The Process: Screen Printing





Like most things screen printing starts with you and your idea. The possibilities are nearly endless. You can start with an idea and bring it to life in our Design Builder or you can get inspired by all of the awesome clip art that we have available for you. We can use designs that you've already created. Take a look at our Artwork Checklist to see if your designs are ready for print. 


 vector and non vector images

Now that the creative juices are flowing it's time to process the art work. Common image files are raster. Typically we like to use vector images. They produce nice, clean edged prints. Raster works fine for some designs. If you use our Design Builder the designs will be good to go. If you have any questions about art work you've created your self (hand drawn, pictures, etc) let us know and we'll get it done for you.

Vector images are made of paths (lines) and anchors (nodes) instead of pixels. If you've ever zoomed in on a a digital photo youve probably noticed that as you do it gets blurry (pixelated). With vector files there is no blurriness. No matter how much you zoom in it will always have clean edges. Taking a .jpeg or any other image files and saving it as a .pdf, .ai, or .svg vector file does not make it a vector file. It needs to be redrawn or converted by one of our designers for it to become a vector file.



 The process of making films to washing out screens for the printing process.

Once our team of artists gets the design ready it's time to start preparing for production. The artwork gets printed onto a transparent film. That film is then placed between a light and a screen (don't look at it, it might hurt your eyes). The screen is coated with a photo-sensitive emulsion. The light hardens the emulsion but leaves the area with the design soft. The screen gets a quick bath and PRESTO! We have a stencil ready for the next step.

This process is repeated as many times as the amount of colors in the design. 1 color = 1 screen, 2 colors= 2 screens, etc. Up to twelve screens.


 Screenprints, plastisol ink, and the dryer oven.

Alright, now it's on to the production phase. Our print masters (a.k.a. masters of print) take the screens and give them to a robot with a bunch of arms. They make some adjustments to make sure the colors are printed exactly where the should be.

With everything locked in, the print masters and robots start pumping out the shirts (or whatever it may be that they are printing on). We use plastisol ink because it's super durable and the prints look awesome.

Once the design gets printed onto the shirt the human puts the shirts through an oven at 360° (not for baking cookies) because in order for the ink to dry heat must be applied.



Lastly, quality control (they're humans not robots) checks the shirts to make sure everything is satisfactory. If their keen eyes say "It's okay!", we ship it out to you!