Screen Printer Orange County: We Answer Your Questions about the Process

Whether you’re celebrating a milestone occasion with family, promoting your business, or building your brand, custom screen printing is a great way to display your message.

But what exactly is the screen printing process? What can you expect from a custom screen printing service? Answers to these questions and more below!

What Are the Three Types of Screen Printing?


This is the type of screen printing people are the most familiar with – you may have even done it yourself in an art class! Colors are applied one at a time through a screen to build up a design.

But while you may have done the process by hand, a professional screen print shop typically has an automated machine to aid in production. The shirt is adhered to a conveyer belt, and mechanical arms set up the screen and apply paint to it.

Flat-bed printing can be time-consuming, and the service has a slightly higher per-item cost, but it’s great for small runs of custom shirts or a project that requires a lot of detail.


The cylinder process is a modified form of the flatbed one. A mechanical cylinder raises the fabric to the print screen. Color is applied, and the fabric is lowered as the cylinder continues to turn.

This type of custom screen printing is great for printing long banners.


In rotary printing, screens are wrapped around large cylinders. Ink is then applied one color per cylinder. The items go under the cylinders, building up the design.

Rotary printing is more efficient and can go much faster than traditional flat-bed screening, though it does require more equipment and know-how.

How Does CMYK Screen Printing Work?

CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, the four basic colors when it comes to screen printing. It’s great for white backgrounds where you want to build up an intricate design.

Printing screens are used to overlap the four basic colors to create thousands of shades. This kind of screen printing is especially good for photographs.

Does CMYK Look Different on Screen?

The CMYK image will be brighter on screen than it appears on t shirts. However, you can mitigate some of the effect by using the right Photoshop color profile. Talk to our design team for tips!

What Is the Difference between Sublimation and Screen Printing?

If you’re a bit older, perhaps you remember the iron-on letters that used to adorn homemade company t-shirts and Little League jerseys. Sublimation is like a much higher quality and longer-lasting version of that.

In sublimation, the pattern is printed on heat transfer paper. That paper, along with the garment, is fed into the heat press machine. The high heat causes what’s on the paper to be impressed within the fibers.

Sublimation has its place, but screen printing production is better for natural fiber garments, bold designs, and specialty inks.

What Ink Options Do I Have?


Plastisol is PVC-based, meaning that it’s durable and high quality. That makes it a good choice for custom crew shirts and sports teams.

Plastisol also works great for producing bold, vibrant screen printing on darker shirts.


Textured printing effects can help your custom t-shirt stand out from the crowd. We use a special additive that will make the design or logo raised on custom shirts or hoodies for your businesses.


Metallic colors are great for adding a touch of elegance and swagger to your business promotional items. Specialized metal powders are added to printing inks to give them shine and glitter.


What’s more fun than glow-in-the-dark? The style is great for a Scout sleepover, nighttime brand event, or even a bachelor/ette bar crawl.


Discharge inks remove some of the fabric dye where they’re printed, allowing the screen print pigments to replace it. The result is a smoother, more natural-looking design that looks fantastic on dark fabrics.


When you need your custom design to stand out, go with this option. We apply a thicker pigment in several coats to give a 3D effect great for a project with a textured logo or bold graphics.

What Can I Get Screen Printed?

The kinds of garments you can get screen printed are almost endless – team t shirts, hoodies, aprons, sweatpants, and more can all be successfully screen printed.

Talk with your screen print business to see what kind of garments they have on offer.

What Does a Successful Screen Print Design Look Like?

It’s not all about rushed jobs and same-day service – that’s a road to disappointment.

Creating a successful pattern requires a bit of thought and skill. Of course, you can always go to an Orange County print shop that has a professional design team in-house.


The best custom screen prints are simple. Don’t include too many fiddly details – for example, you may not want to draw leaves on a tree or hair on an animal.

Any text in your mockup should be large and clear. Avoid using cursive fonts or including more text beyond basic info like name or phone number. If it’s not absolutely necessary, don’t include it.


Whether you’re modifying a photo or drawing something custom in Photoshop, make sure the resolution is as high as possible. 300 dpi (dots per inch) is the industry standard.

Remember that images will look muddier on a shirt than they do on the computer screen – starting from something clean and crisp is your best bet.

Vector Graphics

Not every computer image is made up of pixels – with vector graphics, the basic building blocks of images are lines and shapes. What this means is vector graphic images can be enlarged or scaled down with no loss in quality, making it perfect for screen printing.

Need help converting an image into vector graphics? Talk to your Orange County print shop!

Ink on Cotton – Your Orange County Screen Printer!

Whether you need professional in house design services, embroidery services, or screen printing, Ink on Cotton is there for you! Our talented team offers great quality and top notch service at an affordable price.

We can accommodate any size order, large or small. We also have the ability to do split shipping, packaging, and rush jobs for individuals. brands, and businesses.

Contact us today to learn how we can service your company. Get started working with our business and wear your logo with pride!

Get in touch now!

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