Printing is a process of creating images and text, usually utilizing ink, paper and a printing press. Over time, printing technology has improved significantly. Various techniques are available, but screen-printing is used most of the time.
Screen-printing, or silk-screening, is a process ideally used on fairly flat surfaces. In this procedure, a fine mesh screen is secured snugly across a sturdy frame, with the screen masking the region which remains unprinted. To make the print, the screen is positioned atop the material along with a swath of dense ink. Using a squeegee tool, the ink is pushed through the screen part. The ink soaks into the region that is not masked, forming the print, while the masking keeps any ink from making contact, resulting in distinguished areas. Next the printed material goes through a hot passageway until the ink dries and it is ready to be packed up.
For more than one color, this procedure is repeated with additional screens. For example, a print of four colors will be created with four different screens; this is either done on a rotary press or by hand to ensure that the screens are aligned correctly on the image.
There are many different methods for masking a screen. For simple projects, a masking fluid may be applied directly on the screen. Two-color graphics work best with this method; more complex multi-colored jobs will look better with a photosensitive emulsion process.
Screen-printed T-shirts using plastic inks are often stiflingly hot if you aren’t sure of what you’re getting as you order. For more subdued and vintage-looking screen-printed apparel, inks with a water base might be preferable. For a bold and heavy printing, application of plastic-based inks using heat might be a wise choice.
Inks containing plastics are used by many screen printers because often they last longer, are richer, heavier and more easily seen, not to mention being easier on the screen printing equipment. Within a short time frame, plastic inks can begin to crack up, though. Natural inks last longer and they look better too.