Image incorporated is a leading provider of screen prints and embroidery designs for the whole of Richmond VA, but what does screen printing mean?

The simplest definition of screen printing is a technique which uses a stencil, (which is normally the image or logo which is being printed), to pass ink through to the material receiving the design. In other words the stencil delimits the shape and colours of the logo such that ink can be transferred to fabric, paper, wood or any other desired material. If there is a part of the design or logo which needs to be blank, so that the material underneath is visible, that section of the stencil is covered with a substance which is impermeable to, or will repel the type of ink being applied.

In screen printing the ink is applied as individual colors, so if your design has three colours ink will be squeezed into the fabric three times, i.e. one run for each colour. Each run uses a different screen to apply different coloured inks to the right part of the material through the stencil.

How does screen printing work?

The different inks in screen printing are applied using capillary action. This applies across nature for instance in trees and plants absorb water from the soil and transpire it through their leaves. It also explains why liquid wax will travel up a candle wick before combustion as vapour. We can measure capillary action by looking at how much liquids move when they are in a confined circular space. It is a function of the degree of surface tension between water molecules in a liquid medium and the surface the medium comes into contact with.

For screen printing the colors in a logo are produced by the attraction of water molecules and the material it is coming into contact with. The material and water are brought close together in a narrow confined space which draws the fluid into the material. The water forms a thin film around individual spaces within the material being printed, surface tension (and therefore the level of attraction), is strongest near the spaces. The ink is forced into the material and held there by the surface tension of the water molecules.

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