Screen printing is a fairly self-explanatory term. Screens are used to print designs in ink onto different mediums. Let's take a look at how that's done.
The first step in screen creation is the design. Special art programs are utilized to print the design onto a plastic film. Each color of the design is printed in black ink for this step.
For the next step of the process, the films are aligned and taped face-down on the back of screens. These screens, much like pixels in a monitor, allow for higher or lower resolutions of images to be printed. The higher the mesh count, the less ink that passes through. Certain designs, such as bold athletic letters or numbers, don't require a high mesh count because they don't contain much detail.
Other designs might have a fade or shadow that requires a higher mesh count to make the effect work well.
A photosensitive coating, called emulsion, covers the screen. This layer of emulsion fills in the mesh so ink can't pass through, except where the design will be.
Once the appropriate screen is chosen and the film is in the correct orientation, it's placed in a vacuum-sealed exposure unit which uses ultraviolet light to cure the emulsion. The design on the film, being entirely black, blocks out all of the light to the portion of the screen it covers.
After about two minutes, the screen is taken to a washout booth where a pressure washer removes the uncured emulsion. When the screen is dry, it's ready to print!
From start to finish, the creation of a single screen takes about 15 minutes.