Screen Printing Basics: What You Need to Know to Get Started
in Permaset Blog22 Sep 2016 | 0 Comments
Welcome to Screen Printing 101, in which we take you through the screen printing basics! This process is useful for those new to screen printing and includes some useful tips to help get the perfect result.
Choosing and prepping the right screen
First you’ll need a screen made up with your design. The size mesh you choose for your screen will depend on what type of press you have, the type of ink you’re using and the level of detail in your design. The higher the detail, the finer the mesh. A light-sensitive emulsion is applied to the screen and left to dry. Next, your design is printed onto a transparent film and placed over this emulsion. When exposed to light, the exposed emulsion cures, while the uncured areas of your design can be washed out of the screen, leaving open mesh.
Setting up your press
We’ve seen exceptional results from $5,000 printing presses and we’ve seen great results from a $100 homemade frame too. The devil is in the detail. Selecting the right equipment including screens, squeegees and your printing press can help to keep fabric or material in place for an accurate print. Tape and table adhesive can also be your friend in ensuring a straight and sturdy base to print on, particularly with items of clothing.
Selecting your inks
While plastisol screen printing inks have been all the rage for many years, there are now vibrant, more environmentally friendly options. In particular our Permaset Aqua range for fabric and Permaprint Premium range for papers and plastics offer smooth coverage and colour opacity thanks to our special polymer technology. Easy clean up and safe handling makes water based screen printing inks ideal for a professional set up looking to minimise their footprint.
The final print
Here’s the fun and dramatic part. You’ll use your squeegee to initially flood the screen with ink, and then stroke the ink across with even force to squeeze it through the screen and onto the material below. While some printers pull the squeegee and ink towards them, others will use a push technique. This will depend on the consistency of your ink and the mesh size you’re working with, and it’s worth experimenting to find what works for you and your design. From here you can add any further print layers, admire the result and cure your design by air or by drying equipment.
If you have any questions about our screen printing basics or about the Permaset screen printing range, get in touch with the team. We’d be happy to help find the right inks, colours and colour matching products for your needs.