What is silk screening?

If you are at all familiar with the apparel printing industry, you have probably heard the term “silk screening” before and wondered how it varied from traditional “screen printing.” In fact there is no difference whatsoever. The term "silk screening" is synonymously used with today's version of screen printing. Silk screening is a term that was coined a long time to describe the screen printing process because in the early days of this printing technique the screens used were actually made of silk. The is no longer the case, however, and today’s screens are typically made with the mesh in the screens consisting of synthetic fibers that are much less expensive than silk and also much more abundant.

As it is used in today's terms, silk screening is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil pattern of a design or text. The stenciled design forms open areas of mesh that allow the ink to come through as a sharp-edged image. What this amounts to is that each color in the design get its own screen and then each screen is laid down on the shirts one at a time, thus creating designs.

As you can well imagine this means that the more colors in your design the more screens it will require to print. Logically the more screens required for the order the higher the cost associated with the order since it will then necessitate the use of more materials and labor. If cost is a primary factor in your order then you should consider keeping the number of ink colors in your design to a minimum, thereby using fewer screens and saving money.

The good news is that “silk screening” or “screen printing” is the industry standard for printing apparel and it is the highest quality print. It yields very professional, great looking designs that can be extremely intricate and detailed. Typically if you see a printed shirt being sold a retail store it has probably been screen printed, thus ordering screen printing shirts will yield shirts on par with professionally sold apparel in terms of quality. Screen printing is a great choice in a wide variety of circumstances and we are happy to offer this service to our customers.

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