How It’s Made: Silkscreen 101

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What is silkscreen printing?

High-quality apparel printing using hand-applied ink and high heat to cure the graphic. Each colour must be applied with separate passes of ink through a mesh stencil.

Why you’ll love it: 

  • High-quality print with vibrant colours
  • Sharp, clean lines with well-defined details
  • Cost-benefit: higher initial setup fee, that pays off the more you create
  • Versatile: the same screen can be used on different fabrics/types of apparel
  • Print on virtually any type of fabric

How it’s made

  1. First, the file prep. Each layer is created as a separate file.
  2. Then we print the design to film, which is used to create the mesh screens. Screens are used as stencils, that layer the design elements to create the final product.
  3. Next, we mix our ink, prep the apparel, and load the press.
  4. Ink is applied by hand, squeegeed through the mesh stencils in layers to create the final design.
  5. After a few rounds of heat curing the project is nearly complete.
  6. We fold, package, ship and high five- it’s done!

Q&A with our makers Ryan & Corey

Ryan, Manager & Corey, Production Specialist & Maker – work their magic at TPH in Barrie, Ontario.

What do you like about the silkscreen process?

Silk Screen embodies tradition. It’s hands-on and tactile.  It’s been of great value to our customers to be able to provide this particular service along with the many other decorating techniques we champion.

What have customer responses been like to the final product

Customers love that we make this more accessible than other vendors. It’s not rocket science, it should be a fun, creative process.   

Do you have any advice for someone interested in silk-screened apparel?

Ask us anything. We love when customers tell us what they’re interested in. The process to find the best apparel production for each project is collaborative. Silkscreen specifically is used for presenting deeper colour gamuts and has some really neat results! If that’s of value to someone, we’ll help them execute their vision.

What type of project is silkscreen printing best for?

Silk Screen works best with simple colour schemes and medium-sized runs of shirts. We see a lot of projects for merchandise, casual wear, and limited runs for exclusive events.

What’s your favourite silkscreen project to date?

Hands down ‘The Mutants Are Revolting’ t-shirt print run for Flying Monkeys Brewery.

Flying Monkeys Silkscreen T-Shirt

Thanks for reading!

Feeling inspired to get moving on your own project? Shop apparel online or contact your local TPH Manager to chat about your next idea.

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