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What Is Screen Printing?

So you’ve decided that you want custom made shirts, bags, hats etc. Or maybe you’ve grown curious about how people and businesses go about making these specific to their brand. “Screen printing” and “silk screening” are words you’ve heard repeatedly but you’re not exactly sure what they mean. Depending on what interests you the most, screen printing has its pros and cons, all of which can be weighed to help you decide what is the best method for your needs.

Screen printing is definitely one of the most popular printing methods, which is probably why you’ve heard the word so often. Companies use it because of the ability to print these designs on products of different sizes and materials.

This all leads us to the big question of “what is screen printing, exactly? How is it done?”

Well, read on and we’ll share the basics of the story so you know a little bit about what goes on here at Bolt Custom Shirt Co.

Let’s Answer the First Question: “What Is Screen Printing?”

As we said earlier, screen printing can also be called silk screening. This method uses thick inks that lay on top of the shirt rather than soaking the shirt. This process used to be the ONLY major way to make bulk amounts of custom t-shirts, but as technology progresses so does silk screening.

However, we see it as the art of screen printing never going out of style as it continues to be one of the best methods for printing on multiple surfaces with the same design.

These thicker inks that are being used have shown to be better for designs that only have a handful of ink colors being used. The overall color pops out brighter, and the ink has a soft feeling when touched which makes for high-quality finishing touches and an amazing look. Transferring your artwork onto cotton has never looked better than with screen printing because of its sharp results! Plus the fact that screen printing is often more affordable when it comes to larger quantities really is the cherry on top. If you have the time and have minimal colors for your design, then we highly recommend choosing screen printing.

How Does It Work?

It all starts with a printing frame. This is a thin mesh that is stretched tightly over a frame. When screen printing first started, they would do this with a screen made of silk. Nowadays it's transitioned more towards polyester screens.

Essentially, a design is printed onto a sheet and that is what helps to make art have the ability to be transferred through the ink. The frame is placed on the material and with the help of a scraper the colours are “screened.” After the first layer has been applied and the ink sets on the chosen material, it is set aside to dry. If there are other colors being added then we wait for the first layer to dry before moving onto the next application layer. This is repeated until the end result is achieved. Isn’t the craftsmanship of screen printing amazing?!

While this is just a basic rundown of how our system works, it's honestly more complicated than we are leading it on to be. Separating chemicals, inks, varying techniques and more go into your beautiful design being transferred. The skill however does result in a stunning thick and bold design that leaves both you and us satisfied with the product.

“Why Should I Choose Screen Printing?”

There are a ton of great benefits that go along with choosing to do screen printing. We’ve listed below a few of those benefits:

- Excellent quality-price ratio for large print runs

- Exact color reproduction

- Long lasting and durability of your personalized items

- Printouts that are consistently resistant to many washing procedures

It’s safe to say that screen printing is what is recommended for designs like logos, phrases and simple graphic designs. If you’re looking for something that is built more for a short run or intricate or complex printout such as photographs or designs with gradations, then we recommend our digital printing service. Keep a look out for our upcoming blog post about the DTG printing services we offer!

Here at BOLT Screen Printing we pride ourselves in creating quality custom apparel that brings your vision to life. We have assembled a team of professionals, who strive to understand your goals and assist you with out of the box advertising and Branding techniques. We combine our knowledge of all things apparel with your project goals in order to prove killer gear and a stress-free experience.

With an ambition to create premium quality vintage threads, Bolt was born. From our passion of creating the best clothing for our clothing store Opolis and our customers expressing the desire to see their designs on our high-quality apparel we knew the next step would be to open Bolt. After being in the industry for over 13 years, we've perfected the process of turning amazing ideas into even better results. Contact us today by emailing us at, or giving us a call at 405-493-9557!

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