Screen Printing

Screen Printing Service

What’s that? You need a high quality t shirt screen printing service. Provided by skilled screen printers, UK based and with years of experience. Well, you’ve arrived at the right place, Fifth Column can definitely help. That’s to say, screen printed clothing is what we do and have been doing for decades now. Our first tees came off the press back in 1977 and we’ve been screen printing t-shirts and custom clothing ever since. Nowadays, our London printing studio is equipped with state of the art machines and can produce 600 pieces of printed apparel every hour. That means we can supply you with large quantities of full colour garments. And they’ll be of the highest print quality, items which won’t fade, are soft to the touch and long-lasting.

Needless to say, a high standard of customer service is a given. We take care to understand your needs and ensure we meet them. And as mentioned, our clothes screen printing services have been honed over time so that exceptional results are the everyday benchmark. Plus, we have a low minimum order requirement and offer price breaks for bulk screen printing. And if you need great plain t shirts for screen printing, we can help with that too. So get in touch if you want screen printing, UK experts with a love of the craft, and we’ll make it happen. Let’s get your idea off the drawing board and onto a premium printed garment.

Screen Printing is best for:

A t-shirt icon showing that screen printing is the best option for printing t-shirts.

T-Shirts

A simple hoodie icon showing that screen printing is the best option for printing hoodies and hooded tops.

Hoodies

A sportswear icon showing that screen printing is one of the best options for printing sports apparel.

Sportswear

A workwear icon showing that screen printing is the best for printing work clothes and uniforms.

Workwear

What is Screen Printing?

As a print method, screen printing textiles (sometimes referred to as silk screen printing) is an ancient art. In essence, it’s a print technique which hasn’t fundamentally changed over centuries although it has obviously been modernised. Clothing screen printing involves applying ink to the garment with a sophisticated stencil. These days, we digitally transfer your design or choice of image to a very fine fabric mesh (the shirt screen) that has been stretched on a frame. Areas not to be printed are blocked to make the mesh into said stencil. Applying pressure using a squeegee, the ink is wiped across this screen. As it finds its way through the unblocked pores on the mesh, the colour is transferred to the surface of the fabric.

Of course, screen print is merely one of many ways to decorate merchandise. For example, dtg printing, where your design is printed straight onto the material (similar to how you print at home with documents). However, the latter is only economical for small amounts. Furthermore, t shirts for screen printing do not need to be all cotton (direct uses thinner, water based ink and therefore works better on cotton). When it comes to screen printing, UK providers such as ourselves agree that it’s often the best option for business printing. And that applies to a wide variety of products. Your screen printed hoodie or t-shirt, organic tote bag or comfy joggers, they’re all going to look good when they come off the carousel.

What are the types of Screen Printing Inks Used?

Okay, let’s think about ink. We assess the requirements for your clothes screen printing project and go from there. Choosing the right ink is an important part of the process and depends on the garment and design. Our print runs utilise high quality materials – the best plastisol inks, discharge inks, and waterbased inks. Plus, many more besides. For instance, we offer speciality finishes including metallics, glow-in-the-dark, thermochromic and reflective.

PLASTISOL

This is the go-to ink for screen printing that produces bright colours on all fabrics. When heated, plastic particles in the liquid plasticizer turn it into a highly viscous gel. Just a thin layer of plastisol ink printed onto the garment produces a slightly raised effect to the touch. It’s easy to match Pantone colours with plastisol for a vibrant look that’s faithful to the artwork.

DISCHARGE

Discharge printing involves adding water-based inks to “dischargeable” dark coloured garments, producing an ultra soft print with vivid colour. The discharge inks are mixed with an activator and heat cured, reducing the original dyes in the garment. Discharge ink works best on dark, 100% cotton and natural fibre garments. Some colours work better than others.

CMYK

There are two colour modes for print reference: RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) and CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key/black). RGB offers a wider, more vibrant range of colours than CMYK – a range of colours that you see on your computer monitor that aren’t achievable in print. We work in CMYK when producing artwork for screenprinting, with attainable colours.

METALLIC

Metallic inks – specifically gold and silver – add instant drama and are a popular choice for fashion brands and promo items. The process is the same as standard screen printing except using just gold and silver inks and no overlay treatment. Metallic ink is slightly thicker, so the artwork should be straightforward and not detail orientated to achieve the best effect.

PUFF

Unique foaming agents will make your artwork stand out, 3D style. We mix puff additive into plastisol ink and screen print normally. It’s during the curing process in the tunnel dryer that the puff additive reacts to the ink and expands. We can apply this raised effect to all of your design or just specific areas.

GLOW IN DARK

To achieve a lurid lime green luminous look we mix the ink with phosphors – special chemicals that absorb energy and re-emit it as light. We apply that ink to a base of bright white ink that has had a translucent treatment. By daylight, the design appears off white, but after it’s been charged by light it glows brilliantly.

THERMOCHROMIC

Thermochromic inks are temperature sensitive compounds that temporarily change colour as the ink warms or cools. Effective from anywhere between -10 and 70°C, the ink is coloured at room temperature and becomes lighter when in contact with warmth. This cleverly reveals colours, handprints or designs.

REFLECTIVE

This special pale grey ink can reflect bright light – like car headlights – and is often used by us for clients wanting high-vis workwear and sports apparel. The process is the same as standard screen printing, and reflective ink works well on a wide variety of garments. The added bonus is that it’s durable too.

How Screen Printing works

We’re on hand from initial enquiry to the finished screen printed clothing. First, we’ll agree the printing quote and administrative aspects of your order. Next, mock up and approve the artwork. Then, get your order over to the production station and burn the screens. If necessary, help with associated stuff like sourcing the ideal t shirts for screen printing in your circumstances. After that, get the presses spinning and order delivered.

Advantages of clothing screen printing:

  • Low cost for big numbers – when people talk about cheap screen printing, UK printers tend to equate that with higher volumes.
  • Stand-out prints – superior to most alternative printing methods such as direct, dye sublimation, heat press printing and so on.
  • The speediest printing solution – skilled commercial screen printing services can make thousands of garment in a single day.
  • Durable designs – your graphic will last, t shirt screen printing creates hard-wearing tees that stand the test of time.

Disadvantages of clothes screen printing:

  • Quantity counts – it’s not cost effective for small batches.
  • Colour constraints – you can only have 12 colours in artwork.
  • Setting up – each colour requires a separate screen.
  • Detail dips – not great for complex images such as photographs.

Our other services

Garment finishing for custom printed and embroidered clothing and merchandise.

Embroidery

You can’t screen print perfectly on every garment, and that’s when embroidery comes into its element. It’s a stunning way to showcase your logo on jackets, hats, bags and workwear – it’s particularly durable and looks and feels premium.

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Direct to garment (DTG) printing t-shirts and tops the uk.

Direct-to-Garment Printing

For this method, the artwork is printed straight onto the garment using a specialized inkjet printer. As it’s a digital process, the result is a higher resolution image and sharper print. It’s a growing part of our business at Fifth Column.

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High quality, professional garment embroidery.

Garment Finishing

After the printing is done, it’s time for the finishing touches to get your garments retail ready: custom labelling, hem tagging, poly bagging and applying stickers all help you put your mark on the product and make it look professional.

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