Atlanta Screen Printing: A Comprehensive Guide to Quality Custom Apparel

Atlanta screen printing is a thriving industry that offers businesses and individuals the opportunity to create unique, custom apparel. Whether you need t-shirts for a corporate event, uniforms for a sports team, or personalized gifts for a special occasion, screen printing in Atlanta is the go-to solution. In this blog article, we will explore the world of Atlanta screen printing, covering everything from the process itself to finding the best screen printing services in the city.

The Basics of Atlanta Screen Printing

Screen printing, also known as silk screening, is a widely used method for printing designs onto various materials, including fabric, paper, and plastic. The process involves creating a stencil, or screen, by blocking certain areas to prevent ink from passing through, while allowing it to pass through the open areas to create the desired design. Here is a detailed breakdown of the Atlanta screen printing process:

Step 1: Design Creation

The first step in Atlanta screen printing is creating the design that will be printed onto the apparel. This can be done using graphic design software or by hand. It is important to consider factors such as the size, placement, and color of the design, as well as any text or logos that need to be incorporated.

Step 2: Screen Preparation

Once the design is finalized, the next step is preparing the screen. A mesh screen is stretched tightly over a frame, and a light-sensitive emulsion is applied to the screen. The design is then transferred onto the screen using a transparency or a stencil. The screen is exposed to UV light, which hardens the emulsion in the areas not covered by the design, creating a stencil on the screen.

Step 3: Ink Preparation

While the screen is drying, the ink needs to be prepared. Screen printing inks come in a wide range of colors, and special inks such as metallic or glow-in-the-dark options are also available. The ink is mixed and adjusted to achieve the desired consistency and color.

Step 4: Printing Process

Once the screen and ink are ready, the printing process can begin. The screen is placed on top of the apparel or material to be printed, and a small amount of ink is placed at the top of the screen. A squeegee is then used to pull the ink across the screen, forcing it through the open areas and onto the material below. This process is repeated for each color in the design, with the screen being carefully aligned to ensure accurate registration.

Step 5: Curing the Ink

After the design is printed, the apparel needs to go through a curing process to ensure the ink adheres properly and is durable. This is typically done by heat curing, where the printed apparel is passed through a heat tunnel or a heat press. The heat cures the ink, making it resistant to washing and ensuring the design lasts for a long time.

Choosing the Right Screen Printing Company in Atlanta

When it comes to Atlanta screen printing, choosing the right company to handle your custom apparel needs is crucial. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a screen printing company in Atlanta:

Reputation and Experience

One of the first things to consider is the reputation and experience of the screen printing company. Look for companies that have been in the industry for a while and have a track record of delivering high-quality results. Reading customer reviews and testimonials can give you insights into the company’s reputation and the satisfaction of past clients.

Range of Services

It is important to choose a screen printing company that offers a wide range of services to cater to your specific needs. Whether you require custom t-shirts, hats, bags, or other types of apparel, ensure that the company has the capabilities to fulfill your requirements. Additionally, inquire about any additional services they may offer, such as graphic design assistance or fulfillment services.

Pricing and Turnaround Time

Consider your budget and timeline when choosing a screen printing company in Atlanta. Request quotes from multiple companies to compare pricing and ensure it aligns with your budget. Additionally, inquire about their turnaround time to ensure they can deliver your order within the desired timeframe. Keep in mind that rush orders may incur additional fees.

Quality Control

Quality control is an essential aspect of screen printing. Inquire about the company’s quality control processes and ask to see samples of their previous work. Look for companies that have strict quality control measures in place to ensure that the print accuracy, durability, and overall finish of your custom apparel meet the highest standards.

Designing Your Custom Apparel

Designing your custom apparel is an exciting part of the Atlanta screen printing process. Here are some tips and techniques to help you create eye-catching and professional-looking designs:

Choosing Colors and Fonts

When designing your custom apparel, consider the colors and fonts that best represent your brand or personal style. Use colors that are visually appealing and align with the message or image you want to convey. Experiment with different font styles to find the one that complements your design and enhances its overall impact.

Incorporating Graphics and Logos

If you have a logo or specific graphics that you want to include in your design, ensure they are of high resolution and in a format that is compatible with the screen printing process. Work with a graphic designer if needed to ensure your graphics are properly prepared for printing and will result in crisp and clear prints.

Placement and Size

Consider the placement and size of your design on the apparel. Think about the purpose of the apparel and how the design will be perceived when worn. For example, if it’s a corporate event, you may want a smaller, more discreet logo on the chest, while a sports team may opt for a larger design on the back of the shirt.

Quality Control in Atlanta Screen Printing

Quality control is vital in Atlanta screen printing to ensure that your custom apparel meets the highest standards. Here are some key aspects of quality control to consider:

Print Accuracy

Print accuracy refers to the fidelity of the printed design to the original artwork. It is essential to work with a screen printing company that has skilled technicians who can accurately reproduce your design on the apparel. Look for companies that pay attention to detail and have a keen eye for ensuring the design matches your expectations.


Durability is a crucial aspect of quality control in screen printing. The ink used should be able to withstand regular wear and washing without fading or cracking. Inquire about the type of ink used by the screen printing company and ask for information on its durability and longevity. High-quality inks should maintain their vibrancy and integrity over time.

Overall Finish

The overall finish of your custom apparel should be smooth, even, and free from any defects. Inspect the samples or previous work from the screen printing company to ensure that there are no smudges, uneven ink distribution, or other imperfections. A professional finish will enhance the appearance and perceived value of your custom apparel.

Size and Placement Consistency

Consistency in size and placement is essential, especially when printing multiple items for a team or group. Ensure that the screen printing company has processes in place to maintain consistent size and placement across all the apparel in your order. This will create a cohesive and professional look when the items are worn together.

Screen Printing on Different Materials

Screen printing is a versatile technique that can be used on various materials. Here are some considerations when screen printing on different substrates:

Cotton and Cotton Blends

Cotton is one of the most popular materials for screen printing due to its softness, breathability, and ability to hold vibrant colors. Cotton blends, which combine cotton with other fibers such as polyester, can offer increased durability and wrinkle resistance. When screen printing on cotton or cotton blends, ensure that the ink is compatible with the fabric and that the design adheres well.


Polyester is another common material used in screen printing, especially for athletic apparel and uniforms. Polyester is known for its moisture-wicking properties, durability, and resistance to wrinkles. When screen printing on polyester, it is important to use inks specifically formulated for this material to ensure proper adhesion and prevent color bleeding.

Specialty Fabrics

Screen printing can also be used on specialty fabrics such as spandex, nylon, and performance fabrics. These materials often require specialized inks and techniques to ensure proper adhesion and durability. Consult with your screen printing company to determine the best approach for screen printing on these unique fabrics.

Promoting Your Business with Screen Printed Apparel

Screen printed apparel can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. Here are some effective strategies for using custom apparel to promote your brand:

Branded Merchandise

Create branded merchandise with your company logo or slogan that customers can purchase or receive as a gift. This can include t-shirts, hats, bags, or other items that align with your target audience’s interests and preferences. Branded merchandise not only promotes your business but alsoserves as a walking advertisement when people wear or use it in public.

Employee Uniforms

Outfitting your employees in custom screen printed uniforms not only creates a cohesive and professional appearance but also helps build brand recognition. When employees wear branded apparel, they become walking ambassadors for your business, spreading awareness wherever they go. This can be particularly effective for businesses that have a lot of customer-facing interactions.

Giveaways and Contests

Hosting giveaways or contests that involve custom screen printed apparel can generate excitement and engagement among your target audience. Whether it’s through social media promotions or in-person events, offering the chance to win branded apparel can attract attention and create a buzz around your brand. This not only increases brand visibility but also encourages people to interact with your business.

Event Merchandise

If you’re hosting an event or attending trade shows, screen printed apparel can be a valuable marketing tool. Create event-specific merchandise such as t-shirts, hats, or tote bags that attendees can purchase or receive as part of their registration. This not only creates a sense of exclusivity but also extends the reach of your brand beyond the event itself.

Screen Printing for Events and Organizations

Screen printing plays a significant role in events and organizations, helping create a sense of unity and identity. Here are some ways screen printing is utilized in different contexts:

Concerts and Music Festivals

Screen printed apparel is a staple at concerts and music festivals, with fans proudly wearing t-shirts, hoodies, or hats featuring their favorite artists. These items serve as souvenirs and mementos of the event while also acting as a form of self-expression. Concert organizers often collaborate with screen printing companies to produce limited-edition merchandise that adds to the overall experience for attendees.

Fundraisers and Nonprofit Organizations

Custom screen printed apparel is often used for fundraising efforts by nonprofit organizations. Whether it’s selling t-shirts to raise funds for a cause or creating merchandise to thank donors, screen printing allows these organizations to spread awareness and generate support. By wearing or using the branded apparel, supporters become advocates for the cause and help amplify its message.

Sports Teams and Leagues

Screen printed uniforms and merchandise are essential for sports teams and leagues. Custom jerseys, t-shirts, and hats not only create a sense of unity among team members but also help fans show their support. Screen printing allows for vibrant team logos, player names, and numbers to be displayed prominently, enhancing the team’s brand and fostering a sense of community among fans.

Schools and Universities

Screen printed apparel is widely used in schools and universities to showcase school spirit and pride. From t-shirts and sweatshirts to backpacks and caps, custom screen printed items allow students, faculty, and alumni to display their affiliation with the institution. These items can be sold at campus stores or given as promotional items during events, creating a sense of community and fostering a positive image for the institution.

DIY Screen Printing in Atlanta

If you’re feeling creative and want to try your hand at screen printing, Atlanta offers opportunities for DIY enthusiasts. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Gather Your Materials

To begin DIY screen printing, you’ll need a few essential materials. These include a screen, a squeegee, screen printing ink, a frame or hoop to stretch the screen, and a design stencil or transparency. You can purchase these materials from art supply stores or online retailers.

Prepare Your Stencil

Design your stencil or create a transparency of your desired design. This can be done using graphic design software or by hand. Ensure that your stencil is accurately cut and properly aligned with the screen to achieve precise prints.

Prepare the Screen

Stretch the screen tightly over a frame or hoop, ensuring that it is taut and secure. Apply a light-sensitive emulsion to the screen, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Once applied, allow the emulsion to dry completely.

Expose the Screen

Place your stencil or transparency on top of the dried emulsion-coated screen. Expose the screen to UV light, either using sunlight or a UV lightbox, for the recommended duration. The light will harden the emulsion in the areas not covered by the design, creating a stencil on the screen.

Apply Ink to the Screen

Once your screen is ready, apply screen printing ink to one end of the screen. Using a squeegee, pull the ink across the screen while applying even pressure. The ink will pass through the open areas of the stencil and onto the material below. Repeat this process for each color in your design, allowing each color to dry before applying the next.

Cure the Ink

After printing your design, you’ll need to cure the ink to ensure its durability. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific ink you’re using. This may involve heat curing using a heat press or passing the printed material through a heat tunnel. Proper curing ensures that the ink adheres well and can withstand washing and regular wear.

Eco-Friendly Screen Printing Practices

As sustainability becomes increasingly important, many screen printing companies in Atlanta are adopting eco-friendly practices. Here are some environmentally conscious techniques and options:

Water-Based Inks

Water-based inks are an eco-friendly alternative to traditional solvent-based inks. These inks are made with water as the primary solvent and have lower VOC (volatile organic compound) content. Water-based inks are more sustainable, as they produce fewer harmful emissions and are easier to clean up.

Recycled Materials

Some screen printing companies offer apparel options made from recycled materials. These materials can include recycled polyester, cotton, or plastic bottles. By utilizing recycled materials, you can reduce the demand for new resources and contribute to a more circular economy.

Eco-Friendly Disposal of Chemicals

Proper disposal of chemicals used in the screen printing process is crucial for minimizing environmental impact. Many screen printing companies in Atlanta have implemented safe disposal practices, such as recycling or reusing chemicals whenever possible. This helps prevent harmful substances from entering the water supply or causing pollution.

Energy-Efficient Equipment

Screen printing companies can reduce their energy consumption by investing in energy-efficient equipment. This includes energy-efficient dryers, exposure units, and heat presses. By using equipment that requires less energy, companies can lower their carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable printing process.

The Future of Atlanta Screen Printing

The screen printing industry in Atlanta is continuously evolving, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer preferences. Here are some developments that could shape the future of Atlanta screen printing:

Digital Printing Technology

Digital printing technology is gaining popularity in the screen printing industry. This technology allows for high-resolution prints, intricate designs, and the ability to print on-demand. With digital printing, screen printers can offer greater customization options and faster turnaround times, meeting the growing demand for personalized apparel.

Waterless Printing

Waterless screen printing is another trend that could become more prevalent in the future. This technique eliminates the need for water in the printing process, reducing water consumption and waste. Waterless screen printing also offers benefits such as faster drying times and improved color vibrancy.

Innovative Ink Formulations

Research and development in ink formulations are ongoing, with a focus on creating inks that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. This includes the development of inks made from plant-based materials or bio-based solvents, reducing reliance on petroleum-derived ingredients.

Automation and Robotics

Automation and robotics have the potential to streamline the screen printing process, increasing efficiency and reducing labor costs. With advanced robotic systems, screen printers can automate tasks such as ink mixing, screen preparation, and even the printing process itself. This can lead to faster production times and improved consistency in print quality.

In conclusion, Atlanta screen printing offers a versatile and creative solution for individuals and businesses looking to create custom apparel. With a solid understanding of the screen printing process, careful selection of a reputable screen printing company, and thoughtful design considerations, you can achieve high-quality results that effectively represent your brand or personal style. Whether you choose to work with professionals or embark on a DIY project, screen printing in Atlanta provides endless possibilities for expressing yourself, promoting your business, and making a lasting impression.

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