The Science of Screen Printing Mesh

Posted by Jeffrey Gononsky on

Are you looking for the best-woven material to provide high-quality screen printing results? Whether you’re looking to print vibrant colors onto hoodies or produce matching t-shirts to wear with your friends the next time you get together, you can save time and money by selecting the correct thread count for your screen to match your project’s design.

With the current advancements in screen printing technology, using the best screen mesh material has made screen printing more accessible than ever before for beginners. Screen printers will want to expand their inventory of screen printing mesh to provide quality products of soft and durable material with clean prints to potential customers. So, how does the woven count of fibers on your screen printers make a difference in results?

Ready For A Brief History Lesson?

You may love the benefits of printing creative and fun stencils onto various surfaces, but do you know how this technique came to be? Screen printing has been around since China’s Song Dynasty when they developed the method of transferring designs with ink onto fabric. Initially, the Chinese used the mesh to push ink onto surfaces with human hair. However, they soon found that silk was a better alternative.

Through China’s influence, the creative process of reproducing beautiful stencils on various objects spread worldwide. It wasn’t until the 20th century that squeegees were introduced to the screen printing world. This tool would help artists experiment more with their medium, refining the technique until screen printing is what we know it to be today.

What is Screen Printing?

Have you ever wanted to print a picture you drew or photographed onto a tote bag or t-shirt but weren’t sure how to proceed? Screen printing allows you to transfer your designs onto a wide range of objects like clothing, decorations, and accessories. This process occurs by pressing ink onto a surface through a specially designed screen of fine material, also known as screen printing mesh.

Emulsion is a vital process in the photo stencil phase of screen printing. This liquid or film generates an ink-resistant frame around your print’s design, preventing the pattern from wearing down as quickly and keeping it in place as you print. An emulsion is ingrained into a mesh screen to transfer properly, creating a stencil design that guides ink into your desired pattern while preventing the stencil from extending out of the pattern. 

What is Screen Mesh Material?

Screen mesh for printing is the woven fibers that create openings for diverse types of ink to be pushed through the gaps and onto surfaces to craft unique, customizable, and high-quality designs.

While you want to focus on how your final design will look on whatever you are screen printing, the material you choose also plays a crucial role. Screen mesh material comes in a large variety of mesh counts that can significantly affect the final results of your project. What you choose for screen mesh material can make or break a good design.

Mesh count can affect types of prints in unique ways that may be detrimental or an advantage. How many fibers are within a square inch of the screen indicates how many openings are available in the screen mesh. Therefore you will want to pick mesh counts based on how much ink you want to push through the screen’s openings.

Choose An Appropriate Count

If you are looking for an affordable screen printing mesh that works well with low-detailed designs, you can save time and money by utilizing a low-count screen with 30 to 61 mesh and 80 to 86 mesh. Remember that thicker inks disperse better in screens with lower counts due to their ability to hold more emulsion, so it can take longer for your prints to dry.

Is your project going to incorporate glitter ink? You may be surprised that lower mesh count screens are more efficient as finely woven mesh count may get blocked by the higher count of pigments in the sparkly ink.

Try experimenting with different types of screen mesh for printing with various inks to establish your personal preferences for your projects. If you want to expand your screen printing supply, a traditional silkscreen mesh composed of monofilament polyester is a durable and flexible material, perfect for realistic patterns for t-shirts, accessories, and home decor.

When choosing your screen printing mesh, remember that different mesh counts work well with other inks. Suppliers typically determine the price of screen printing mesh to the quantity of mesh, mesh count, and performance on different fabric materials.

What Are The Benefits of Screen Printing Mesh?

Did you know that mesh with higher thread counts per square inch helps your emulsion bond better to your stencil when screen printing? This will reduce the possibility of ink buildup and soften edges on designs when desired. Outside of the excellent versatility that various mesh counts provide printers, you will also benefit from using thin and standard threads when printing unique and fun designs.

Due to the complexities of screen printing, understanding your projects’ needed woven thread count and how different inks complement specific projects will vastly reduce the time it takes you to reproduce designs. Mix and match colors on diverse fabric materials to find what you like best.

Now that you understand the science behind screen printing mesh, you can make an informed decision as you work on your next project. Whether you want to print on photorealistic images through high mesh count screens or need more openings for bigger and bolder designs, Holden’s Screen Supply Corp supplies all your screen printing needs. We offer screen printing meshes with minimum counts of 60 all the way to 380 woven fibers.

Reach out to us today for more information on how to save money on high-quality and durable screen printing materials.