The t-shirt screen printing process involves the use of a stencil or pattern and woven mesh to transfer ink onto t-shirts in specific patterns. Read on to learn about how the process works, inks and other decorations that you can use in the process.
How it Works
T-shirt screen printing requires that you stretch a t-shirt over a frame. You put the screen over the substrate and ink is poured onto the screen. Next, you pull a mechanism called a fill bar over the screen, into fill the holes in the mesh with ink. To continue the t-shirt screen printing process, you’ll pull the t-shirt fabric on its frame, under the screen printing press. Next, you use the squeegee to push the ink through the press and onto the t-shirt fabric.
Expanding the Process
If you’re comfortable with the process, you may want to increase the challenge and use multiple layers (and/or colors) in your screen printing projects. To use a multiple-layer process, you’ll screen each color onto the t-shirt individually, creating a variety of layers.
Materials Used in Screen Printing
There are a variety of materials that you can use in t-shirt screen printing. You have a wide variety of inks that you can choose from in t-shirt screen printing projects. There’s expanding ink, which creates a 3-dimensional look and texture on your designs. You can use discharge ink to print on dark fabrics – these work by stripping the color from the fabric; Plastisol is another commonly-used ink. If you want your t-shirt screen printing projects to sparkle, you can use gloss ink, mirrored silver or metallic inks. A suede additive can be introduced to pastisol, to create a less-puffy but soft image and texture on the newly-screen printed t-shirt.
If you have a shirt that is made of waterproof fabric, you can use nylobond ink in order to screen print on the fabric. In addition to the inks, a variety of beads can be used in the screen printing process.
Types of Screen Printing Presses
There are multiple types of screen printing units. From the simple single-screen manual press, to a rotary screen printing machine, there are different ways to these screen printing presses. For example, to use a rotary screen printing machine for a t-shirt screen printing project, you wrap the screens in order to create a tube, where the ink and squeegee are inside the tube.