Screen printing is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil to receive a desired image. The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink or other printable materials which can be pressed through the mesh as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate. A fill blade or squeegee is moved across the screen stencil, forcing or pumping ink through the mesh openings to wet the substrate during the squeegee stroke. Basically, it is the process of using a mesh-based stencil to apply ink onto a substrate, whether it be t-shirts, posters, stickers, vinyl, wood, or other material.
Screen printing is also a stencil method of print making in which a design is imposed on a screen of polyester or other fine mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance. Ink is forced into the mesh openings by the fill blade or squeegee and onto the printing surface during the squeegee stroke. As the screen rebounds away from the substrate the ink remains on the substrate. It is also known as silkscreen, serigraphy, and serigraph printing. One colour is printed at a time, so several screens can be used to produce a multicoloured image or design.
Embroidery is the method used for decorating fabrics with a needle and a thread. Embroidery styles and techniques vary greatly but in this tutorial, DMC will be featuring free style or “surface embroidery.” This decorative stitching technique, with its varied stitches, is worked independently from the fabric’s weave allowing you to embroider any design, realistic or abstract, onto any fabric you choose. Surface Embroidery offers you the greatest versatility to create beautiful designs using DMC’s colorful threads and specialty fibers.
A heat press is a machine engineered to imprint a design or graphic on a substrate, such as a t-shirt, with the application of heat and pressure for a preset period of time. While heat presses are often used to apply designs to fabrics, they can also be used to imprint designs on mugs, plates, jigsaw puzzles, and other products.
Both manual and automatic heat presses are widely available. A new style of press that is semi-automatic has entered the market as well, allowing for a manual closing process with an automatic opening. Digital technology in newer machines enables precise control of heat and pressure levels and timing. The most common types of heat press employ a flatplaten to apply heat and pressure to the substrate. In the “clamshell” design, the upper heat element in the press opens like a clamshell, while in the “swing-away” design, the heat platen swings away from the lower platen. Another design type a “draw style press” allows for the bottom platen to be pulled out like a drawer away from the heat for preparation of the graphic. Vacuum presses utilise air pressure to provide the necessary force and can achieve high psi ratings.
A dye-sublimation printer (or dye-sub printer) is a computer printer which employs a printing process that uses heat to transfer dye onto materials such as a plastic, card, paper, or fabric. The sublimation name was first applied because the dye was considered to transition between the solid and gas states without going through a liquid stage. This understanding of the process was later shown to be incorrect; since then the process is sometimes known as dye-diffusion, though this has not eliminated the original name. Many consumer andprofessional dye-sublimation printers are designed and used for producing photographic prints, ID cards, and so on.
These are not to be confused with dye sublimation heat transfer imprinting printers, which use special inks to create transfers designed to be imprinted on textiles, and in which the dyes do indeed sublimate.
Some dye-sublimation printers use CMYO (Cyan Magenta Yellow Overcoating) colors, which differs from the more recognized CMYK colors in that the black is eliminated in favour of a clear overcoating. This overcoating (which has numerous names depending on the manufacturer) is also stored on the ribbon and is effectively a thin layer which protects the print from discoloration from UV light and the air, while also rendering the print water-resistant.
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