One of the popular types of T-shirts involves printing - screen printing. The clothing is usually mass-produced with a particular design printed on large numbers of T-shirts in different colors of ink and on different colored material. In order to begin this process, you need material that will absorb the ink. It has to be tightly stretched across a frame and have a stencil attached to it. Each stencil contains one color and for every different color you want to add, you have to use a different stencil. Using a separate squeezee for each color, you push the stencil into the garment. This is a painstaking process if it has to be done by hand, but in a factory setting there are machines that perform this process. When all the colors have been pressed into the stencils for printing, the screen has to be dried and cured so that the ink will not run or wash out the first time the T-shirt is washed. There are many types of decorators who use this method of printing on a screen and each type needs a different kind of specialized knowledge. The first stage of the printing process begins with the person who creates the design and the stencil needed to imprint it on the T-shirt. This process requires a person who is artistic and able to have an eye for color to create designs that will sell quickly. A contract decorator does nothing only print. Such a person or business sells large quantities of imprinted clothing - usually to retailers. The printer used is automated to allow for the manufacture of mass market as well as custom designs. With the numbers of T-shirts with designs that are currently on the market, it would be impossible to have all of the imprinting done by hand. When you are considering the artwork for printing on a screen, you have to look at colors that fit together as in the color wheel. You have to look at the type of garment and the material, in order to choose the proper ink that will be easy to imprint. The artwork has to be scaled down to fit on T-shirts for children and made larger for oversize garments. All of this work has to be finalized before any printing takes place. It is usually the process that requires the most manpower, as there are machines that will do most of the other work, even folding and packaging the T-shirts.
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