Screen printing prints on almost everything
Screen printing is one of the most versatile of all printing processes: It prints on probably the most diverse materials, from very paper-thin to several centimeters of material thickness, can control the ink application to extremely high ink layer thicknesses, shows excellent resistance to sunlight and weathering, high opacity of colors and thus leads to product longevity.
Whether it's a sugar decoration on a birthday cake, a sticker, a fashionable T-shirt, a lacquer finish on a book title, a speedometer disc in a car or a series of pictures in a limited small edition in a gallery: they all often have the same printing process in common - screen printing.
Synonyms for screen printing
Screen printing has some names in everyday life: In art printing, people talk about serigraphy. Derived from the historical develeopment the term silk screen or silk screen printing is also often used. Some people also tend to say stencil printing.
So how does screen printing work?
From a technical point of view, screen printing is a stencil printing process: The printing forme is a screen fabric stretched on a metal frame. The mesh openings are completely sealed, with the exception of the image elements to be printed. Here, the openings are free. Using a squeegee, a rubber strip, ink can be pressed through these openings onto the substrate underneath. This creates a printed image on the surface underneath the screen.
What we print in screen printing:
At our company in Vienna, you can, among other things, get:
- Screen printing on paper
- Screen printing on carton
- screen printing on cardboard, such as gray cardboard or chipboard
- art silkscreens, so-called serigraphs, for example on watercolor cardboard
- Screen printing on self-adhesive films in transparent, white, colorful or metallic colors
- Screen printing on rigid plastic films, such as polypropylene (PP), PVC or PET
- Screen printing on plastic sheets such as polystyrene (PS)
- Screen printing on synthetic glass such as acrylic glass or Plexiglas
- Screen printing on bookbinding linen fabric
- Screen printing on lightweight foam panels or rigid foam panels
Common applications for screen printing
For example, screen printing is often used for:
- Screen printing with opaque colors on colorful through-dyed papers or types of cardboard
- Screen printing of stickers
- Screen printing of art prints (serigraphs)
- screen printing on book covers made of bookbinding linen or cardboard
- Screen printing of thick-layered UV varnishes as print finishing with high gloss or relief
- Screen printing of boards and signs made of plastics
- Screen printing with effect inks, such as glitter varnish or glow in the dark color
We are screen printers of the first hour in Vienna and Austria. We would be pleased to accompany your products on the road to success with our accumulated know-how!
Exposure of repro films
An interesting by-product of screen printing is the laser exposure of reprofilms with high logarithmic density of logD 4 and extremely high resolution. We also produce these film exposures for other printing houses or hobbyists.
Screen printing is a stencil printing process. Here, the ink is pressed through a stretched screen fabric onto an underlying surface. Where ink is to be pressed through, i.e. at the image areas, the fabric is open. At all other points, the mesh openings between the threads of the fabric are closed so tightly that no more ink can pass through.
The ink is spread over the screen with a so-called squeegee, a rubber bar, and pressed downwards. The screen lies close to the medium to be printed, such as a sheet of paper. In this way, the ink that has been pressed through is transferred to the medium.
Screen printing is one of the most versatile of all printing processes: It can print on almost all materials. It can process almost all colours, especially effect colours. It can control the ink application from thin to very tactilely thick. Many screen printing inks also show the highest possible resistance to the UV component in sunlight and weathering, which leads to a long product life.
Graphic screen printing is mainly used for printing on paper, cardboard and materials for book covers. Typical screen prints here are opaque printing on coloured paper, glossy varnish effects, scratch fields, neon colours, glitter varnishes, afterglow colours or tactile prints such as relief varnish or textured varnish.
Technical screen printing is mainly used for printing on plastic, such as stickers, rigid films or plates. Mostly, this involves lettering, product labelling and advertising.
Textile screen printing is used to print on fabrics, typically T-shirts.
And in industrial screen printing, almost everything is printed, from sugar decorations on a birthday cake to glass bottles, plastic moulded parts and speedometer discs in cars.
There are a few names for screen printing:
Technically, it is stencil printing. From English, the terms "silk screen" or "screen printing" keep flowing in. When screen printing is used for artistic works, on the other hand, it is referred to as "serigraphy".
"Serigraphy" is an established term in the art world and is common among art collectors. Accordingly, the term "serigraph" is also important. On the one hand, to assure the long-lasting and visually rich quality of the colours, but also to achieve an appropriate price level.
Typically, these are screen prints that reproduce an image in a limited small edition. In most cases, these art prints are then numbered and signed by hand by the artist.
Screen printing is often used where all other techniques have reached their limits:
It can print on almost all materials, both in terms of material thickness and surface. It can process almost all colours, especially colours with show effects, high opacity or very coarse pigments. It can control the ink application from thin to very tactilely thick. Many screen printing inks also show the highest possible resistance to the UV component in sunlight and weathering, resulting in a long product life.
In graphic screen printing on paper, cardboard and materials for book covers, screen printing for opaque printing on coloured paper or bookbinding cloth, glossy varnish effects, scratch-off fields for lots, neon colours, glitter varnishes, glow-in-the-dark afterglow colours, tactile prints such as relief varnish or textured varnish, partial application of stamp glue, scented varnishes or varnishes that imitate certain surfaces, such as rough concrete or knitted stitches, in a lifelike tactile way are typical.
Screen printing is an analogue process. It therefore needs a physical printing form in the form of the screen. In recent years, however, the UV inkjet process has become a good complement to screen printing applications. Here, the ink is sprayed on and can thus reach the depths of even coarsely structured materials. This process is often used in combination with screen printing. Small quantities can also be produced more cost-effectively without the need for a printing form. For this reason, the term 'digital screen printing' has been coined by some customers.
Most of us became acquainted with the simplest type of stencil printing in kindergarten: a template cut out of paper, such as a heart shape, is placed on a sheet of paper. Watercolour is sprayed onto the paper with a spray grid and a brush. When the template is removed afterwards, everything underneath has remained uncoloured. If the shape is cut out of a sheet of paper on the inside, the colour is then only where the opening was in the masking paper.
This simple stencil principle is also used in the professional printing process of screen printing: Here, the ink is pressed through a stretched screen fabric onto an underlying surface. Where ink is to be pressed through, i.e. at the image areas, the mesh is open. At all other points, the mesh openings between the threads of the fabric are closed so tightly that no more ink can pass through.
And last but not least, stencils can be used to mark large objects, such as wooden transport boxes or walls, with spray paint. The stencils required for this can be cut from foils, self-adhesive films or cardboard by computer.