Screen printing has been around forever. Some form of screen printing dates back to 4,000 years or so. It is by far the most popular way to print an image on a shirt or other garment type. It’s also the most cost-effective. With modern advances in the areas of technology and ink chemistry, the craft of screen printing now allows customers to be more creative than ever before.
A few things to know before considering screen printing as your print option.
- Due to the amount time and expense required to produce a screen printed product, it is most cost effective to order quantity. Our minimum order quantity is 10 pieces. All 10 must use the same design. General rule of thumb is that order quantity will drive down the price per shirt in most cases. Please see our Pricing link for details on package deals.
- We do not offer sample shirts. A sample shirt is a single screen printed shirt used for the purpose of evaluating the print shop’s craftsmanship. We do have shirts that we’ve printed in house that we offer for sale in our shop. Feel free to stop by and take a peak at our work.
- We do not do contract printing.
- We generally do not accept shirts that have been purchased outside of our shop for print jobs. We work with several of the largest apparel distributors in the country and have access to tens of thousands of different brands, styles, and sizes. Vendors can also advise how their particular material will react to certain inks. Should you need to see what is available before placing an order, please contact us. We’ll be more than happy to help you select the right product.
- We do offer custom color-mixing in-house to help create colors to match your design. If using Pantone colors, please let us know the Pantone formula number so that we can mix your color to exact specifications. There will be a small fee of 5.00 added to the order for this service.
Before we rush off to the press to print, a few basic guidelines must be followed in the area of artwork:
- Files must be in a vector format or high-resolution (minimum of 300 DPI) prior to printing. We require a nice, clean image to print a nice clean image. Ever take a picture on the net and zoom in on it? You’ll notice pixelation around the edges. That doesn’t translate well in the world of printing. Programs like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, or Corel Draw can provide the file output required to have a good looking print.
- Don’t fret. If you don’t have a fancy graphic design program, we can help! For a small artwork fee, we can convert your image to press-ready. It does require time and effort to perform this task.
- We accept the following file types: PSD, .AI, .JPEG, .EPS, .PDF, .TIFF. We prefer .AI or .EPS files first as vector images can be scaled-up without affecting image quality. Next, we prefer .PSD, .PDF, .TIFF. And finally, .JPG last.
- Remember that the amount of colors in an image translate to a screen. If you have 6 colors, in most cases, it will require 6 screens. If you submit artwork that has 20 colors in it, we’ll have to work with you to combine like-colors, etc. so that we have a cost-effective print that looks awesome.
- If you do not have artwork, we can help! We have a full suite of graphic design programs and can help you with things like logos, shirt ideas, etc. See our Graphic Design page for more info.
There are several different types of ink to consider when printing. There are inks to give your shirt a nice pop of color and inks designed to give your shirt a “soft-hand” (can’t feel the ink at all). Then there are speciality inks and printing methods such as metallics, bases to give your print texture, glow in the dark ink, and others to add a special effect to the print.
The king of all ink types. Plastisol is used to give your shirt a nice, bright pop of color. Whites are very opaque, colors are vivid. This is the most standard ink type used. Plastisol has a slight feel to it when running your hand across the shirt as the ink actually sits on top of the shirt surface. This type of ink is typically used on 100% cotton tees. Almost everyone on this planet has worn a shirt printed with plastisol ink.
WATER BASED INK
Water-based ink is different from plastisol ink in that it isn’t as the colors aren’t typically as bright after print. However with water-based ink, the trade-off is that the print has a soft-hand to it, meaning you don’t typically feel the ink. This is because rather than printing on the shirt surface, the ink is absorbed by the cotton fibers of the shirt. Water-based ink can be used on 100% cotton shirts as well as blends. With blends, the ink typically has a vintage, washed-out look to it.
Discharge printing entails using a process that uses a method to dye the shirt rather than printing on top of it. With discharge printing, you don’t feel the ink at all. Discharge printing results can vary due to the complex nature of this printing style. Things like shirt color, ink color, and shirt material can all impact the end result. With discharge, we can’t always guarantee that the printed result will always match the designed image due to all of the factors that go into the process. It will be pretty awesome though.
Need a flashy shirt? Glitter and foil printing will no doubt do this! Glitter printing is just that, using glitter in the ink base to give your shirt a nice shimmer. Many different glitter colors are available. Foil is slightly different in that the foil is actually applied to a screen printed adhesive, then heat pressed to achieve the final effect. Like glitter, a wide range of foil colors are available. All have a metallic appearance. Our shop carries a full line of foil samples should you like to stop by and see what we have available!
Special Effect Ink
We love this type of ink. You can really take your design to the next level with special effects ink. There are inks that use a metallic pigment such as gold and silver, inks that glow in the dark, inks that can give your design a 3D effect, and even some bases that can be added to an ink color to give it a suede or leather-like feel. With special effect ink, you can really push the boundaries of screen printing. Our shop carries a wide variety of ink and bases to help you get funky with you print!