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Imprinting

Screen Printing/Silk-Screening
An image is transferred to a textile surface by ink being pressed through a "stenciled" screen. To achieve this, film positives are put in contact with screens that are coated with special emulsion, then exposed to light. These emulsions harden. The areas covered by film are left soft, revealing an image for ink to be pressed through with a squeegee. A different screen is produced for every color, size or location that is printed.

 
Embroidery
Stitching a design into fabric through the use of high-speed, computer-controlled sewing machines. Artwork must first be "digitized," which is the specialized process of converting two-dimensional artwork into stitches of thread. Formats other than digitized files such as a jpeg, tif, eps, or bmp, cannot be converted. All art must be recreated through a computer program (digitizing) to recreate the artwork using stitches. This new file directs the sewing machine to sew a specific design, in a specific color, with a specific type of stitch.

 
Appliqué
A die, laser or CAD-cut piece of art, such as lettering, team number, or sport-retail design, that is heat pressed or sewn directly onto a garment.

 
Deboss
Achieved by depressing an image into a material's surface so that the image sits below the product surface.

 
Emboss
An image is impressed in relief to achieve a raised surface.

 
Hot-Foil Stamp
Setting a design on a metal relief die or plate, which is then heated and pressed onto the printing surface to achieve a foil or ink-like transfer effect.


Etching-Chemical
Using a process in which an item is first covered with a protective coating that resists acid and chemicals, a special etching solution is then applied to the exposed area, attacking and then etching a permanent design into the item's surface. This process can be used on glass, various metals, wood, leather and cloth, including t-shirts.


Laser Burnout and Engraving
A process where an electric current is passed through an item, directed by a digitized design. Depending on the item, the surface becomes distressed, discolored or burned off, in the shape of the original design. With textiles, the item must be a cotton/poly blend material.


Die-casting
Injecting molten metal into the cavity of a carved die (or a mold).


Die-Striking
Producing emblems and other flat products by striking a blank metal sheet with a press that holds the die, leaving behind a predetermined design.


Colorfill
Debossing an item and then filling details with color on the item's surface.


Pad Printing
A die-cut or etched silicone pad of a predetermined design is inked and then pressed directly onto the product. Once dried, the design becomes permanent. This is generally a one color process.


4-color Process
A system where a color image is separated into four different color values (Black, Yellow, Magenta and Cyan), by the use of filters and screens (usually done digitally). The result is a color separation of four images, that when transferred to printing plates and printed on a printing press reproduces the original color image. These four colors can be combined to create thousands of colors just as your computer printer does. Most textile printing requires the use of additional strong colors (minimum of six colors) like black or other predominant colors, due to the absorbent nature of cloth.


Sublimation
Dye transfer process where the image consists of a colored dye permanently embedded into the material surface of pores. Used to imprint messages, graphics and photographs on a variety of items including mouse pads, mugs, T-shirts, caps, towels, blankets and trophy medals.


Decal
Artwork is produced on a transparent decal and then applied to product.


Offset Printing
A process of transferring ink from a metal printing plate to a rubber or zinc covered cylinder. Used on more complex artwork and for higher quantity runs.

 
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