The Screen Printing Process

Most do not realize how many things happen behind the scenes between receiving the official Purchase Order to actually completing the order.


As soon as we receive your art, our art department will review the artwork. Our art department will review the art & will make any changes necessary to get the design to print the best taking many of things in consideration (i.e. what type of fabric is it being printed on, the size of the design, & much more.)


After art submission, comes your artwork proof. Our art department after reviewing & preparing your artwork will then create a digital artwork proof for your approval. This digital artwork proof will be a mock-up of your artwork on the garment color to show you the approximate sizing your design will be printed in, and a general replica of how your finished apparel will look.

Please review your artwork proof very carefully, please check & double check ALL SPELLING, & other elements of your design. Any errors found after you approve your artwork are solely your responsibility.

Once you approve the artwork, production of your garment will begin and changes can no longer be made. The colors in the proof are for artistic representation only, each computer monitor is calibrated differently and accurate colors cannot be viewed on your computer screen. The placement on the proof is also only representational, exact size and location may vary. Any artwork concerns should be addressed with our staff before approving your art.


After receiving the final “approval” our art department then will kick the artwork out onto film(s). Depending whether your artwork is just 1 or a more advanced multi-colored design. A separate film, and separate screen has to be created for each color in your design. The process in which we separate & deconstruct your artwork into individual colors, is called color separation.


Time for your artwork to be burnt (or exposed) onto silk screen(s) is the process of creating a screen stencil from the image on the film(s). A pre-stretched screen is coated with a photo-reactive emulsion and dried & kept in a climate controlled dark room. The film(s) are then put on a specialized light table one by one & exposed to a special light to “burn” the artwork onto the silk screen(s). The screen is then moved to a huge wash bay where it is sprayed with water to remove the excess emulsion & finish creating your stencil.


Once the screen has dried from the wash bay, our production staff is now ready to tape off the outside edges of the screens with masking tape to prevent excess ink from getting into the cracks of the screens, to assist in easier clean-up once we have completed the order. Our production team is responsible for holding these screens up to light & checking every little fine detail in the logo(s). They will then take a special “Pin-Hole” marker & mark out any problem areas they see with the production of this design. This prevents the occurrence of pin-holes (tiny holes in the stencil that allow unwanted dots on a shirt).


Once the screens are all prepped & locked & loaded onto our printing presses ink is loaded onto each screen for that order. We offer custom PMS color mixing to match any color in your design.  Please keep in mind that when printing on dark garments white ink must often be printed behind any colors so they will show up on the garment.  This can sometimes lead to colors being a little lighter than originally mixed.  More often than not its not a problem and your colors will come out to be quite vibrant even on dark garments.


Press operators must consider the amount of off contact, squeegee speed and squeegee angle as well as other technical aspects associated with screen printing.

Have a Screen Printing design that needs to go from concept to reality? Get in touch with a Hotspot Printing & Packaging specialist today!  You can call us, 310-538-2540, or submit a quote online.

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