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T-shirt screen printing

T-shirt screen printing

Screen printing is a technique that has been used for quite some time now. It uses a mesh in order to transfer the ink on a certain surface. Of course, as technology has evolved through the years, so has screen printing. It’s used for a variety of things but it has a particularly good application in fashion. T-shirts screen printing is one of the most common techniques to impose a certain image on the piece of clothing. Another thing to be considered is that screen printing is generally quiet economical and this is why it’s constantly growing in terms of popularity.

History of screen printing

Screen printing was first introduced in China back in when the Song Dynasty ruled the country. It would later be used by other countries from Asia such as Japan. It wasn’t until the late 18th century when this technique was introduced in Europe but it didn’t get very popular due to the fact that mesh was in shortage. However, once it started to get easy to actually obtain the mesh, printing became rather widely used. Right now, every designing studio uses these techniques to impose different images on their tee shirt.

The process of T-shirt screen printing

In order to get the right tees print you would first have to decide which design you want to use. You have to make sure that the design is entirely black and white. Right afterwards you would have to coat the screen itself with emulsion by taking advantage of the scoop coater. The next step involves using the halogen lights after they’ve reached their maximum capacity. After you are through with burning the screen you have to clean the emulsion because it would have gotten harder if the light has touched it. After this you would have to line up the T-shirts underneath the screen.

Make sure that you have placed the image on the place that you want it to cover. Taping off the screen ensures that it will stand perfectly still while you are flooding the screen with ink. Once you have done this you want to pull the screen off, lift it and repeat the entire thing. This is done so the ink covers the tee shirt adequately. The last thing you want to do is to clean the whole thing up and enjoy your screen print.

What you need for screen printing

Now, there are a lot of different materials that could be used for tees printing. This is due to the variety of fabrics used for the creation of the shirt. Some specific fabrics require different types of inks do be use.

  • Cracking ink – this is a specific ink which would produce a natural effect as if the surface is cracked.
  • Caviar beads – this is a glue which is going to be printed in specific tees design, and afterwards small beads are placed upon it to further ornament the T-shirts.
  • Flocking – this ensures a velvet touch by applying flocking glue which is printed on the fabric.
  • Foil – this is very similar to the flocking effect but instead of applying a velvet touch you would attach a reflecting material.

The usage of a screen printing press

As technology progresses, so does tee shirt screen printing. Nothing is done manually nowadays and there are machines for basically everything. With this being said, there are various printing presses which would allow you to take full advantage of their utilities. You can print a variety of designs at the same time and you can print on more than one shirt. This makes it very convenient for both amateur and professional designers. The complexity of technology varies and you can find both very simple models and incredibly sophisticated ones specifically intended for industrial screen printing.

Advantages and disadvantages of screen printing

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages and so does the screen printing process. It’s important to note that this is only one of the alternatives that you can use if you want to impose an image on to some sort of a surface and if you feel like this is not the way to go, you can always switch. However, here are some of the advantages and the disadvantages of the screen printing process.


  • It doesn’t cost much – the fact is that screen printing is one of the most affordable ways to print an image on your clothing. Also, that’s the reason for which it’s so widely used.
  • Printing of high quality – you can enjoy properly printed images
  • It looks professional
  • It’s easier to print larger designs and its capable of delivering larger orders.


  • The entire set up is hard to do
  • The finishing step of the process is rather complicated
  • Image details may sometime show up rather blurry

Screen printing vs. Digital printing

As we explained before, screen printing is not the only option for you to go and there are other alternatives. The next most common technology is called digital printing and it is considered to be a lot less complicated than screen printing. It involves the usage of a specific printer and a computer. All you have to do is to download the design form the internet or to generate it yourself, send the design to the printing device and adjust the shirt. Afterwards you basically just push the start button and enjoy your print. However, there are certain things that are less effective than screen printing. For instance digital printing won’t be able to produce larger quantities as effectively as screen printing. The printer setup is going to limit the overall printing area and you can only print on fabric, in the most cases.

All in all, printing images on shirts is considered incredibly fashionable and almost all of the greatest designers are going to do so. It’s a nice alternative to embroidery and an option to impose high quality and interesting designs on the shirt. This is definitely going to make it more stylish.

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