Screen Print has been a popular print technique for many decades. In fact it first appeared in recognizable form in China during the Song Dynasty 960-1279 AD!
Traditionally screen print was done using silk screens although now most screens are made using synthetic threads such as nylon which is stretched in varying density between wooden or aluminium frames and tensioned.
To create a stencil the screens are coated in a light sensitive emulsion and allowed to dry before being exposed to a high intensity UV light whilst covered in an acetate bearing a stencil of your design. The stencil prevents the photosensitive emulsion on the screen from curing the area of your design. The rest of the screen cures making this area impermeable. Once the exposure is complete the screen is washed to remove the uncured emulsion which leaves the perfect stencil of your design.
A separate screen is required for each colour in the design. The screens are aligned so that when the ink is transferred to the garment the images and colours combine to create your complete design. To transfer the ink to the t-shirt the screens are pulled down until they are sitting just above the garment and a squeegee is pulled across the screen releasing ink through the open areas of the stencil and onto the shirt. This is repeated until all colours of the design have been printed.
Finally the T-shirts must be cured to ensure that the ink has bonded with the garment properly. Typically Plastisol inks need to reach a temperature of around 150-160 degrees Celsius in order for the chemical structure of the ink to change and bond securely to the garment. As the time/cost involved in 'setting up' the machine and artwork there is a minimum order of 50+ items per print position/design to make the process economically viable for you and us.
Check out the process in the video below.......