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Must-read right now: Popular screenprinting myths debunked

16th November 2020 Print

Screenprinting is one of the most popular methods for printing t-shirt designs in bulk, with modern screenprinting machines allowing for thousands of t-shirts to be printed per hour. The technique comes with some myths that may put people off from using this method, though, so we've given an objective response to each to make your own decision.

Screenprinting is bad for the environment.

The impact of screenprinting ink on the environment is becoming one of the main concerns with the method, and perhaps a few years ago, this was justified. Older types of inks weren't biodegradable, but as the technology improves, this is changing with an increasing number of companies using plastisol ink, which is biodegradable and much better for the environment. There has also been an increase in the number of companies using water-based inks, which are even better for the environment than plastisol ink as they use no plastics at all. 

Water-based inks have additional advantages, such as being better for the wearer's skin and creating a t-shirt that feels lighter and more comfortable. When water-based inks are used, the cleaning process after printing is far easier and can be done using water with no added chemicals that are even better for the environment. When looking for a screenprinting partner, take some time to ask what type of ink they use, and choose a supplier that uses water-based ink if this is important to you.

You can't create gradients with screenprinting.

It's true that traditional screenprinting can't recreate gradients, and that other printing methods are generally superior if this is needed for your design. Some more modern screenprinting machines can create a gradient look by mixing inks, though, so it will be worth checking with your printer if this is an option for your design. The gradient level will be limited, but depending on your design, it may be possible. If you need a screenprinting partner, click here for an excellent example of a versatile screenprinting service. 

You can only use screenprinting for large-scale orders.

Screenprinting is most effective for large-scale orders due to the setup time and cost being the same, regardless of the number of shirts that need printing. The smaller-scale the run, the higher the overall cost. This doesn't mean that screenprinting can't be used for small batches, though, and especially for simple designs with only one or two colors, it can still be a very viable option.

Screenprinting is only for t-shirts.

Screenprinting is most associated with t-shirts as this is the most common material that people want to print on, but screenprinting can be used for any fabric that you wish to print.

Screenprinting doesn't work well on dark materials.

This used to be when screenprinting techniques were less developed, but the methods have improved significantly in the last couple of decades. New ink types mean that it's possible to print your design onto very dark fabric and still develop a vibrant design.