A printing method in which a stencil is created on a mesh silk screen, ink is then forced over the screen directly onto the material below. For each color in a graphic a separate screen is needed. There are two types of silk screen, traditional and screen sublimation. With traditional screen printing an ink known as plastisol is used. The colors are screen printed, one at a time, onto the material and allowed to dry. The ink sits on top of the material. You can tell is something is printing using plastisol ink by running your hand over the graphic. If you can feel the graphic that means it is sitting on top of the material and was printing using the traditional screen printing method.
Traditional screen print allows for a vibrate, bright print but does not offer the same long term durability or polished look of screen sublimation. Traditional screen printing can be used on a wide variety of material; fabrics, vinyl, PVC, plastic, etc.
Screen Sublimation is similar to traditional screen printing but it uses a different type of ink. Once all the colors have been screened onto the fabric the ink is allowed to dry. Once the inks are dry to the touch the fabric is then goes through the "heat and steam" process where the fabric is placed into a large boiler that forces the ink into the material. After "heat and steam" the fabric is washed to clean off extra ink and brighten the colors. Unlike traditional screen printing with screen sublimation, once the fabric has gone through heat and steam the inks are imbedded into the material. Screen sublimation creates a polished look and allows for a longer life span of the print.
4 Color Process
4 color process (a.k.a. 4 c/p or full color)- A printing process that uses four colors of ink: yellow, magenta, cyan and black (known as CMYK), to create any color of the
For textiles, this process is done with a set of screens (see “screen printing"), one for each of the 4 colors.
These screens are extremely intricate and only allow tiny amounts of color through.
The colors are layered to create the image as colors as opposed to traditional silk screen where the colors do not overlap. 4 color process screen printing is used when an image
has many colors, has a lot of small colorfully details or a picture is being reproduced. Since the introduction of digital printing, 4 colors process screen printing is used mostly for large quantity orders.
Digital Printing On Fabric
Printing done by machine where the ink is printed on the material in a dot matrix manner. The best way to explain digital printing is to imagine a very large printer like the one you use at home. As the material is feed through the machine, the ink heads deposit a small amount of ink in just the right place to produce your image. Digital printing is similar to 4 color process but instead of using screens the printer deposits the ink.
There are two types of digital printing, sublimation and direct. In the sublimation process a thin sheet of paper is placed between the material and the ink. The ink is first transferred to the paper then using high heat the sublimated (or imbedded) ink is then transferred into the material. In the direct process the inks are deposited directly on to the fabric and then the inks are heated. During the heating process the inks are sublimated into the fabric. The bleed through on all types of digital prints varies.
How to Print on Blanks
AGAS offers blank flags in a variety of sizes, materials and colors. Blank flags can be used in a variety of ways, from class projects to professional printing.
Permanent markers and puffy paints are great ways to produce a custom flag at home or in the classroom. If you are using our blank flags for a professional print job please keep in mind that fabrics, inks and drying times vary from supplier to supplier and AGAS always suggests doing a test before printing a large run. All materials are ready for printing (most standard inks will work) although you will only be able to sublimate on the white flags.
The specifics temperature for drying is dependent on the type and brand of machine being using and can vary quite a bit. All flags come finished with the standard finishing (see flag finishing) and are hemmed all around. 2 sided flags
are sewn together with a liner in the middle that will in most cases keep the inks from bleeding through.
We can leave the fly end open on 2 sided blanks upon request (production time may vary as this is not stock).