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How the Silk Screen Process Works

Silk Screen printing is a very professional and durable way to print large quantities of shirts.
      The first step of the process is to get a special screen. These screens are similar to a common screen door, except the fibers are pulled very tight, and the holes are very small.
      The entire screen is then coated with a chemical that is sensitive to ultra violet light, called emulsion. When ultra violet light hits the chemical it hardens and becomes waterproof.     
Emulsion Coated Screen
Emulsion coated screen
Screen with Transparancy Image
Image on transparency paper
      Once the emulsion has dried on the screen, we are ready for the image. The image is printed on transparency paper in black.
      That image is placed on the screen, and ultra violet light is allowed to react with the emulsion chemical on the screen. After a few minutes the lights are turned off and the screen is washed.
Screen with Light bulb
UV light reacts to the chemical
Washed out screen
The screen opens where the image was
      By placing the black image on the screen, it created a shadow where the screen was not exposed to the UV light. That part of the screen will wash out, while the rest will stay hard. Now the holes in the screen are plugged up with the hardened chemical, except where the image is.
      Now ink can be pushed through the holes in the screen to make the image on your shirt. Each color requires a new screen and additional setup.
Screen with T-Shirt
Ink will flow through the holes
Final Shirt       The ink that is used will not dry very quickly. A bucket of ink left exposed to the open air may never dry. It has to get to 350°F to be finished. At Local Hero we use special ovens and commercial heat presses to set the ink.

Next: How the Heat Transfer process works

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