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Definitions for Our Service Terminology

Going through our list of services can be pretty daunting if you are unsure of the terminology we use. I know that, as a monkey, I had never heard of half of these words before. The people at Monkey in a Dryer Screen Printing want to make sure you are completely satisfied with your order. The first step to that complete satisfaction is knowing exactly what you want. Below, you’ll find the definitions to our more complex terminology.

Screen Printing Terms


Also may be referred to as “screen art”.  Screen art refers to artwork that is already setup for the screen printing process.  Artwork in general may or may not be ready to go to screen.  It is important to note that you will need your artwork set up correctly to obtain good results in the screen printing process

Adobe Illustrator

The original vector drawing and editing program for print and art layout

Adobe Photoshop

A digital pixel-based image editing program for print applications

belt oven

The piece of equipment used to cure the shirts. It contains several infrared heat panels that heat the ink to about 330 degrees Fahrenheit


When ink that is printed moves outside of the printed area onto the surrounding areas of the item that is being printed on

block out

An emulsion like chemical that is mostly not light sensitive.  Used to fill any openings in stencils on the screen after exposure and washout

butt registration

When 2 edges of different printed colors come edge to edge, but do not overlap


A type of trap that reduces the size of the first color printed slightly and covers it with another color to trap the underlying color with the overlapping edge of the top of the color

color composite

A full color rendition of your design exactly the way you want it to be on the substrate

continuous tones

Tonal ranges that we are familiar with in pictures.  The tones are rendered in a continuous shading in full color


The quality or amount of ink that is laid down onto a shirt when printed through the screen, aka opacity


A design printed over the heart area of a tee-shirt


The point where plastisol becomes a wash-durable product (320°)

dot gain

A condition where printed dots enlarge from the desired or original size. this is most often due to the excess accumulation of ink around the outside of the stencil perimeters. it can cause areas of halftones to get very dark and thus incorrectly reproduces the art


A light sensitive liquid chemical that is applied to the screen, it becomes most light sensitive when dry

exposure unit

A device that emits UV light used to expose a screen and make a photo

film/film positive

This is the clear piece of plastic with your artwork printed onto it in all black

flash cure/flashing

The process of exposing a printed shirt to a heat source less than that of the curing oven in order to make the ink dry to the touch

four color process

In this type of industrial/commercial printing, the technique used to print full color images such as color photographs, is referred to as four color process printing because four inks are used: three primary colors plus black. the subtractive primary ink colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow, which are abbreviated to CMYK


This is artwork made to reproduce continuous tones by printing small dots in varying proximity and/or density. this is like the pictures you see in the newspaper


Halftone is the reprographic process that simulates continuous tone imagery through the use of dots varying either in size or in spacing. Halftone can also be used to refer to the image that is produced by this process. This binary reproduction relies on a basic optical principle that these tiny halftone dots are blended into smooth tones in the brain through the human eye

make ready

The process of preparing the screen, substrates, and printing area for printing

mesh count

This is the number that refers to the size of the openings in between the filaments of thread in the mesh. Lower numbers like 110 have bigger openings and smaller number like 355 have very small openings. With plastisol inks, lower mesh counts leave a heavier rubbery deposit of ink on the shirt. Using a higher mesh count will produce a much softer feel to the print


Small unintended holes in the stencil usually caused by dust or other debris contaminating the emulsion during coating or drying

plastisol ink

Plastisol ink is a type of ink used for silkscreen printing onto textiles.  Plastisol inks are the most commonly used inks for printing designs on to garments, and are particularly useful for printing opaque graphics onto dark fabrics.  Plastisol inks are not water-soluble because the ink is made up of PVC particles suspended in a plasticizing emulsion, the ink will not dry if left for extended periods of time.  Plastisol inks are recommended for printing on colored fabric and on lighter fabric; plastisol is extremely opaque and can retain a bright image for many years.  Plastisol inks will not dry, and need to be cured as a result.  Curing the inks can be done with a flash dryer, or a belt oven.  Most plastisol inks need to reach a temperature of about 350 degrees Fahrenheit before being fully cured.  Plastisol tends to sit on top of the threads instead of soaking into them, giving the print a raised, plasticized texture.  When printed through higher mesh counts plastisol inks can produce a softer feel

printable area

The area of the screen where the film can be placed without distortion to the artwork.


This part of the process is done when we need to reuse the screen for another job. The chemical needed is called reclaimer or stencil remover.


The alignments of one color of artwork with another. Multi color prints require the different colors of the artwork to line up correctly in relation to one another


The sharpness/clarity of the print

re-tension-able frames

Frames that have the ability to stretch the mesh during mesh application and later on in the life of the screen. Roller frames are a common type of this frame. This has certain benefits over static frames.  Monkey in a Dryer uses only the best  roller frames for all our printing projects.  Newmans!

screen printing

The act of printing with a screen, stencil, and squeegee onto a substrate

simulated process

A process in which multiple opaque colors are used to create a realistic photo like image. Using specific spot colors and halftones, the process simulated continuous tone images and from a reasonable viewing distance can seem photorealistic

spot color

A spot color is any color generated by ink that is printed using a single run. Spot colors tend to have large open areas as well as lines in the stencils where the ink will pass. There are no dots or line screens


On an exposed screen the emulsion portion containing the image to be printed


Color art separations where the edges of the different colors overlap one another slightly

under base

Printing colors on dark garments often requires a layer of white ink printed under and before all other colors. This allows the colors to stay true and maintain opacity over the dark fabric

vector art

The representation of continuous lines and shapes in digital art through mathematical algorithms


Thickness of an ink


The step in which we wash out the uncured soluble emulsion from the screen with water

washout booth

The piece of equipment used to wash screens in. It will always have a light panel in the rear so we  may see through the screens as we work with them. Several steps in screen printing are actually done here

water-based ink

Friendly ink used to print on just about anything; washes out of the screen with water

Contact us today to learn more about our service terminology. We are based in Hopkins, Minnesota, and proudly serve all of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and ship products to customers nationally and all over the world.

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