Screen Printing Terms

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Bleeding
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when ink that is printed moves outside of the printed area onto the surrounding areas of the item that is being printed on
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block out
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-an emulsion like chemical that is mostly not light sensitive -used to fill any openings in stencils on the screen after exposure and washout
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butt registration
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when 2 edges of different printed colors come edge to edge, but do not overlap
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choke
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a type of trap that reduces the size of the first color printed slightly and covers it with another color to trap the underlying color with the overlapping edge of the top of the color
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color composite
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a full color rendition of your design exactly the way you want it to be on the substrate
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continuous tones
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tonal ranges that we are familiar with in pictures the tones are rendered in a continuous shading in full color
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coverage
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-the quality or amount of ink that is laid down onto a shirt when printed through the screen -aka opacity
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cure
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the point where plastisol becomes a wash-durable product (320°)
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crest
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a design printed over the heart area of a tee-shirt
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degrease
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to remove soil, grease or other foreign matter
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dot gain
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a condition where printed dots enlarge from the desired or original size. this is most often due to the excess accumulation of ink around the outside of the stencil perimeters. it can cause areas of halftones to get very dark and thus incorrectly reproduces the art
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drying cabinet
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this is the place where you dry your freshly emulsion coated screens. it can be self contained and light safe with vents or fans that circulate the air for quick drying of emulsion on screens
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durometer
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one of several measures of the hardness of a material. hardness may be defined as a material’s resistance to permanent indentation
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emulsion
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a light sensitive liquid chemical that is applied to the screen, it becomes most light sensitive when dry
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direct liquid emulsion
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a photo reactive liquid chemical applied to screens used to create a stencil
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emulsion remover
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this part of the process is done with we need to reuse the screen for another job. the chemical needed is called reclaimer or stencil remover. It most likely will need to be diluted but there are some that you buy ready to use. it is most often put into a chemical resistant spray bottle and kept with other chemicals in your washout booth
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exposure unit
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a device that emits UV light used to expose a screen and make a photo
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film/film positive
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this is the clear piece of plastic with your artwork printed onto it in all black. translucent papers such as vellum are also used
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flash additives
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most often a catalyst added to ink to reduce the flash cure time needed
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flash cure/flashing
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the process of exposing a printed shirt to a heat source less than that of the curing oven in order to make the ink dry to the touch
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flood and stroke
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these terms refer to the act of spreading ink over the screen and the pushing the ink through the screen respectively
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four color process
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in this type of industrial/commercial printing, the technique used to print full color images such as color photographs, is referred to as four color process printing because four inks are used: three primary colors plus black. the subtractive primary ink colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow, which are abbreviated to CMYK
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frame
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the rectangular wood or metal body used to hold the stretched mesh in a fixed position
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halftone
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halftone is the reprographic process that simulates continuous tone imagery through the use of dots varying either in size or in spacing. halftone can also be used to refer to the image that is produced by this process. where continuous tone imagery reproductions to a binary image that is printed with only one color of ink. this binary reproduction relies on a basic optical principle that these tiny halftone dots are blended into smooth tones in the brain through the human eye
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grayscale
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this is artwork made to reproduce continuous tones by printing small dots in varying proximity and/or density. this is like the pictures you see in the newspaper
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ink well
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the side of the screen where the ink is placed
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light table/exposure uni
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this is the piece of equipment that will shine light on your emulsion coated screen curing the emulsion (or not curing the emulsion where your artwork is). this is known as exposing or burning your screen
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make ready
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the process of preparing the screen, substrates, and printing area for printing
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mesh count
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this is the number that refers to the size of the openings in between the filaments of thread in the mesh. lower numbers like 110 have bigger openings and smaller number like 355 have very small openings. with plastisol inks lower mesh counts leave a heavier rubbery deposit of ink on the shirt. using a higher mesh count will produce a much softer feel to the print
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mesh or fabric
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the polyester material stretched over the frame through which the ink passes
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mesh prep or degreaser
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a chemical or solvent wash designed to degrease and thoroughly clean the screen. this can be a professional screen printing product or common household detergent
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monofilament
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a fiber, strand or thread made of a solid flexible, most often polyester.
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MSDS
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aka Material Safety Data Sheets. these are informational documents with chemical specifications that are often required by law to be kept on hand with the chemicals during use and/or transit
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multi-filament
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a strand or thread made up of twisted woven smaller thread
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newtons
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the newton is the unit of force derived in the SI system; it is equal to the amount of force required to accelerate a mass of one kilo at a rate of one meter/second/second. kilonewons are often used for stating the safety holding values of fasteners, anchors and more in the building industry. the safe working loads in both tension and shear measurements can be stated in kN
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Off contact or lift
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the slight gap between the screen and the substrate for improved printability during the printing process
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pinhole
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small unintended holes in your stencil usually due to dust or other debris contaminating the emulsion during coating or drying
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plastisol ink
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-used for silkscreen or printing on textiles -most often used for printing on garments -good for printing on dark fabrics -made of PVC particles -ink will not dry on its own -can feel soft with higher mesh counts
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printable area
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the area of the screen where the film can be placed without distortion to the artwork. this will tend to be center balanced
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pallet or platen
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the solid smooth surface used to hold a garment for printing
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reclaiming
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this part of the process is done when we need to reuse the screen for another job. the chemical needed is called reclaimer or stencil remover. it most likely will need to be diluted but there are some that you can buy ready to use. it is most often put in a chemical resistant spray bottle and kept with other chemicals in your washout booth
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registration
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the alignments of one color of artwork with another. multi color prints require the different colors of the artwork to line up correctly in relation to one another
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resolution
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the sharpness/clarity of your print
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re-tension-able frames
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frames that have the ability to stretch the mesh during mesh application and later on in the life of the screen. roller frames are a common type of this frame. this has certain benefits over static frames
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scoop coater
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a trough like tool used to coat the screen with emulsion
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screen
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the complete printing unit made of tightened mesh attached to a stable frame
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screen printing
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the act of printing with a scree, stencil, and squeegee onto a substrate
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serigraphy
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a print made by the silk screen process usually by hand
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simulated process
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a process in which multiple opaque colors are used to create a realistic photo like image. using specific spot colors and halftones the process simulated continuous tone images and from a reasonable viewing distance can seem photorealistic
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spot color
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a spot color is any color generated by ink that is printed using a single run. spot colors tend to have large open areas as well as lines in the stencils where the ink will pass. there are no dots or line screens
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spray adhesive
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aerosol spray glue used to keep the shirt in a fixed position on the pallet
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squeegee
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a tool made out of wooden or metal with a rubber blade captured in a clamping mechanism and is used to push the ink through a stencil by pulling the squeegee across the open image area of the screen
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stencil
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on an exposed screen the emulsion portion containing the image to be printed
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substrate
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this is any item that is being printed on. the side of the screen that comes in contact with the substrate is known as the substrate side
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TPI
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threads per inch. the count of thread in one inch of mesh fabric
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trap
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color art separations where the edges of the different colors overlap one another slightly
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under base
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printing colors on dark garments often requires a layer of white ink printed under and before all other colors. this allows the colors to stay true and maintain opacity over the dark fabric
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vacuum
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the vacuum on the light table ensures that the film is in direct contact with the emulsion coated screen and no light is able to pass around the film
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vacuum blanket
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the rubber cover that covers the screen in the exposure unit. it is pulled around the screen by a vacuum
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vector art
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the representation of continuous lines and shapes in digital art through mathematical algorithms
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vellum
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this was originally a translucent material made from animal skin. today it is translucent paper product used in laser printers to produce film positives. it is prone to shrinkage by the fuser and can be problematic with multi color jobs. they most often need a RIP program to achieve usable density
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viscosity
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thickness of an ink
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washout
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the step in which you wash oput the uncured soluble emulsion from the screen with water
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washout booth
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the piece of equipment used to wash screens in. it will always have a light panel in the rear so you may see through the screens as you work with them. several steps in screen printing are actually done here
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water soluble
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able to dissolve in water

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