Screen Print

The screen print — a.k.a. ‘silkscreen print’ or ‘serigraphy’ — imbues logos with excellent stretchiness and durability.

Its relatively low price on large orders is one of its great fortes.

Product profile

Screen print
Color space
PANTONE Solid Coated
Color amount
Plastisol or water-based
Sheet/scaled printing
Not available
OEKO-TEX, Appendix 6 and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)Version 6.0
★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ☆ ☆
★ ☆ ☆ ☆
★ ★ ★ ☆
★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★
Color clarity
★ ★ ☆ ☆
Color matching
★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★

: The stars suggest which product types and methods of manufacture bestmeet specific needs. They do not indicate product quality.


The technique is believed to originate in China’s Zhou dynasty (2-3,000 years ago) and is known with certainty to have been used in Europe and Asia from the 17th century onward. In the modern age, it burst into popular culture in the 1960’s when Andy Warhol published a portfolio of screen-printed flowers and displayed it in his popular Leo Castelli gallery. It soon after became intensely popular as the preferred method for t-shirt embellishment.


The screen print presses color through a fine mesh and onto a textile. The mesh is tightened across a wooden or metallic frame, a so-called ‘stencil’ (screen) —which is the motif to be printed — is attached, and color is spread evenly across the full frame with a squeegee. The color is then pressed through the mesh, falling onto the areas of the substrate not covered by the screen/motif. The resulting outline comprises the print.

The screen print has the best possible durability and stretchiness of all textile prints, as the applied color is pressed into the fabric, becoming one with it. The durability and stretchiness the fabric has beforehand are thus not altered by the screen print. This makes it suitable for use in e.g. the food industry, where prints for reasons of hygiene must never disintegrate and fall off.

The screen print is relatively lacking in its ability to render small particulars like gradients, i.e gradual transitions between colors. For this reason, the screen print should ceteris paribus not be the preferred method when natural and realistic depictions such as human faces need to be printed. In such instances, we instead recommend the digital transfer, which handles gradients with ease. Conversely, the screen print excels in rendering simpler graphical elements for which less time is required to create the accompanying screens.

The weight of the screen print depends on its color count. The more colors applied, the weightier the print. The screen print will, however, always be comparatively thinner and lighter than the transfer by which colors are not absorbed but deposited on the surface.

Typically, the screen print’s opacity is not a good as that of the transfer. This is, however, not always the case and depends on the fibers and how they react to the application process. In some cases, the fibers will prick up under pressure with the effect of making the print less clear. We always evaluate each individual print on a case by case basis to determine if the expected cover will meet expectations.

If the textile substrate is changed between prints, slight differences between each print can occur. Conversely, if the substrate remains unchanged between prints, the screen print yields a print-by-print consistency sufficient for almost any purpose. The screen print is primarily used for large orders because of its comparatively long setup time. It is rarely cost-effective to print a mere handful of t-shirts after spending several hours creating the accompanying screens.

As a general rule, the screen print is made with plastisol but can upon request be made with water-based ink. Plastisol is ceteris paribus the more price-conscious solution, while water-based is the more sustainable. Since each color can only be applied separately, the screen print is typically used for designs with few colors. At Jet Sport we accommodate up to eight colors per design before switching to another printing method.