Traditional screen printing, or serigraphy, is essentially the process of applying ink through a stencil.
The 'screens' are a fine-mesh that’s stretched over a rectangular frame and coated in light-sensitive emulsion. The design is split into colours, with each colour printed onto transparent film and exposed onto a separate screen. Exposing the screen makes a stencil of the design, only allowing ink to pass through the exposed design.
A screen is then placed onto the print surface, and ink is pressed through the mesh, forming the print. This process is repeated for each additional colour, with the use of a high-temperature flash in-between.
After the print is applied in each colour, the item is placed through a heat tunnel to cure and dry the ink onto the garment.
Imagine for a second that the mesh stencil is a flour sifter, and you’ve glued over some of the holes in the sifter, so that flour only comes out of certain holes, this is exactly the same principle for traditional silk screen printing.
This method is used commercially to print paper, fabric, garments, glass, ceramics, and also superfine computer components like circuit boards.
Prices vary greatly depending on the garment you're printing on, the number of print locations, and the colours involved. For 20 one-colour, one-print location screen prints on AS Colour Staples, you can expect to pay $17.20 each, however the price drops a lot if the order is bigger, down to $9.90 each if the order is over 250 in quantity. These prices are for both the garment and the screen printing, and we also offer a BYO service if you have specific garments you'd like to print on.
Screen printing is really great for block colours and certain illustrative styles, colour accuracy and bold shapes. To get the most from screen printing, we recommend that customers:
Supply a vector image with ideally 6 colours or less (vector images are completely scalable and transfer to screen printing best)
Convert all vector images to outlines
Specify all colours as PMS spot colours for accuracy
Buy more and save up to 55% off!See an example of our volume discounts below for a 1-colour screen print on an AS Colour Staple (including GST):
Print quality, feel and durability
Screen prints provide bold, retail-quality colours, and the detail is super crisp. The print itself sits just on top of the garment (depending on the ink), and is mostly soft to touch.
The prints will age well beyond the life of the garment as long as they're cared for and washed appropriately:
Cold wash on delicate settings
Wash garments inside-out
Air-dry out of direct sunlight
Do not iron over print (only iron on the reverse if you must)