Philadelphia Print House

Screen Printing

The In’s & Out’s

New to screen printing? Here’s a quick overview to bring you up to date!

Quick Video

Screen Printing 101

Video Credit: Nicole Finateri

What is 

Screen Printing?

Screen printing is the process of transferring a stenciled design onto a flat surface using a mesh screen, ink, and a squeegee. Fabric and paper are the most commonly screen-printed surfaces, but with specialized inks, it’s also possible to print onto wood, metal, plastic, and even glass. The basic method involves creating a stencil on a fine mesh screen and then pushing ink (or paint, in the case of artwork and posters) through to create an imprint of your design on the surface beneath.

The process is sometimes called ‘silk screening’ or ‘silk screen printing’ and while the actual printing process is always fairly similar, the way the stencil is created can vary, depending on the materials used. Different stenciling techniques include:

  • Using masking tape or vinyl to cover the desired areas of the screen.
  • Painting the stencil onto the mesh using ‘screen blockers’ such as glue or lacquer.
  • Using a light-sensitive emulsion to create a stencil, which is then developed in a similar way to a photograph.

Designs made using the screen printing technique may use just one shade of ink or several. In the case of multicolored items, the colors must be applied in individual layers, using separate stencils for each ink.

Screen Printing Process

What is the difference between

Screen Printing and Heat Transfer Vinyl?

When a design is produced using the screen printing method, actual screens are used in the process! Essentially, this screen is cut to make a stencil for the design. Ink is then spread over the screen, passing through to the object underneath only in the areas you want it to be. Only one color per screen can be used – so depending on the number of colors in the design, you’ll need multiple screens to produce the final item.

The heat transfer printing method applies custom designs to items like t-shirts or sports jerseys through a process that uses a combination of heat and pressure. Common kinds of heat transfer printing include vinyl heat transfer and digital print heat transfer. With the vinyl heat transfer process, a machine is used to cut out designs and letters in pieces of colored vinyl. A heat press is then used to transfer each vinyl color of the design onto the object being printed. With digital print heat transfer, the desired graphic is first digitally printed on special heat transfer paper using a solvent ink. This type of ink allows the design to be transferred from the paper to the item being printed when pressed with heat. With both these types of heat transfer, a heat press machine will be needed to transfer the graphic, either vinyl or digitally printed, from one surface to another. It’s the combination of heat and pressure that transfers the design!

Screen Printing Process

What we Do

Our Services

Customized Clothing

School Field Days, Bachelorette Parties, Softball Teams, Band Merch, Work Shirts… We have all the styles at the lowest prices to match your needs!

Choose From Over 24 Different Colors of ink!

We carry 24 different colors in-house, including glitter inks. If you would like a color that is not listed just let us know, we can match/mix any color!

Fast & Free Quote

You have 2 options when it comes to your free quote. You can 1.) Go to our online store and pick the product you would like to have your design printed onto, then answer a few questions and recieve your quote in 24 hours! 2.) Fill out the Fast and Free quote form at the bottom of this page and we’ll get back to you typically within 24 hours!

View all of our available styles and products!

Philadelphia Print House offers over 2,000 different products and style to choose from. Click the button below to view our online catalog and to get a FREE quote!

Get your Fast & Free Quote!

Fill out form below and we will send a quote straight to your email, typically within 24 hours

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Open Hours

M-F: 12pm – 8pm

S & S: 12pm – 4pm

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