2014 Resource Directory

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 | Printwear M i d - M a rc h 20 1 4 20 1 4 M i d - M a rc h Printwear | 21 How To... I n the early years of the screen-printing industry, the term "silk-screening" was accurate, because real silk fabric was used to make the screens for our practice. But, in today's modern world, we use monofilament polyester mesh instead of real silk. So, the term "silk- screening" is becoming a term of the past. But that's another subject. What we'll look into here is the screen prep process. As an update to that silk, polyester screen fabric is much more durable for textile screen-printing and provides higher s c r e e n tension, better image registration, and better control over the ink printed on the garment. And, like so many aspects of the screen-print process, there is never just "one way" to approach any step… and this is definitely true with the many choices associated with screen preparation. So, starting at the top, here's a quick recap of each area in the screen prep process so that you can develop your "one way." Mesh Considerations Fabric for screen-making can be purchased by the bolt in widths of 40" to 145" and is available in mesh counts ranging from 17 to 460 monofilament polyester. The "warp" and the "weft" are terms used to describe the two directions of fabric measurement. Weft describes the left to right direction of the fabric and the long direction (length) is referred to as the "warp" direction. The very edge of the fabric in the weft direction is called the selvedge and has visible pinholes from where the fabric was attached with needles to the loom. The mesh count is generally printed on this edge. Screen fabric is also available in several different colors including white, orange, yellow or rose. The lower mesh counts ( 110 and below) are typically made with white poly thread, while upper mesh counts (195 and above) are woven with colored thread. (Note: Colored mesh b y j a m e s o r t o l a n i A look into the fundamentals of modern screen making Prepare a Screen Figure A There are a va- riety of dif- ferent frames that can be used for screen printing. Shown here is a draw bar frame, which features a series of side bar mesh attachment strips that allow the screen to be tensioned uniformly in each quadrant of the print area. (all images courtesy the author) PW_MidMarch14.indd 20 2/28/14 1:03 PM

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