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What type of printing is best for my fabric bag?

There’s no simple answer to this! It depends on what the artwork looks like, what sort of fabric it will be going onto and what sort of finish you would like. Here is a run-down of the strengths and weaknesses of our most popular methods.

Spot Colour Screen Print

Spot Colour Screen Printing is probably the most popular type of printing and can give you a great looking bag at a low price. It works best for bold, flat colour designs. You can’t do shading with spot colours which is why we need vector artwork. (More on shading and images later)
Screen print ink can spread out as it dries on the fabric. This is an effect called dot gain. The amount it happens varies depending on the inks and fabrics used. It means that very fine details can be lost when the ink spreads.

CMYK Screen Print

CMYK screen printing can simulate full colour images and shading. The image to be printed is converted into a series of screens (cyan, magenta, yellow and black most of the time!) Each plate is converted into a series of different sized dots or ‘halftone pattern’ which can be printed. The colours are then printed on top of each other to make the full image. From a distance, the dots blur together and give you a detailed colourful image. Close up, it can give you a slightly dotty look. Some images are better suited to this style than others.

CMYK Transfer

CMYK Transfers are great for detailed images. The transfer is inkjet printed on a special carrier paper. It is then transferred onto the bag using heat and pressure. The finished item has a coated finish with a clear border around
the print. The final product is slightly stiffer than a screen printed bag.

Printing on Jute

Printing on Jute is a whole different job again. Because the material is very coarse and the weave is quite open, the ink can disappear between the threads. This means that more ink needs to be used which can lead to blurry prints and bleeding between colours as shown here. This is an extreme example, but its worth bearing in mind the sort of problems that can arise, and the best way of avoiding them.

Photographic images have shading which can’t be accurately screen printed. Images will need to be converted to a vector format to make them printable, but that does lose detail. The image shown here is a basic conversion to show just how much detail can be lost. In this case a transfer print would be able to keep all the detail that is be lost in the conversion.

Printing Photographic Images

We hope the preceding article is helpful but is you require any further advice call 01437 781978 or email sales@stupidtuesday.co.uk

Contact us for assistance is choosing the right method for you

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