How it works, what’s involved and what the heck do I need to know?


Before we can start a printing project, we’re going to need to collect some basic info on what you’re trying to get produced. On top of things like your name and business name, we’re going to ask you a bunch of questions about the details of your job.  Head over to our Quote Form when you’re done here, we’ve made it really easy to submit your info to us.

Screen Printing Process | Ironclad Graphics Kingston Ontario Canada
Screen Printing Process | Ironclad Graphics Kingston Ontario Canada


Each colour in your design needs a printing screen made for it; if your design has a 3 colour front print, and a 2 colour back print, then we need to make 5 screens, 5 films, do 5 exposures, and setup these 5 screens on our presses. This is why shirts with a lot of colours and locations cost more than single colour shirts printed in one location.
The screens we use for printing consist of a metal frame, with a high-quality polyester mesh stretched over it at very high tensions. A photo-sensitive coating is applied to this screen, which is then dried in our darkroom awaiting exposure. For each colour we also produce a “film” which is a transparent polyester sheet, that is separated from your original artwork and printed using a wide format digital printer. This film is then used to expose the screen and produce a stencil which will allow the ink to pass through the stencil onto whatever we’re printing.


Once your screens are produced and ready for printing, they are brought to the press to be setup and prepared for the actual printing part of your job. Each screen is installed on the press one at a time, and individually aligned to each colour using a micro-registration system. Once the image is lined up, the screens are firmly locked in place to ensure they don’t move, at this point squeegees and floodbars are installed on the press, and their pressure, angle and speed are adjusted to suite the ink style, image size and printing technique. 

The squeegee is a synthetic rubber blade that transfers the ink through the open areas of the screen, onto the shirt.

Screen Printing Process | Ironclad Graphics Kingston Ontario Canada
Screen Printing Process | Ironclad Graphics Kingston Ontario Canada


Each colour in your design needs to have a custom ink colour mixed to match the artwork. We have a top of the line ink mixing system, which produces bright and bold colours that print amazingly on all styles of fabric. We can match any of the 1600+ Pantone Plus colours for any fabric type, as well as produce a wide array of metallic and crystalina ink effects, as well as dimensional style printing such as puff  inks. 


Once your screens are made, your ink is mixed, garments are staged, and the press is setup, then we’re ready to fire up the machine and start laying ink onto shirts. Each shirt is loaded one at a time onto the press, which rotates counter clockwise, applying each additional colour in sequence. Once the shirt has made its way around the press, with all the colours applied, the shirt is removed from the press and placed on a conveyor dryer, which cures the ink at 350 degrees. When the shirt exits the oven, it’s inspected and if there’s a back print or other location print, then it is returned to the press, which is then re-setup with the screens for that print location, and the process starts all over again.

Once all the colours are applied for each logo, in each location, on each shirt, then the shirts are ready to be folded and prepared for shipping or pickup.

Screen Printing Process | Ironclad Graphics Kingston Ontario Canada


Once your job is done being printed, it’s time to fold and count the shirts. Most orders are bulk folded and placed into boxes for shipping or customer pickup. Larger orders are prepared on pallets and prepped for either delivery or truck shipping.

Customers who need drop shipping to different locations are welcome to inquire with us about shipping and handling fees.

You can also have your order individually folded and bagged, with or without size stickers or hang tags.