Screenprint

Screenprint is the most widely-used method of printing on garments.  First, the image is cleaned up, colour-separated, and printed onto acetate film (one for each print colour.) This acetate is applied to an emulsion-treated silk screen, such that the image masks the emulsion when the screen is exposed to a light source.  The light “cures” the unmasked emulsion, which becomes opaque; the masked (and therefore un-cured) emulsion which remains is washed away, and the result is a screen with the image represented by open mesh where the acetate had been.  The screen is placed on a garment, and ink drawn across and through the screen; as ink can only pass through the open mesh, only the image is transferred to the garment.  Each colour is flash-cured before the next colour is applied on top, building up to the composite colour image; the garment is then passed through a tunnel-dryer to cure the ink at a very high (and very specific) temperature.

We use three different ink types, depending on the characteristics of your order:

  • Plastisol: the old-school industry standard for bold colours; we use a pthalate-free version, for minimal environmental impact.
  • Discharge: the ink sits in the fabric rather than on it, giving a very soft, smooth finish.  Suitable for 100% cotton garments.
  • Water-based: ideal for babywear, simulated process CMYK prints, and other extra-soft applications on 100% cotton garments: it’s organic and vegan.

Discharge print

Discharge print: this method enables us to produce large prints which are still soft and comfortable to wear. Discharge ink bleaches out the shirt’s existing dye, replacing it with new pigment; the print sits “in” the fabric, rather than “on” it.
Discharge colours have a slightly muted, “vintage” appearance and feel, which (paradoxically) is a very contemporary effect! Like Plastisol inks, they can be mixed specifically for each job.
Discharge ink is printed with a single pull, allowing us to retain incredible levels of detail compared with Plastisol (which can sometimes “flood out” tiny details.)

Water-based ink

Water-based inks give crisp, sharp prints, are safe for use in babywear (and other mouth-adjacent applications) and – crucially – are very environmentally friendly.
We use water-based inks for our face-covering prints (masks and snoods); the print is soft, clean and safe to breathe through.
We’ve started using a new range of water-based shimmer inks, which are bright and vivid, and capable of reproducing much finer detail than has been possible with Plastisol shimmer inks.

CMYK full-colour print

Full-colour gradiented imagery can be reproduced using CMYK simulated process halftone print. This is particularly suited to print on white garments.
CMYK print produces the effect of a wide palette of colours, despite the fact that only four actual print colours are used; the halftone pattern produces the appearance of colours which are not “really” there.
The CMYK process can reproduce imagery with a “watercolour” effect, thanks to our rather cunning colour-separation software.

Plastisol

Plastisol remains the industry-standard “normal” ink for screenprint, capable of very clean lines, sharp details and vivid colours.
Plastisol is especially good for fine detail in dark-on-light prints, where only one or two pulls of ink are required.
Plastisol colours are bright and robust, and (unlike discharge inks) can be used on polyester and polyester-blend garments (hoodies, for example).

Oversize print

Our maximum print size for Plastisol prints is 35cm x 44cm, but oversize discharge prints (on 100% cotton shirts) can be anything up to 43cm x 53cm. There’s no extra charge for oversize prints.
Discharge printing makes even a large, dense design comfortable to wear, because the “feel” of the ink in the shirt is so light.
Oversize discharge print is ideal for non-garment printing, such as tea towels and bandanas.