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Screen Printing vs Heat Press


Screen Printing and Heat Press are the two most commonly used types of fabric printings. These two types of fabric printing are mostly used for creating images on fabric. They however tend to differ in terms of the quality of images created on the fabric, the durability of the print as well as the kids of resolution of the images that are actually created. Let’s look at them one by one then do a comparison to get to decipher which one is best suited for fabric printing.

Screen Printing

• In this very old printing method, design stencils are created using a screen.
• Thereafter, the screen is spread with some ink, and the fabric and material underneath get printed with the ink in the specific areas that you want designed.
• At any given time, only one color can be used on the screen. You, therefore, need to use several screens if at all you want to get a design that is multicolored.

Heat Press Printing

• In this type of printing that has been a recent innovation, images are transferred on fabrics using a heat transfer system that uses both pressure and heat.
• Pressure of about 40 to 80 psi; and a temperature of 400 degrees is used for embedding the designs onto the fabrics using the machines.
• The desired design is printed on a piece of special paper using special ink; then transferred onto the fabric by applying heat and pressure.
• The fabric onto which the heat is being applied to transfer the designs contain an adhesive that is heat-sensitive on one side. The material will therefore in turn adhere to the substrate that is being pressed and applied to it hence creating different designs.
• The heat transfer happens using digital and vinyl print methods using a machine that is heat pressed.
• In the process involving the vinyl procedure of heat transfer, the desired designs and letters are transferred onto the material being printed from colored vinyl.
• For the digital heat transfer, the image is first graphically designed on a computer, then printed digitally on a paper of high quality before being transferred onto the fabric material using a solvent ink that is special.

Comparison between the Screen Printing and the Heat Press Printing Methods

• Printing on fabrics that is done using screen printing produces designs that are very durable. For the heat pressed prints, despite their resolution, the prints tend to fade much faster with time. The screen printing lasts longer because, during printing, the ink is actually fully embedded into the fabric thus becoming part of it. The heat-pressed prints however tend to fade because the ink often just sits on top of the fabric.
• In matters of quality, the prints produced using the screen printing will also remain to be of very good quality even after some time. While the freshly printed fabric from the heat press may appear to be of good quality while still fresh, you will notice that after some time the quality will greatly depreciate.
• In terms of machine washing and drying, the fabrics printed using heat press tend to greatly fade and appear cracked while cleaned using a washing machine. It is therefore very discouraging for them to be machine cleaned and dried. However, for the fabric that is screen printed, you will not have to worry about this since the prints will hold fast even when machine washed and dried.
• For cost efficiency, the heat press printing is cost-effective only when a small order is required. The screen printing on the other hand is cost-effective for quantities that are larger and thus is more efficient, as it can produce many orders and is not limited at all.
• The screen printing also allows for printing on fabrics that are dark-colored and results in the fabrics having a soft feel after printing. The heat press, on the other hand, does not work very well on fabrics that are dull in color and results in the fabric having a feeling that is quite stiff.

Printing that is done using the screen print method is more convenient in terms of quality and durability in comparison to that done using the heat press. There are very many advantages that come with the screen-printing method. The heat press may seem to be versatile in terms of the number of colors and designs that can be used but has very many limitations that compromise it.

Visit Champion Embroidery And Screen Printing for all your printing needs.