Screen
printing

A very popular method for producing personalised garments, screen printing produces excellent quality, long-lasting results and is great value for large volume orders from 20 to 20,000.

It’s better suited to artwork with spot colours as opposed to photographs or full colour prints with gradients.

A separate screen is required for each colour in the design, so, the fewer colours in your design, the less it costs to print. When printing onto coloured garments a base layer is required to ensure the print is bright and vibrant.

Watch how screen printing is done

  • Screen printing process

    1. Pre-press process

    Once we have your artwork in a print ready format; the next step is to separate each colour in the design. This is done by printing each part of the design onto its own clear film using an inkjet or laser printer; registration marks are used to help line up the artwork on the press.

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  • Screen printing process

    2. Make the screens

    Once we have your artwork in a print ready format; the next step is to separate each colour in the design. This is done by printing each part of the design onto its own clear film using an inkjet or laser printer; registration marks are used to help line up the artwork on the press.

    View next step >
  • Screen printing process

    3. Setting up the press

    Then it’s time to make the screens; a screen printing frame consists of an aluminium frame with polyester mesh stretched over it.

    A stencil of your artwork is made by blocking parts of the screen in the negative space around your design by using a film or emulsion that is coated onto the screen. The frame and screen are put through a pre-press process in a dark room which hardens the light sensitive emulsion leaving behind a clean area in the mesh which is identical to your design.

    After the screen has been exposed, it is rinsed with water and the clean area of the mesh, without emulsion, which did not harden after exposure, rinses out leaving that area of the mesh open so you can print ink through it.

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  • Screen printing process

    4. Inks mixed

    Once the screens have had time to dry the screen and frame are lined with tape which prevents ink staining the screen and garments. The print screens are then set up onto the printing press which can be done for up to 10 colours.

    Then the screens are carefully aligned to the registration marks, so they print where they are supposed to and the edges are taped… now we’re ready to print

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  • Screen printing process

    5. Time to print!

    Once the press is ready the inks are mixed to make the desired colours for your design.

    We can match PANTONE PMS colours using most types of screen printing although it’s slightly trickier with discharge printing.

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  • Screen printing process

    6. Dry & pack

    Then, each garment is placed around a platen and a special spray adhesive is used to hold it in place. A squeegee is used to press the ink through the mesh screen onto the garment to print your design; a separate screen is required for each colour in the design.

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Different types of
screen printing

There are a number of different types of screen printing; at ICON we will always try to recommend the most suitable print method for your artwork.

The primary differences in screen printing are not found in the method but in the types of inks used and the effects that they produce. One of the most commonly used inks in screen printing is plastisol ink which uses spot colours; if your design is full colour or if you want to achieve a different feel a different print method might be more suitable. We will always recommend the most suitable print method once we’ve seen your artwork.

At ICON Printing we use 3 automatic and 2 manual flatbed screen printing machines capable of printing around 75,000 garments a week.

Plastisol is a suspension of PVC particles in a plasticizer (a chemincal additive that increases flexibility). It is cost effective and durable and produces bold and crisp results. The ink sits on top of the fabric producing meaning the print colours are bright and vibrant.

The inks can be easily matched to any Pantone PMS numbers.

Being water-based, these inks produce softer & more breathable print results than plastisol inks, as they offer more penetration of the fabric, but can only be used on white or light colour garments.

In this process a full colour photo or image is taken and broken down into its four consistent colours: cyan, magenta, yellow, black, which are then mixed in particular percentages to create a wide range of colours. This process works best on white garments as printing onto darker garments will require the use of additional colours.

This process requires us to send your artwork away in order to calculate the number of colours and screens required. We will also need to see your artwork in order to provide an accurate quotation. Note: We need to separate the colours in your artwork and a different screen will need to be used for each colour.

This process involves printing a single colour or multiple colours in gradients. It’s great when you want to produce the illusion of multicolour printing without the expense of actually doing it.

Again we need to see your artwork in order to provide an accurate quotation.

These process works by affecting the dyes that already exist in a garment by bleaching it out and replacing it with your chosen colours. Discharge inks produce crisp results that feel much softer than plastisol printing. The downside is that it’s harder to match Pantone PMS colours.

Garment
finishing

Re-labelling

We can produce and stitch in branded labels or tags whether it's in the collar, sleeve or base.


Swing tags

Apply swing tags to your garments, perfect for retail.


Bagging service

Use sealed polybags to protect your garments before they are handed out or sold.


Designing for
screen printing

Design considersations

This list of guidelines will save you time and money as you make your design decisions.

Sticking to spot colours rather than gradients; spot colour images will save you money as fewer screens will be required and the print cost will be less.

Cost considerations

A separate screen is required for each colour in your design. Therefore, the more colours in your design the higher the set up and ink costs will be.

The more print positions there are in your design the more it will cost e.g. it is cheaper to print just the front, rather than both the front & back of a garment.

Use consistent colours in your file to save extra set up & ink costs i.e. use the same shade of blue for all blue areas.

Colours:

Spot Colours

Pantone colour matching:

Yes

Artwork type:

Vector graphics

File formats:

.ai, .eps, .pdf

Convert all strokes to paths or outline any strokes before submitting artwork.

Convert all text to outlines in case we don’t have the font that you used on file.

Ensure artwork is at least 100% of the intended printed area.

Gradients will print as halftones.

We can print up to 5mm from the seams and no higher than the bottom of the collar.

We are unable to print wrap around designs that go over the side seams. However some styles of t-shirt do not have side seams and these can be print wrapped for example Gildan Softsyle t-shirts.

The minimum line weight for clear, crisp printing can vary; the typical minimum line width is 4mm.

Decide on a spot colour using the PANTONE Matching System (PMS) reference.

Pricing

Quantity 1st colour Cost p/add colour i
 
20 £1.80 £0.30
50 £1.30 £0.35
100 £0.90 £0.20
250 £0.68 £0.10
500 £0.65 £0.03
1000 £0.59 £0.02
2500 £0.55 £0.01
5000 £0.49 £0.01

Excludes one off screen cost (£25 per colour)
A flash base layer (£15) is also required if printing onto coloured garments.

All prices exclude cost of garments, delivery & VAT.

Minimum order quantity

20 items per design

Screen & set up costs

£25.00 per screen each colour in your design requires a seperate screen

Flash base cost

£15.00 per base layer required when printing onto coloured garments

Colour change fee

£15.00 per colour change

Sampling cost

£50.00 plus the one off screen & set up costs

Artwork Service

£50.00 p/hour

We keep your screens for up to 6 months.