Screen printing may be the most versatile printing process known today
The process can be used to print images on many different materials such as fabric, paper, plastic, glass, metal, and many more. You probably have a poster, label, decal, tee-shirt or other product in your home that was created using the screen printing process.
Screen printing allows the amount of ink applied to the substrate, or material that receives the ink or pigment, can be accurately controlled. This provides the printer the ability to create some very interesting patterns, designs and graphic effects. The process of screen printing is simple and allows a wide spectrum of inks and dyes to be used when creating screen printed products and art.
There are three main elements to the screen printing process. These are the screen which is the carrier of the image, the squeegee and the ink.
A porous mesh is stretched tightly over a frame of wood or metal to produce the screen printing image. The proper tension must be maintained on this mesh to ensure the color comes through properly. Some meshes used as made of various types of fabric and some are made from stainless steel. On this mesh, a stencil is created either using manual art skills or using a photochemical process. This stencil determined the image that will be printed.
Screen printing ink is then applied to the substrate by placing the screen over the material and adding ink that is about as thick as paint to the top of the screen. The ink is then pressed through the fine mesh using a squeegee. The finesse of the mesh determines how much pigment will be placed on the substrate.
After the image has been transferred to the substrate using the screen printing process, the image is then dried in a drying oven or an ultraviolet curing system. After the pigment has completely dried, the image is permanent and will not readily be removed from the substrate.
Hobby crafts can produce screen printing products at home using kits that can easily purchased. Using your own creativity, you can have that tee-shirt or other product that is yours and yours alone. However, commercially viable screen printing businesses produce thousands of products daily. The use of mechanization technology has made screen printing affordable and easy to mass produce. For more information, key word search screen printing as a business and you’ll discover you can get into a business worth owning!
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