Screen Printing: How to Choose Your Screen for the Next Design

Screen Printing: How to Choose Your Screen for the Next Design

Screen printing is considered an art form that can be carried out by anyone. The materials are easy to find and affordable; simply go to a crafts store or use the internet to locate a starter kit that contains all the guidelines and supplies you need to start printing. And the process is simple and straightforward; follow these few steps from the teesnow website, give the ink time to cure, and you will have a complete print. But before you unknowingly buy an indiscriminate starter kit, always remember that there is one fact about printing that can either make or mar your design.

The mesh or screen printing screen is widely recognized as the most important product in the screen printing process. Selecting the proper screen will determine the end result – whether you are layering background colors, rendering fine details, or printing on different kinds of materials, all printing projects need ink passing through the screen in order to design the print. It is important to choose the appropriate fabrication and gauge for your design, otherwise, your design could be distorted.

Screen printing screens are available in an array of fabrications. The most popular screen types are made from either metal or plastic. Plastic screens, made from mono-filament polyester, low elongation polyester, vinyl or nylon are generally affordable and are found at several online and craft stores. Due to their flexible nature, plastic screens can be tightened and readjusted within the printing frame. Plastic is also a resilient, sturdy material that can withstand heavy use.

On the other hand, metal printing screens have now become a formidable option in the industry. Several metal meshes are made from Stainless Steel, which is extremely durable over time, making it a more affordable option. In addition, stainless steel screens have a stable structure or shape compared to plastic, since it is a tougher material from the onset. Also, it can resist the stresses of printing, but will also rinse more efficiently and not resist ink over time. With plastic, once the fibers begin to distort, they will absorb more ink with each print.

Regardless of the fabrication you choose, both metal screens and plastic are available in a wide variety of gauges. This apertures, or size of the screen openings, will depend on the length of the weave. In other words, the length of the aperture is proportional to the width of the weave. This is essential because smaller gauged screens will allow less ink to enter its openings. As a rule, for wider backgrounds or larger shapes, a larger gauge is the most appropriate option since there is less information being printed. For delicate detail work, lettering, and smaller shapes, a finer gauge is preferred.

Because the manufacturing process has mastered the production of screens (plastic and Stainless Steel), it is now easier to create high-grade prints. While most starter kits usually come with a screen, I suggest that you research the different types of screens for the designs you intend to create. With this, you wouldn’t have to pay heavily to acquire high-grade screens.