Screen Printing on T-Shirts

What is screen print?

Screen printing is a branding technique that is commonly used for branding T-shirts (but is certainly not limited to T-shirt branding alone).

Printed T-shirts South Africa

Screen printing involves the following steps:

  • Choosing or creating your design or artwork
  • Getting a high resolution image of your artwork
  • Separating the areas that are different colours
  • Printing this image in black ink on a film positive transparency
  • Cleaning the meshed screen
  • Transferring the image (that is on the transparency) onto the screen
  • Coating the screen with an emulsion
  • Placing the screen under a UV light and waiting for it to harden
  • Rinsing the screen with water so that the unhardened areas (your artwork) is washed away, leaving a stencil of your artwork
  • Placing the screen over your T-shirt, and using a special device called a squeegee, the ink is rolled over the screen
  • The meshed nature of the screen allows the ink to go through
  • The ink passes through the stencil only, leaving a beautiful print of your artwork on the T-shirt
  • The ink is then cured so that it doesn’t wash out of the T-shirt.

This may be quite a mouthful. Allow me to elaborate on the above steps:

Firstly, you need to create the design that you want to have branded on the T-shirts. You may want your company logo branded on these shirts. In this case, you will probably already have your design. Each colour in the artwork is done with a separate screen. It is thus best if your artwork contains separate, solid colours rather than blends.

You must have a vector image of the artwork. A vector image is a high resolution, high quality image that does not pixelate when you zoom in. This is to ensure that your T-shirt comes out beautifully branded. A poor quality image will result in a poor quality print, and you obviously don’t want that.

Because each colour is done on a separate screen, you need to find a way to separate the different colours in your artwork. The images are printed in black ink on a film positive transparency. This is similar to an overhead transparency. The screen is then cleaned and your image (on the transparency) is transferred onto this screen. Thereafter, the screen is coated with an emulsion.

It is then exposed to a special light that hardens the emulsion on the screen. However, because light cannot pass through the black ink, this area does not harden. The screen is then rinsed with water, which washes the black ink area away (because it was not hardened). This leaves a stencil of your artwork.

The screen is then placed over the T-shirt, and ink is rolled over the screen using a squeegee. This allows the ink to go through the mesh, through the stencil, and onto your product, leaving your artwork beautifully printed on the T-shirt.

The ink is then cured with heat so that it doesn’t wash out of the T-shirt.

Branded T-shirts make fantastic marketing and corporate gifts. To see a range of Brand Innovation’s T-shirts, please visit

To order your branded T-shirts, please email us at We look forward to being of assistance.

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