At Lucky Dog Custom Apparel, we have mastered the art of screen printing. We believe firmly that quality, service, and price should be the foundation of our business, not something you have to choose between. We have been focusing on providing quality screen printing at a fair price since 2004.
We screen print everything from team uniforms to large-scale event apparel, school uniforms, spirit wear and business attire — Lucky Dog Custom Apparel has you covered. We are continuously investing in new, state-of-the-art inks and equipment to make our customers look better than the rest. We follow the retail trends and stay on top of the latest art developments.
THE SCREEN PRINTING PROCESS
Screen printing is using a mesh to transfer layers of ink onto a surface or substrate, such as an article of clothing. The mesh is blocked out by a blocking stencil to achieve the desired design. Most people do not realize how many things happen behind the scenes from the time we get your order to the time your garments are completed.
STEP 1: ART WORK
Once you have placed your order, our art department will review the artwork or art concepts you have provided. We will make any changes necessary to get the design to print optimally taking into consideration the type of fabric it is being printed on, the size of the design, the number of colors in the design, and much more. The time frame for receiving your art proof will vary based on the type of art file provided, the complexity of the design, and the workload of our current schedule.
Once completed, you will receive an email with an art proof showing the design, as well as approximate placement on the selected garment, colors to be printed, and size of the design. Please review your art proof very carefully. Please check and double check ALL SPELLING, PHONE NUMBERS, NAMES and information in your design. We can’t say it enough…CHECK EVERYTHING CAREFULLY! Once you approve the design, we will not be responsible for any errors in the approved artwork or on the finished promotional products.
Remember, the colors in the proof may appear differently on each computer monitor. You can view our standard ink colors here, but if you’re unsure what the actual color looks like, we have accurate color swatches at the shop. Come in and look at them. It’s the best way to know what the color will look like. We use a PMS color book to reference colors and speak the same color language without relying on the computer monitor. Location and size are also estimated; however, the artist will show the size of each imprint on the proof. Again, if you are unsure when viewing the proof, call and speak to your sales rep. We are more than happy to assist you through the process and answer any questions.
Now that the screen printing artwork is approved, your order is sent into production. Sorry, but changes can no longer be made without affecting the in-hands date and incurring charges.
STEP 2: COLOR SEPARATION AND FILM OUTPUT
After receiving the final “artwork approval” our art department will output the artwork onto film. Depending on whether your artwork is one color or a more advanced multi-colored design, a separate film, and a separate screen has to be created for each color in your design. The process by which we separate and deconstruct your artwork into individual colors is called color separation.
STEP 3: PRE-PRESS MEETING
On more advanced and difficult orders, our staff will come together and hold a pre-press meeting. This meeting will consist of the sales department, graphic artist, and our production staff to go over any final details on how we can get this job done, and most importantly get it done RIGHT. Your satisfaction will always be our priority.
STEP 4: SCREEN EXPOSURE
When it is time to create the screens, your artwork is sent to the pre-press area for processing. Your artwork gets exposed onto pre-stretched screen(s) that has been coated with a photo-reactive emulsion. This screen has been coated, dried, and kept in a climate controlled dark room until ready for use. The film is then put on a specialized light table one-by-one and exposed to a special light to “burn” the artwork onto the screen(s). The screen is then moved to a huge wash bay where it is sprayed with water to remove the excess emulsion.
STEP 5: SCREEN PREP FOR PRODUCTION
Once the screen has dried from the wash bay, it is inspected to ensure that the screen images are as expected to match the design. The outside edges of the screens are taped; the screens are checked for completeness — are all the details and fine lines visible? Is the screen ready for printing?
STEP 6: INK
Once the screens are prepped, they are locked and registered onto our M & R printing presses and loaded with ink. We offer a full range of high-quality, environmentally-safe standard ink colors as well as PMS color mixing to match any color in your design (your Customer Service Rep will discuss custom PMS matching charges if required). Please keep in mind that when printing on dark garments, white ink must often be printed under colors so they will show up and stand out from the dark background.
STEP 7: SET UP
There’s actually an abundance of effort that goes into setting up our machines for your order. Press operators must consider the amount of off contact, squeegee speed, and squeegee angle as well as other technical aspects associated with screen printing. After the initial set up, these settings are noted in our order tracking system so that set up takes less time for a re-order of the same design.
STEP 8: PRODUCTION
So now the design is set up on the press, the inks are loaded on the screens, and we are ready to print. Your shirts are printed with the back design first, then the front. They are separated into sizes, counted 12 to a bundle, quality checked for correct colors, correct information, and accurate quantities before being boxed. All that in 7 – 10 business days or less!
If you’re not sure what products to put your custom print on, view our express catalog to get some ideas! Still have questions? Get in touch with our team today. Need tips on designing a great graphic? View our expert’s advice here.
Contact us at 609-645-7319 to speak with a Lucky Dog customer service representative about our screen printing services, or request a quote.