What is Custom screen-printing?
- Screen-printing is a very simple process of forcing ink through mesh screen that contains a stencil of the design onto the substrate. The ink only passes through the part of the screen that is not blocked off by our emulsion.
- Screen-printing is an easy and affordable way to mass produce apparel and other flat goods for teams, clubs, organizations, or other groups.
- We can print onto almost any kind of apparel item or soft good like bags or fabric.
- This is a great way to create a long-lasting, affordable item for use as promotional, retail or uniformed items!
We can print your custom designs and logos using up to 8 individual spot colors on our fully automatic presses. We utilize many special effects like Metallics, Glitters, Process-Color, Soft-Hand, Puff, High-Density & more! Ask us about our new Water-Based and Plasti-charge options for a very soft print!
We process all of our art, separations, and screens in-house in order to give us the best control and quality for our printing.
Standard Plastisol Ink Printing
Plastisol is your standard screen printing ink. Sitting on top of the garment as opposed to embedded into the fabric, plastisol will give you the brightest possible print and it’s what you will find from most print shops. Plastisol is a suspension of PVC particles in a plasticizer and can be printed on virtually any surface that can be heat cured to 300°-350° and is porous enough to permit good ink penetration and adhesion. If the item isn’t porous, like in the case of a nylon windbreaker, we can add a bonding agent to help the ink stay on the garment. Plastisol inks do not color the fibers like a dye. Instead, the ink adheres to the fabric when printed and heated, forming a bond with the material. You can add a handful of additives to plastisol to make it work in different ways, so the applications are very versatile.
Pros: Plastisol will work on almost every type of garment, providing the brightest/highest-opacity prints. We can manipulate it in many different ways with different additives to achieve numerous special effects. It is the easiest to use and comes in many stock colors, as well as hundreds of mixable colors. Plastisol does not dry out in the air and can be used all day long without any trouble. Works great on cotton, cotton/polyester, and nylon with minimal additives.
Cons: Plastisol printing is usually the heaviest of all print types that we offer. The ink has a tendency to become very heavy and vinyl-like, the more ink that is used on the garment. Any garment printed with plastisol needs to be able to resist curing temperatures of at least 320° without special additives.
Plasti-Charge Plastisol Ink Printing
Plasti-Charge ink is a new technology of printing that allows us to mix a special “discharge” base to any of our standard plastisol inks. When this ink is cured, the discharge base removes the dye in the fabric, leaving only the color of the plastisol left over. Once this garment is washed, it becomes much softer to the touch than the standard way of printing plastisol.
Pros: Plasti-charge allows us to print a bright color onto dark material without the build-up of ink that regular plastisol gives us. When cured and washed, the ink remains a matte finish, as opposed to the glossiness of standard plastisol inks. This ink feels more like water-based inks.
Cons: Plasti-charge will dry and harden when exposed to air, so it is much harder to print than standard plastisol and must be mixed in small batches to limit waste. It only has a shelf life of about 6-8 hours. The plasti-charge ink uses different chemicals for cleanup from our standard inks so it costs more to clean up and reclaim our screens. This type of ink only discharges color on cotton fabrics so apparel that is 80-100% cotton is highly recommended.
Water-Based Ink Printing
Water-based inks have been around for some time now but are slowly starting to get more and more popular, as well as easier to print. These inks provide the softest, no hand type of printing we offer. Water-based inks can be mixed into many of the Pantone® Mixing Sytem Colors fairly easily but are the least opaque. These are recommended for lighter color fabrics due to the transparent value. These also work well for ‘Vintage’ or ‘Distressed’ types of designs because they can help achieve a softer worn look.
Pros: These are the softest inks we use without sacrificing color brightness on lighter colored fabrics. These colors print very easily through our finest mesh screens which gives us the ability to print very high detailed artwork on apparel. These inks will print on cotton and cotton/polyester blends.
Cons: Water-based inks will also dry and harden when exposed to air, so more care must be taken during the printing process to keep the inks wet on the screens. Screen preparation/reclamation is complicated by the use of emulsion hardening chemicals to prevent the inks from breaking down the standard emulsion. When used on dark garments, we still must use a base coat of opaque white in order to keep these inks bright, which builds up more ink and much of the softness of these inks is lost in this type of printing.