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Print Processes Explained

We use 4 different print methods for the different jobs we do, here is some information on how the processes actually work.

screenScreen Printed

Screen printing was originally thought to originate from Japanese stenciling techniques, however the modern screen printing process originated from patents taken out by Samuel Simon in 1907 in England. The actual screen used is a wooden or metal frame with a fine meshed polyester screen stretched over it. It is a 4 step process; screen coating => light exposure => screen preparation => setup and printing. Firstly "Positives" for each colour channel in the design are printed in reverse onto transparency films. Next the screen is prepared by coating it with a photo-sensitive emulsion and left to dry. The film positive and prepared screen are then placed together into a vacuum sealed exposure unit and exposed to UV light. Where the film positive isn't opaque the light passes through and 'hardens' the photo sensitive emulsion onto the screen. The screen is removed and the emulsion is washed away leaving a stencil image thus allowing the corresponding colour ink to travel through the area of screen we want to print. When multiple colours are involved setup registry marks are added to the print for setup. These marks allow the printer to align all colour screens during setup to ensure a fully registered and accurate print. During printing, the ink is spread uniformly with a blade across the screen, which is then laid onto the transfer paper and a squeegee is drawn back over the screen transferring the ink to the paper. Often partial curing of the ink between prints is used, and once all colours have been printed successfully onto the transfer, it is fully cured.



Lithographic printing was invented by Bavarian author Aloys Senefelder in 1796. Today we employ 'Offset' lithographic printing to produce a fast and accurate print process. Firstly an aluminium plate with a hydrophobic photosensitive emulsion is exposed to light through a film negative of the design. This is cleaned and leaves a 'positive' image of emulsion on the plate, which is then transferred to a cylinder drum in the machine. Rollers in the machine apply water and ink to the print plate, the emulsion acts so that the print image repels the water (its hydrophobic nature) but accepts the ink, and the water cleans the ink from the rest of the plate. The plate cylinder is also in contact with the offset cylinder which is lined with a rubber blanket, thus continuously applying the print in ink from cylinder to cylinder. The paper is drawn through this offset cylinder and another cylinder under pressure, transferring the print to the transfer paper. The process allows the plate to quickly reproduce the print over and over due to the constant 'clean' and 'renewing' from the application of water and ink to the plate, with multiple plates and printing cylinders placed in a row to produce multi-coloured prints. The Transfer paper can then be passed through the machines cylinders producing a continuous print.



Flock is a kind of material that is responsible for a velvet or suede textured print. The flock material is produced by applying tiny filaments to a substrate coated with adhesive, the 'flock' is electro statically charged and tends to stand up giving it a fine furry texture. We can produce flock textured prints in a number of colours, at the 0.5mm flock length. Colours available currently are black, white, burgundy, 2 shades of red, orange, yellow, and 7 shades of blue.


Pad Printing

padPad printing is a versatile and cost effective method used for awkward print surfaces such as mugs, pens, lighters or any object without a flat surface, by directly printing onto the product with a rubber pad. It works on the principle of using a Silicon rubber pad to apply the print to the object. Its called an 'indirect photogravure process', where an etched plate containing the print is flooded with ink and the surface is cleaned. The pad is pressed onto the inky etching and picks up the ink onto its surface. The pad is then pressed onto the product and transfers the ink. The quick drying nature of the ink used means that the ink becomes tacky quickly making pad printing quick, reliable, and capable of producing multiple colour prints on a wide range of products and materials.

foilFoil Printing

The foil transfer we created uses a special adhesive applied to the underside of the foil that readily accepts another adhesive we apply to the garment with a paper transfer. The adhesive paper transfer is applied to the garment in the heat press, then immediately afterwards the foil material. This is our traditional 'two-hit' method of foil transfer. Owing to demand we may soon introduce 1-hit foil transfers where we apply the adhesive transfer directly to the foil for heat press application.