Ranar: Mastering Screen-Printing with a Focus on Frames

As discussed by Impressions Magazine in their article “T-shirt Screen-Printing Odds and Ends,” screen-printing T-shirts and other apparel requires meticulous attention to detail. Even with the best art and the finest press, neglecting the small aspects can hinder the final product.

Screen Frames for Apparel Decoration

When I first entered the screen-printing industry, options for screen frames were limited, especially on the textile side. The primary choices were to either purchase ready-made wooden frames or craft your own. Screen tension wasn’t a significant consideration back then, so these wooden frames sufficed. Although metal frames were available, their high cost and the need for a stretcher made them less appealing. Wooden screens only required a staple gun and strong hands, though a stretcher was beneficial. Another method, the cord-and-groove technique, required a simple tool but was less reliable for achieving the desired tension and prone to splitting if over-tightened.

It’s surprising that some companies still use wooden screens today. It’s akin to choosing a horse and buggy over a car—not that horses are bad, but they aren’t the fastest or most comfortable mode of transportation. Wooden screens need to be immersed in water to develop the image, which can cause the wood to warp and affect registration, making them impractical in modern screen-printing.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Rigid Metal Screens

Rigid metal screens are a superior option but come with their own set of challenges. The price of aluminum frames has decreased in recent years, making them more accessible. However, a significant issue with these screens is the lack of control over screen tension since printers don’t stretch them themselves. Even with a tension meter, adjusting the tension is not possible, which can affect print quality and consistency.

Screen printers often choose rigid metal screens for their affordability and ease of use, which is reasonable until issues arise. Problems such as ink not clearing the screen, registration issues, print clarity, and repeatability of previous jobs can occur. Despite these drawbacks, rigid metal screens remain the most commonly used in the industry.

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Article with all rights reserved, courtesy of impressionsmagazine.com

Photo with all rights reserved, courtesy of depositphotos.com

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