What is screen printing?
It is a printing technique that uses a cloth screen to transfer ink to certain areas of the material that we want to print. The screen used consists of a mesh stretched within a frame, which has been previously treated with a varnish that blocks the passage of ink in the areas that do not make up the image, and allows the corresponding areas to be painted. The ink is forced through the mesh with the help of a rubber squeegee.
Screen printing is one of the oldest printing techniques, which has improved with technical advances in the chemistry of the emulsions and inks used. Although the process of preparing the screen, as well as that of drying the ink, usually takes a little time, it is still one of the most used techniques since it allows printing on a wide variety of materials. Additionally, the screen can be used to print a large number of items with the same image, making it suitable for medium to large print runs.
Screen preparation for screen printing requires prior knowledge in handling photosensitive emulsions and special inks. But currently there are many tools that facilitate the performance of this technique.
Screen printing allows you to print images of various colors. For this, a screen must be prepared for each color, and then they are printed successively on the material, respecting the drying times of the ink.
Advantages of digital printing
- It allows printing in vivid colors, using a wide variety of special inks to achieve different effects and finishes.
- It is a simple printing technique, once the preparation is done, the process is mechanical.
- It can be printed on almost any material, such as textiles, metal, wood, paper, plastic, and many more.
- It is special for printing medium or large runs.
- The meshes can be saved to be reused in future prints, or cleaned with a screen reclaimer to recycle and use with other designs.
Technology and tools necessary for Serigraphy
- Computer to process the images.
- Photolithic paper on which the design is printed.
- Screen printing to make the screen printing matrix.
- Photosensitive emulsion that will be used to transfer the design to the screen during the development process.
- Items to customize.
- Rubber scraper.
Each of these stages can be done in different ways, depending on the item we want to print, the details and colors of the design, the inks or the printing materials. In general, the procedure can be summarized as follows:
1.-Photolith preparation: We select the image or design and print it on a black template on the photolith. In case it is in color, the color separation process must be carried out with the help of specialized software, and then a black template will be made for each color.
2.-Screen selection: The screen size is selected according to the item to be printed. In addition, the yarn weft must be chosen correctly. At a higher level of detail, a screen with a higher number of threads per cm2 is required.
3.-Screen Preparation: In a room that is lit by red or yellow light, apply the photoreactive emulsion to both sides of the screen and allow it to dry. It is important that the screen does not receive natural light or white light from a bulb or fluorescent at any time.
4.-Insolation and development: We place the photolith on the screen, making sure that it is fixed. The screen must then be exposed to light to develop. To achieve better image quality, it is important to respect the recommended exposure time. Once the development is finished, and again working in the dark room, the screen is washed with water to remove all the emulsion that was not exposed to light.
5.-Stamping: The screen is placed in a press on the article to be printed, and the ink is applied on it. We spread the ink with the help of a squeegee, making uniform movements and applying a little pressure. In the case of a multi-color image, we will carry out this process for each color.
6.-Drying: To improve the durability and fixation of the image, it is recommended to perform a heat drying. There are several ways to do it, for example with a drying tunnel.
What products can I customize?
Due to the great diversity of options in terms of how to carry out the screen printing technique and the different types of emulsions and inks that can be used, there is a wide variety of materials on which it can be printed.
It is a suitable method for printing on a flat surface that can be metal, fabric, glass, plastics, ceramics, paper, cardboard, wood, latex and many more. We can customize keychains, thermos, cups, plastic or cloth bags, t-shirts, containers, cards, games and toys, etc.
At Sublimet we have everything you need to personalize your advertising or decorative items through Screen printing. We have a wide variety of additives and inks based on water and plastisol, also accessories and tools, as well as screens of different screens and sizes.