Screen printing is still done very much as it was when it was invented…a screen is made using a porous fabric, most of the surface area is blocked off, and the areas where ink is free to flow through is what gets printed on the intended item. That’s why you hear the term “screen charges” used in conjunction with screen printing. A unique screen must be created for each color of ink in a design, and then lined up on a machine so the screens can come down in the right order to print your design properly. It’s really pretty fun to watch!
We screen print most frequently on t-shirts, long sleeved tee’s, pinnies and sweatshirts, but there are other types of items that can be screened, from hockey jerseys to towels, to jackets. Not everything can be screened however, either because on some items, the ink “falls into the cracks” of the texture of the item and you lose resolution, or because the item can’t take the heat of the dryer which cures the ink. If you have any question about product types, or imprint methods, we would love to help. Just jot us an email.
Pricing & Cost Factors
Screen print pricing is very much priced on a per job basis due to a number of contributing factors. Those key factors are:
- Shirt Type: even among the most basic of t-shirts, there are varying weights and price points. Long sleeve, polo, and fashion tees cost more than your basics.
- Shirt Color: Believe it or not, the color of your shirt will partially determine price. White shirts are the least expensive to purchase, and to print on. Light shirts (yellows, pale pinks, light greys, etc.) are a bit more expensive than whites due to the pigment in the dyed shirts, as well as the added layers of ink often needed to create an opaque print. Dark shirts are the most expensive (black, navy, deep greens, reds) because they are the most heavily pigmented, which increases the cost of the shirt itself. When printing on dark shirts, light inks actually soak into a dark shirt and fade a great deal (some nearly disappear). In order to print a bright, crisp image, we need to lay down multiple ink layers, taking the time to heat (semi-cure) each layer before printing the same color again in the same location. This provides a high quality, long lasting image that will stand out, but does add to the cost.
- Imprint Colors: The number of screens used (see initial paragraph) is determined by the number of colors in your design. So as we add screens (colors), it takes additional resources and time to set up the job, as well as print the job. In short, the more imprint colors per side (front or back of shirt) the more expensive the shirt will be.
- Quantity Ordered: The more shirts ordered, the less each shirt will cost. Basically, it takes as long to set up a 3 color job that will ultimately print 6 shirts, as it takes to set up a 3 color job that will print 600 shirts. The more shirts that divide those “up front” costs, the less expensive each shirt will be.
Note On Pricing
As a general rule, it takes 2 weeks for an order of printed t-shirts, but know that we will do our best to meet any reasonable deadline that our schedule will accommodate. There are a few times of year we need additional time, just due to volume. Please inquire about your specific needs and we will let you know if we’ll be able to accept the order in the time frame you require.