This happens to be the old school type of printing. Some legends in printing respect it as the “true” printing because this was the mother of all printing having been started over 2000 years ago in China.
The Screen printing process
According to Wikipedia, it is a stencil method of printing in which a design is imposed on a polyester or woven mesh with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance. A squeegee or rubber blade is moved across the screen stencil forcing ink through the mesh openings onto the print surface. Screen printing has to be done on a flat surface as this method is very versatile, and the area your are printing on should not be under pressure. As an option one may choose whether or not to heat press the print to ensure it lasts longer on the tee.
Screen printing pricing in Cape Town
For prices to screen print your t-shirts, it is important to note that the printing company/ the printer uses his own screen, which is a square frame, usually wooden, and then you pay a once off fee for the positive, which is around R50 to R 70 per color, and this positive belongs to you in case you want to print the same image with the same printer or some where else. A positive is only for one color hence the more the colors a design has, the more the positives needed for a print job. The other once off charge is for “shooting” the positive to the screen and this is usually around R150 to R300. This shooting is just setting up the image for printing. Then for printing t-shirts the prices for an A4 ranges from R35 to R50 per colour per print, therefore, this type of printing is the most economic for printing larger quantities of t-shirts, and is not recommended for small orders, i.e. anything less than 10 t-shirts for one color.
This manual type of printing can work anywhere in the world even in
remote locations without electricity. No wonder this type of printing is more popular than digital printing in developing countries where there tends to be a lot of power cuts. In other words production is not dependent on the availability of electricity.
Screen printing is also very cost effective. It is the most efficient type of printing which does not use a lot of dye/ ink, as compared to other types of printing.
It also has low start up costs for some one who would like to start their own screen printing business as opposed to the high capital investments needed to start a digital or litho printing business.
Screen printing disadvantages
Although the print is cost effective, the costs are increased if the quantities to be printed is high, in terms of manual labor required, especially for orders that have to be completed within a short space of time. For high volumes in a short space of time, it is more advisable to go with digital printing, unless one is using advanced screen printers that print multiple t-shirts at the same time, or if there is a high human capital investment in the project as this type of printing is more manual and labor intensive.
One color can be printed at a time so images with multiple colors would have to be printed one color at a time, thus using up more time and man power. Also, due to the need for multiple screens to match images with different colors, screen printing is more suited for text rather than images, unless if the image has few colors.
Screen printable products
Other products which can be screen printed include:
- Medical devices
- Product labels
- Mouse pads
- Vinyl binders
- Lunch bags
- Snow boards
- Skate boards
- Surf boards
- Sweat shirts
- Muscle shirts
- Thick film
- Metal and plastic such as electronic devices