension meter as well. A saggy screen can lead to image distortion or ink transfer issues. The mesh count for the frame is accurate depending on the design and the ink being used.   


Post-Press Screen Printing Process 

Compared to the prepress process of screen printing, the post-press process is simple and easy. Once your print has been made using a screen printing framework and the other tools, the main factor here is to allow the print to dry.  

  • Pull off the screen without smudging or ruining the design.
  • Ensure the humidity is at the right level so that the paint sticks and doesn’t distort the design.
  • Removing the ink makes removing stencil easier as well.
  • Stencil can be removed using a spray of water with emulsion removal chemicals like sodium metaperiodate.
  • Rinse away the solution with fresh water.
  • De-hazing is an important silk screen printing technique that removes every trace of the image.
  • This is done when ink has been trapped in the mesh and leaves behind a faint trace of design that needs to be removed.
  • Using too much of the haze remover can make the screen brittle and cause it to tear easily so be cautious before applying it.


If you keep in mind all the necessary precautions of screen printing techniques, its end product will be perfect. Make your products marketable with the proper use of machines!   Screen Printing Machines There are a variety of screen printing machines available depending on your needs, requirements and objectives.


Silk Screen Printing Machines 

Silk screen printing has progressed because of the development of new and improved technology and machines. Screen printing is a lucrative business because of the speed at which designs can be made with accuracy and proper finishing on products.   There are four basic types of screen printing machines:


     * Manual:


 As the name suggests manual labour is required but it is much easier these days with the rotary machines.  


     * Automatic:

Simply load the machine with your product, design and it does all for you.  

     * Jumbo:

Businesses use these machines to create large amounts of products with complicated or intricate designs on large canvases.   


Conclusion   

Quality of screen printing is very important; and for this, screen printing pre-process and post-process techniques need to be followed diligently. Along with this, the screen printing tools or elements need to be selected carefully. Hence, you must always choose professional screen printing services with experience.