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How It Works- Screen Printing and the History Behind It

If you look in your closet or drawers right now I am almost certain you will find a t-shirt that has a design on it made with screen printing. It could be a shirt with a logo on it, or a saying, or even a really cool design. Screen printing is when you force ink onto a fabric with a prepared screen of metal that ends up creating an image on the fabric. Seems simple enough, right?

How It Works- Screen Printing and the History Behind It-1

This process was founded around 1,000 years ago. Yes, you read that right, one thousand years ago in the Song Dynasty of China.They used silk as a mesh but the exact details aren’t really clear. This idea of silk screening moved its way to surrounding countries and eventually made its way to Western Europe in the late 1800s. Here, silk mesh was more affordable and available which made it easier to almost start commercial use for screen printing.

The early 1900’s was a competitive time for screen printers that all tried to protect their methods and wanted patents for it. Around this time screen printing became commercialized where it was used for advertising on posters and other materials. By the mid 1900s, screen printed t-shirts became a thing. This became a way to express yourself. When many social movements starting happening around this time, students and artists learned the process of screen printing. It helped them create colorful designs on shirts and posters that they could use.

From then, the process became easier and with today’s technology you can choose more patterns, colors, and prints. It’s more available and cheaper too. Screen printing isn’t just for t-shirts. For almost 50 years we have produced and sold screen printed products including tote bags, cookie tin lids, steel guitar fretboards, posters, and anti-fatigue mats, in addition to t-shirts. Screen printing is a pretty cool process and is super useful when wanting to advertise yourself or even just create something fun!

Hannah B

Posted by Hannah B

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