I am sure you have seen with every shop in Jacksonville Florida or Orange Park Florida, there is always something called a screen set up fee. I am sure you were told a price like $7 per custom printed shirt for 100 shirts, but realized on the invoice was more then $700. This is because a screen has to be emulsed, burned, and washed out. This can be a pretty long process and can get costly.
When it comes to screen printing, after the art is finalized, it is time to burn that art into a screen.
1 You take a clean screen, and you cover it with UV emulsion (clink the word emulsed for a video). This is usually a blue liquid that will in turn dry solid clogging the holes in the screen.
2 your finalized art is printed on transparent paper. That is exactly what it sounds like, clear paper. Once your graphic is printed on this clear paper, it is then centered and placed on the screen which has been emulsed.
3. You take this emulsed screen, with the transparent paper artwork centerted, then you burn it. Which is nothing like it sounds. Do not try to set your screen on fire! The UV emulsion is activated by UV light. Since your graphic is now printed on that clear paper, it wont let UV rays burn the screen behind it.
4 We take the screen which has now been burned and wash it. Yup that’s right you take it to a bubble bath, put on some R n B, im kidding. You take it to the wash out tank because the part that did not burn by UV rays will now wash out and allow ink to flow through only that part which is the image you wanted on your shirt
This whole process can take hours of man time, and emulsion is very expensive. I personal yern for a the day when custom printing t shirt companies just include these expenses in the the price per shirt. Until all the custom printing shops in Jacksonville Florida and Orange Park Florida get on the same page it seems this won’t change.
So the next time you see “Screen Set Up Fee” at least you know now its not a scam. Prints R Us actually waives all screen printing fees if re ordered within 6 months.
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Michael “Jackie” Moon