Silk Screening

Learn More About Silk Screen Printing

What is Silkscreening?

Silk screen printing uses an ink blocking mesh that when pressed using a squeegee transfers ink through to the tshirt.

Screen printing is also known as serigraphy prints, serigraph printing and of course silkscreen printing. Screen printing allows for multi-colored printing, which just happens to be perfect for printing tshirts, shirts and other textiles.

Silk Screen History

Silk screen printing first appeared in China in 960–1279 AD, in a period known as the Song Dynasty. Screen printing was adapted by other countries and was improved by over the years until it was introduced in Europe in the late 18th century. Silk screening did not gain wide acceptance in Europe until a silk mesh material was made available from Asia.

Silk screening became popular in the UK and was used for a variety of purposes, from printing playing cards, to printing intricate designs on walls and tiles. It was here that the screen printing process changed significantly and an industrial printing method was established, ultimately giving way to the modern silk screen printers that are in use today.

Silk Screen Printing Uses

Due to the nature of screen printing, it lends itself to being used to print designs on a wide variety of mediums. Artists like Any Warhol, loved the flexibility the printing provided and many other artists of the art deco and nouveau era used screen printing to create amazing works of art. Vintage silk screened posters are very much in demand these days and a whole industry has spawned with thousands of sellers offering a huge variety of silk screen posters. The most expensive silk screen poster was created by Andy Warhol in 1963, titled the Eight Elvises, which sold for $100 Million in 2009.

Thanks to the English, and the industrial printing method they created, the use of screen printing for creating signs for advertising was established and many classics such as the Uncle Sam wants you series of posters were created for the US military. Thousands of others corporations followed suit including Campbell’s soup, and even the RMS Titanic Ship line used the medium.

Today you can find silkscreen printing being used on everything from baseball bats to packaging used for all sorts of consumables, but by far the most the most widely used screen printing is for creating custom shirts. Computer operated silk screen printers have made it easy to create complex designs. All you need to do is create a hand sketch of what you have in mind, and computers take it from conception to completion in no time.

The popularity of custom tshirts is due to the popularity of the ubiquitous tshirt, and when you provide the ability to customize and create unique, one off tshirts through an easy and inexpensive medium such as silk screening, you wind up with the billion dollar custom tshirt industry we have today.

Types of Silk Screen Printing

While there is really only one type of silk screen printing, it’s the inks used that can create very unique effects. Some of the most popular types of ink include:

  • Puffed Ink – creates a physically raised ink surface adding texture to the tshirt.
  • Suede Ink – as the name implies, this ink creates a faux suede finish to the tshirt.
  • Glitter Ink – popular with the girls, glitter ink creates a unique look to the tshirt.
  • Metallic Ink – similar to glitter ink, metallic inks provide a glitter finish to the tshirt.
  • Glow in the Dark Ink – kids love this type of ink for custom tshirt printing.
  • Black Light Ink – great for night clubs, this ink makes your tshirt glow under black lights.
  • Reflective Ink – primarily used for road works crews, reflective ink makes your tshirt hard to miss.
  • Photo Chromic Ink – this ink actually changes colors when you expose your tshirt to direct sunlight.

Explore Diamond Silkscreen’s variety of silkscreen printing including Custom Shirts Toronto, Toronto Tshirt Printing, Jersey Printing and see what Silk Screen Specials are on now.

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