image of ink in screen printing tray - federal way, fife, des moines, WA

Screen Printing

I’m In Stitches offers custom screen printed t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, aprons, team jerseys, and more.

Screen printing, a.k.a. “silk screening,” is often the most economical option to help your organization make a big impression. screen print inks - Portland, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Oregon Most customers are looking for some of the most universal apparel items around — screen printed t-shirts and screen printed hoodies, which are inexpensive to start.  Then add the fact that the screen printing process is essentially setting up a little factory for your own shirts.  The fixed costs, which are set-up charges and any charge for conversion of artwork are spread over the entire run.  In sufficient quantities, pricing for screen printed t-shirts, even with multiple colors, can approach a mere $6 per shirt!

Pricing for screen printing on a garment is the same regardless of the size of the image.  So while the full back side of a screen printed shirt might cost anywhere from $1-$5 to print, depending on the number of colors and the quantity of shirts, embroidering the same design might cost $60-200 due to the time required to embroider each stitch into the garment.  So screen printing is a pretty great deal considering the image size you get.

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We offer:

Spot Color Screen Printing (up to 6 colors)

image of spot sreen printed tshirt - Seattle, Lakewood, WA

Spot screen printing what most people think of when they think of screen printing.  The key way to understand it is to see that individual colors in the design stand alone within a more or less contiguous area.  Each color gets a separate screen.  Note that while you can see green, yellow, and black print on a red background in the nearby design, this is actually a four color design because there is a white base under the green and yellow to make them more vibrant.  We can print up to six color designs with spot screen printing.  If you need more than six colors in a spot printed design, it may be possible to achieve that by using some half-tones.

Half-Tone Screen Printingimage of screen printed design using half tone grays - Seattle

If you are on tight budget or just want to try to achieve an interesting effect, half tone screen printing can be your ally.  Half tone screen printing is spot screen printing, but uses gradients of at least one color to achieve different color shadings.  The nearby black and white design was printed using one screen with black ink.  Note how multiple different shades of gray are achieved by creatively limiting how much black ink gets through the screen to the shirt.

Oversized PrintingPhoto of screen printed tshirt with oversized print watermark

Oversize printing makes use of an oversized screen and pallet on a manual press.  An oversized screen and pallet can be used to create a larger print area that goes beyond the torso up into the neck, shoulder, and sleeve of the garment.  A stand-alone image is one option.  But the way we have liked it used most is to create a “watermark” effect on a garment, which is then also printed with standard screens.

 

4 Color Process Screen Printing

image of four color process screen printed tshirt - Portland

When you have multiple color gradients happening within a design — as you would have with, say, a color photograph — you should probably be looking for four color process screen printing.  Note that it is not just the gradients of the tan and blue that had to be matched, but also the light glare effect fromthe condensation bubbles in the design.  When the art gets this complex, it becomes necesary to let specialized software interpolate the color scheme.  The software creates the color separation films, then we work with the screens to manually match the colors by blending translucent cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks together.  Because the inks are translucent, true four color process printing works best on white garments.

Simulated Process Screen Printing

simulated process screen printed t-shirt

When you have a design with extraordinary detail but you really want dark t-shirts or sweatshirts, simulated process screen printing can be the way to go.  Simulated process printing uses a similiar computerized color separation technique as four color process printing, but it differs in two ways.  First, a white base is printed beneath the design.  Second, instead of blending the translucent cyan, magenta, yellow, and black process inks together to achieve color shadings, the process uses opaque inks and half tones to achieve an outcome that resembles process printing.

Water-Based Screen Printing

Water-based screen printing is fast becoming the rage as the newest, best thing in screen printing.  In fact, it is the original method of screen printing fabrics, long before plastisol (oil-based) inks were introduced and became so common.  Water-based screen printing has some nice advantages over plastisol:

  • You get a soft feel because the ink soaks into the fabric and dyes the fabric itself, instead of resting on top of the fabric.
  • You can achieve a matte or even “faded” look right off of the press.
  • It is a more environmentally friendly method of screen printing.

It does come with some caveats for the consumer.  It does not work well with cheap grade cotton tees.  The consumer has to want higher quality ring-spun cotton or blended fabric t-shirts.  The printing process itself requires some environmental controls to properly set up the screens.  All of that means that the consumer needs to be prepared to spend more per shirt.

 

Contact us to initiate your inquiry today!