Screen printing is both art and science. For each order our team calibrates presses, custom mixes inks, and experiments with settings to achieve the look you’re going for. The following information is to help you, the client, understand our processes as well as the common limitations of screen printing.
Our goal is to deliver what you want, every single time, and the more you know about screen printing inks, the better you can work within the medium to create an awesome product.
It is helpful for clients to understand that ink vibrancy, weight of the tee shirt, and thick or thin feel are all a matter of client preference and are therefore subjective. If you have specific expectations for the way your final product looks and feels, please communicate this to your project manager, and we’ll do our best to match our processes with your expectations.
Spot colors are printed as solid shapes, as opposed to small dots of color that make up a photorealistic design. This is the most common print process in the industry. Logos, text, and line art typically are created with spot colors and can be
reproduced with accuracy.
Printing two layers of the same color ink. This is a good way to give more vibrancy to ink when printed on dark color tees. It will not be as bright as a white underlay, but it is usually less expensive because it does not require additional screens.
An underlay is a layer of ink that is printed as a "base" on a dark shirt for other colors to sit on. This gives the top colors more brilliance. Because the ink colors must be layered, it does cause the print to feel thick. Also, it requires an additional screen, making the final product more expensive.
A halftone is a group of large and small dots that when viewed at a distance, have the appearance of continuous shades of gray or color in an image. Images that have shading or tints of a color are made into a halftone pattern. Because screens only allow the printing of 1 solid color at time, halftones are a helpful way to give depth or shading to a design.
Does the color of the tee shirt affect the look of the ink?
Yes, absolutely! Dark or bright colored tees will absorb a lot of the ink color, which means prints tend to look much duller on dark colored tees than on white or light colored tees. Some of the tee shirt color will show through the design.
I want the print of my design to be really bright. How can Dapper Ink accomplish that?
If you want your graphic to appear bright, consider printing on a light colored tee or printing your design with a white underbase.
A white underbase is a layer of white ink that is printed before the rest of the design. It provides a buffer between the dark colored tee and the screen print inks, helping the design to look as bright and opaque as possible.
“Bright” and “Opaque” are relative terms and can mean different things to different clients. If you have concerns about your design showing up on a dark colored tee, we recommend talking through options with your Project Manager.
Please note, the thicker the ink, the thicker the feel of the print. The thinner the ink, the softer the feel.
Additionally, white underbases count as additional screens, so they can affect the cost of your order.
Does the fabric content of my apparel affect the final print?
Yes. In addition to the color of the garment affecting the print, the fabric of the garment itself can be just as influential.
For example, prints on ribbed or textured fabrics can stretch and crack. Specialty fabrics such as marbled, speckled, or slub tees can only handle a single layer of ink before mis-registering. Triblend material frequently burns under flash units, so they too need a single layer of ink.
As a side note, when printing tri-blends we only recommend designs that lend themselves to either a washed white or faded / vintage print.
Can Dapper Ink match my desired ink color?
If you provide Pantone colors for your design, we can make an incredibly close match. If you need an exact match on a dark colored tee, we recommend a white underbase. However, if you’re a bit flexible on color, we can get very close without having to layer on ink.
How many colors can I have in my design?
Our largest press has eight heads, so your design can have up to 8 spot colors in one location. However, the more colors you have the more expensive the print.
Each color in a design is made into a separate screen, registered, and printed individually onto the garment.
What kind of inks does Dapper Ink use?
We use industry-standard plastisol inks, which are thick and opaque. The ink pushed through our screens sits lightly on top of the shirt. These inks can be printed on any garment or fabric and work best for most print jobs.
Plastisol inks are very durable and the print will most likely outlive the garment.