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What is Screenprinting?


Screenprinting process in action

Screenprinting is basically a stencilling process. Ink is transferred on to the surface that is being printed through a stencil. The stencil is held in position on a fine woven fabric mesh.

The material on which the print will be made is placed directly under the taut mesh. The ink is forced through the stencilled mesh by the use of a rubber or polyurethane ‘squeegee’.

The required artwork image is in negative form on the mesh. So, the ink passes through the open areas of the mesh, reproducing the image back in positive. This ensures that is it readable form once printed.

Single colour print process

Screenprinting is a single colour print process. Many colours can be printed in the design, but only one colour at a time can be printed. A print job of several colours requires the same sheet to be passed through the printing press the corresponding amount of times to the colours required, each time through its own stencil.

Each print colour is dried before the next colour can be applied. It is in the drying process that the durability of the print is made. Although screenprinting is a very simple process, it creates results that are impossible to create in any other way, and can only be mimicked by other processes.

As each chosen colour is specially mixed before printing. There are no colour matching or colour balance problems created in other processes. If a specific pantone, PMS, or spot colour is required, then screenprinting can hit the spot directly. The ink being printed is mixed before it goes onto the press, to the precise colour you choose.

As screenprinting is a ‘direct’ print process, the thickness of the ink layer laid down is much greater than with other processes. This thickness of ink film helps with opacity, durability and light fastness. Screenprinted inks will last much longer is harsh environments than ink printed by any other process. Ink used in the printing of self adhesive sticker PVC is actually a liquid PVC itself, and bonds to become part of the actual vinyl during drying.

To recap, screen print is the best process for printing long production runs of printed vinyl stickers, where colour matching, durability and a long outdoor life expectancy are required.