Printing the Maisy tea towel

A 100% cotton tea towel that is screen printed and heat-cured through huge gas dryers ensuring excellent colour-fastness. After the fabric is screen printed the tea towel is stitched together with a handy hanging loop.

Location

Lincolnshire

Speciality

Textiles

The Maisy tea towel started life as a sketch on my computer, once I had confirmed the size and placement of the artwork from here it was sent to the factory where it was turned into a black and white version.

Screen printing

It is known by many names, screen printing, serigraphy, silk printing, but they all refer to the same printing technique — a millenary method that consists of using screens to transfer colours. Screen printing has got its fair share of fanatics and for good reason. It is a simple technique that allows for great quality and vibrant prints. Because of the thick inks, screen prints have been known to keep their vibrancy for years and years. Due to the composition and thickness of inks used in screen printing, designs placed with this method can withstand far more stress than others without losing the quality of the print.

“The Screen”

This is a structure that consists of a frame onto which a mesh is attached under tension. The mesh is coated or covered with a photosensitive material. The image to be printed is created photographically on the stencil leaving open areas of mesh through which ink passes. Using state-of-the-art direct-to-screen technology, the screen was created ready to print the tea towel design.

A temporary bond is formed by means of the relationship between the surface energy of the substrate and the surface tension of the ink. The ink wets the substrate.

As the squeegee moves away, the tension in the mesh pulls the stencil away from the ink film. The temporary bond draws ink out of the mesh openings and leaves a film of ink on the substrate. There is always a small percentage of ink left in the mesh. The squeegee removes any ink that may be left on top of the stencil.

Once the fabric has been printed it is heat-cured through huge gas dryers ensuring excellent colour-fastness.

Curing is the process of heating the ink to the correct temperature over the correct time specific to the type of ink you are using.

Check out the little video I made to see how the screen printing is done…

Video & Photography by Torie Jayne

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