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There are many ways you can create artwork on your t-shirt using screen printing. Different methods will produce different results, hence it is necessary to understand various processes used in screen printing. Although the artwork wasn’t created by you, it will still benefit you if you understand how many ways it can be screen printed on a t-shirt.

Spot Color Printing

It is the most common type of t-shirt screen printing. It uses the stock color of the ink by printing it through the stencil of the screen mesh. This will produce a vibrant solid spot of color and produces a more thicker layer of ink depending on the ink and mesh count used. It is particularly helpful in printing darker garments. But, it is effective for printing 1 – 4 colors; when you have more spot colors other printing methods such as the simulated process may be of a good option. Fort example company logos are perfect to print using spot color as it does not generally require gradients or excessive colors.

Halftone Printing

Here mostly a single or multiple colors in gradients are printed. These tones can range from solid spot to fine halftone of the same color. This method is great when you want to achieve the look of multi-color printing without actually doing it. For example, if you want to get a pink radiant color on your white t-shirt, you can simply do it by printing red on a white shirt and include a 50% gradient of the red, the 50% gradient will mix with the white to give it a pink appearance, all using only one screen and one color. It improves the quality of the graphics and also produces a softer feeling print when printed directly on to the garment.

Grayscale Printing

This is a great way to print full-color images as 1 color grayscales or halftones. Full-color photographs can be printed as a one-color halftone. Full-color drawings containing a complete range of different colors may also be produced by means of a 1 color halftone. Typically it’s done in black ink on a light garment but technically speaking it can be done in any color ink as desired. The resolution will depend on the lines per inch used in the dot pattern. The more dots a halftone has the more detailed the print will look. This is a great cost-effective technique to print black and white photographs on garments.

Duotone Printing

It is the combination of two halftones for the same image printed with two colors. First, a black halftone is printed on white tees and then a second halftone will be printed with color ink. The color halftone combines with the black halftone to product a duotone color hue. This gives a retro and cool effect to the prints on light garments and gives an appearance of a full-color print but at a much less expensive rate. It produces a softer feel print when printed onto the garment.

CMYK Printing

This is the most complex of all screen printing process and should be done on an automatic press. It can be done manually, but for optimum result, you need an automatic t-shirt press. Here, we take a full-color photograph and break it down to it 4 constituent colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The printing process combines these four colors to recreate the full tonal and color range of the original image. This is an expensive process especially done on dark garments.

Simulated Printing Process

This combines the 4 color printing process with spot color printing. Sometimes it is done by combining spot colors with halftone colors to create the original image. Here, the spot colors are used to intensify the overall look of the printed shirt. It can turn out to be more expensive as it requires complex artwork and addition of many screens. This is most often the process used to print complex images on black colored garments. It has the ability to produce great images but demands experience in artwork creation.

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