ScreenPrinting.com provides high-quality aluminum pre-stretched screens in various sizes and mesh counts. All aluminum frames use the highest grade aluminum and are cut and welded in the USA. The frames are sandblasted to ensure proper bonding and tension for thousands of prints. Screens are stretched pneumatically to industry standards using high-grade monofilament poly mesh and held using cyanoacrylate glue.
Aluminum screen printing frames are durable and have increased longevity. Unlike wood frames, aluminum frames will not warp when exposed to water. This ensures a flat frame for thousands of prints.
Aluminum frames can also be re-stretched many times. The mesh and glue are simply removed from the frame using a professional tool that won’t damage the frame. Once cleaned, the frames can be re-stretched. Aluminum frames are also lightweight, making shipping less expensive and saving money in the long run.
Different mesh sizes are used for different applications in the screen printing process. Mesh size is measured by how many threads of mesh cross per square inch. A 110 mesh, for example, has 110 threads crossing per square inch. The higher the mesh count, the finer the threads and holes are in the screen.
The mesh count screen printers use changes depending on the level of detail in a design and the thickness of ink used. Images with high detail should use screens with a higher mesh count. Those fine dots of detail will fall through the holes in low mesh count screens.
Thinner ink, like water-based ink, should also be printed through a high mesh count. Thin ink will flood through larger holes in low mesh count screens, blurring the image. Thicker inks, like white plastisol ink, should be printed through low mesh counts. A thick ink printed through a high mesh count will take much more effort to create a good ink layer on the shirt.
Got more questions about mesh count? Here’s a quick guide:
MOST VERSATILE MESH COUNTS
The most standard mesh counts in screen printing are 110 and 156. 110 mesh lays a fairly thick layer of ink down. It’s great for printing block letters and larger spot-color designs. 156 mesh also lays down a thick layer of ink but offers higher detail. Because of this, 156 mesh is the go-to screen for many printers.
LOW MESH COUNTS
Low mesh counts like 38-86 are typically used for glitter or shimmer inks. These types of inks have large flakes that will not pass through typical mesh sizes easily. Shimmer plastisol inks, like FN-INK Gold, can pass through the higher mesh sizes in this range — around 86 — but glitter inks require low mesh counts, as they have larger flakes.
Pro Tip: Adding a Curable Reducer to inks with large particles can help them pass through screens more effectively. Adding Curable Reducer to FN-INK Gold, for instance, makes it able to print through mesh counts as high as 230.
HIGH MESH COUNTS
High mesh counts are used for designs with fine detail or with thinner screen printing inks. Mesh sizes like 230 can hold large halftone dots. Graphic and solvent-based screen printing inks should also be printed with mesh counts of around 230. Printing through a high mesh count creates a softer hand feel since less ink is passing through the screen. The downside? The print may look distressed because of the thin ink deposit. For vibrant prints, use lower mesh counts.
Printing four-color process? Choose a higher mesh count. 305 mesh count is great for getting extremely high detail. Printing methods like four color process and simulated process prints work great with high mesh counts.
Higher meshes such as 355, 380, and 400 are used mainly for graphic printing with UV inks, UV inks are extremely thin, and many times are used for printing on signs or banners. Using a higher mesh also allows the automatic printers used in UV printing to regulate the amount of ink passing through the screen.
For more on choosing the proper mesh count, check out this blog.
Different mesh sizes hold different amounts of emulsion, due to how large the holes in the mesh are. For instance, a 110 mesh screen will hold much more emulsion than a 305 mesh screen. While the difference isn’t extreme, exposure times may vary slightly for different mesh sizes. A finer mesh that holds less emulsion will expose faster than a lower mesh screen that holds more emulsion. This difference may vary by 5-10% depending on mesh size.