“Make it as simple as possible
but no simpler”
Albert Einstein, Scientist, Humanitarian
Figure 1: showing width and nature of a repeat.repeat2
Figure 2: Showing orientation of fabric to repeat.repeat3
Our tablespermaset-swatches
Permaset base opaque swatches

Welcome designers Graphic set-up for screen print foreword –

” The art of screen printing peaked in 1939″
Thames & Hudson Manual of Screen Printing.

A simple but very complex tactile and voracious art, an art celebrated and unsurpassed around the world – surviving because of the very attributes available in the print.


Some peopole think our press specs are too long and involved – here is the five point version – follow this and your graphics will have 90% of most problems solved.

1. Put your graphics into our templates. SEE BELOW
2. Use either 100% K (Black) (preferable) or spot colours to create your graphics(Not RGB).
3. Reference your spot colours from a book or use and send us physical swatches.
4. If printing multi-colour work put the colours on separate layers where possible or separate.
5. Your graphic can be as wide as 79cm but must repeat at 70cm.
This is to enable us to use an organic repeat line which has whole elements as opposed to cut through like a digital repeat.

This last point (No.5) is the point that confuses everybody.

Note on the first image (Figure 1.) to the left – 3 blue shapes representing 3 prints. The boxes (black line) represent the 70cm repeat. Some designs (not all) require that they may overlap or interweave . This is shown in the image where part of the circle and a point on the side of the blue prints go outside the 70cm area. BUT – you can also see how the next print will fit into it when it is printed using the 70cm repeat.
This shows that a graphic, due to it’s odd shape may need to be wider in areas than 70cm in order to work with the design but is still created to be printed at the 70cm interval.

This is the key to, and is the way hand printing has always been done for generations. It is a definable skill which anyone can get with application.

Screenhaus does have a design service and recommends other qualified textile designers.
Screenhaus can take your design or idea and show you how it can come to life although we are sometimes restricted to the amount of design projects we can take on and deliver to the standard we wish to work at.

Ultra geometric 1 colour pieces can often be easier and quicker to put together like a specific size spot or stipe – Screenhaus is able to produce these graphics quickly if you cannot find your own designer. Screenhaus works at $90 AUD for custom one off piece design work.

Concept and aesthetic based design is something that needs to be quoted and can be discussed at a meeting after seeing concept work and details of proposed outcomes.

Sydney Based Textile Designers –
Anastasia Phillips and Tim Rouse – fashion and furnishings – concept to finished file separations. Anastasia also works as a colour consultant.

Template downloads
Click link to download PDF of Adobe Illustrator Template.
Click link to download PDF of Adobe Indesign Template.

For those that want more details and the long version – read on –

True progressions in screen printing have come in graphics creation / computer technologies and photographic technologies but the art of the actual screen printing is relatively the same.

We give you guidelines and hints on how to avoid pitfalls within the print process and guide you to better graphic development as we go. We deal with the screenprinting itself but we need you to participate in the journey by understanding the process and making better decisions as to what is available and still pushing the boundaries of new design. The biggest shock here usually comes to those from a digital background. The art of setting up separate plates, knockouts, overlaps, transparencies. opaques etc etc is a little more like alien ideas and dosen’t transfer as easily as the conceptual artist pressing print or sending out art to an offsett CMYK on disc and waiting for the delivery back. The best way I can describe this process is that we are dealing with spot colours. After that we are dealing with a repeating graphic. Within these 2 rules lies all you need to discover – there is little idiosyncrasies within every part of the process – but honestly – those 2 rules hold the secrets to great technical design for yardage. Be patient, the entire pre-press industry used to do this work as a trade – it takes a little while to get your graphics really ready – but very rewarding when you do.

Please read on – download our templates – as time goes on we’ll continuosly add more and better info to guide you through the processes. Call us and ask questions (02) 9519 1099 but please make sure you have read what’s here first so the discovery will be better and more complete with better questions.

We have aimed our information at everyone – whether you are a fashion designer with software skills, a graphic designer with fabric aspirations or a designer interpreting concept art for a conceptual artist. We work predominently in Adobe programs.

The one rule I have found to be true to the outcome of the finished product on the shelf is – the sooner you have your graphics sorted the better. At Screenhaus we are analysing fabrics / fabric behaviour / fabric technical make-up / applications / outcome goals / ink and fabric compatability / additives / schedules / heat setting / documenting and handling. This physically takes a lot of co-ordinated time – so the sooner we see your graphics the sooner we can look at lead times.

To understand a little of where we are coming from – people often say ‘This print should be quick it’s a one colour black’ – the truth behind this is – at time of writing we have currently got 18 live black recipes and counting – 30 whites – close to 800 other recipes and endless variations possible. Technically – we haven’t even seen your fabric yet – which is a huge part of the equation.

Sometimes there is other complications (even in your graphic) and there is nothing worse than recieving a graphic late with cutters / makers delivery orders etc already booked to and it’s down to the screen printer to push a 2 1/2 week schedule into one week. Possible but not always the best senario for your product, label and maker relations.

The technical info starts here – it’s a 10 minute read that is designed to help everyone get the result you need.

Firstly – Please do not assume we can print your work. We cannot really quote a job until we see design and fabric – if we have not seen anything yet – you should think about showing us before spending time setting up for a job that may be better suited to a different technology. Some jobs are easy and we do them everyday but any sheers / jobs of more than 3 colours / ultra complex designs should be shown to us early.

Print specifications
Click link to download this section as a PDF of current Screenhaus Artwork Specs info.

Template downloads
Click link to download PDF of Adobe Illustrator Template.
Click link to download PDF of Adobe Indesign Template.

Pre-Press specifications
Ideally all Pre-press graphics work for production of a commercial
product should be undertaken by a commercially qualified graphic
designer, textile designer or experienced screenprinter with software

The perfect file is delivered to us colours as 100% (K) Black – when there are multi-colours, these would be on separate layers with 1mm knockouts where applicable. The file would have updated selvage notes and repeat would have been built and checked on one of our templates.

Back save Illustartor files to CS3

As this is a specialty field it is usual but definately not mandatory for
Screenhaus to produce all/ any or partial parts of your graphics on request.

SECTION 1 – Crirical repeat yardage design points
SECTION 2 – Technical Pre-press points & file delivery points

* Critical Design points –

Does your design repeat?
Our repeat is 70cm / 700mm. You can test this by using – Object / move / 700mm / copy in any format or (Control / Shift / M) on a PC in either Indesign or Illustrator or (command(apple) / shift / M) on an Apple will show you if your design repeats.
As a hint you can use transparencies to see where your repeats may join or overlap.

The next key to this is our squeegee or printable area width of 80cm. Where your design will repeat every 70cm, you have 80cm of room to build your graphic. It sounds like a complete contradiction right! – not really … if you look at the top image here, and note the unusual shape of the graphic you’ll see that it is outside the 70cm area but still repeats at 70cm intervals even though the graphic itself may appear larger.
The thing to note is – if you were to measure across the graphic at any point it would be 70cm.

Colours as 100% Black or PMS Uncoated – For 1 colour and 2 colour work especially, it is beneficial to work at 100% K (100% black) in any document – this stops your file splitting into CMYK separations when going to film. Sometimes where you need to work in ‘intended colours you may send us a copy of your file in 100%K. Multiple colour jobs are best done in pantone colours to help you visualise your work and still provide a level of processability to film output. Halftone work can be distilled (Adobe Acrobat) as ‘composite grey’ to capture greys intended to print grey.

Please do not create artwork in Photoshop using RGB colours.
If you are creating art in Photoshop – choose colours from the swatch palette as opposed to mixing your own. Our computers recognise the pms colours from teh swatch palette. Translating mixed colours will take time and money – it’s best just not to use them.

Screenhaus use PMS UN- coated colour charts (or colour swatches from anywhere (magazine – other fabric – hand painted) – so long as you can send us the piece to reference) for all basic colour matching / separations and ink preparations and therefore all artwork should be prepared using this palette or swatch book or a close PMS so we can see your graphic intention.

DO NOT REFERENCE Pantone PMS colours FROM YOUR COMPUTER – it is not acurate across different machines / settings and preferences.

Excess / unused / wasted inks are charged for at $45 per colour.

Jerseys / fleece and all stretch fabrics must adhere to a certain direction of print or is unsuitable for manufacture. See figure 2 – using the ‘DESIGN HERE’ text as correct as an orientation tool, showing the print across the fabric. This does not apply to most other fabrics but certainly does with these. It is directly due to the fall of the fabric and structure of the weave. Eg. If a T-shirt was cut the wrong way across the fabric it would start to stretch longways toward your feet instead of actually working to support the garment.

Sheer Fabrics (if you can see through it – it’s sheer)
Some fabrics will take almost any print – sheers have limits – they have many limitations such as printing light onto dark. Sheer fabrics need a darker colour printed onto it to avoid the use of opaque inks. You may want to consider printing the background colour as opposed to the foreground. This would require a different graphic and therefore should be planned for.
We have developed a system of printing sheers that in some cases no longer needs the traditional glueing in most cases. This relies on your fabric having a good structure and sometimes needs to be tested with a 5M print. Sheers in general need extended lead times and testing periods.
It costs more to print sheers as it involves special handling of your fabrics and alot of planning and cleaning before and after the print – which is why we need the extra time to work your sheers and colours onto the fabric.

Think of each screen as an open colour way – of which ink will pass through the screen onto the fabric or previously printed colour. These colourways can be used on a different print job using different colours so are effectively open. this needs to be considered for overlapping of colours and the effect thereof. The big compromise here is if you want super detail – we would shoot on a fine mesh screen – this screen would not be usable for opaques in the future as the mesh is too fine to allow that ink through it. Best thing to do is shoot middle of the road 43T or for specific outcomes. You don’t need to know which screens to choose but if you have an idea of where you’re going with a design, it’s good to tell us.

Screenhaus uses a handprinted leapfrog system and must be designed as such as a pre-press ready graphic.
*In figure 1 – Each blue element represents a strike, or sometimes called an impression. In a leapfrog system we will print strike 1 and 3 and 5 and 7 and so forth – and then as the first run is dry, we come back and print 2 and 4 and 6 and so forth.

This is especially critical when designing background repeats.

* We use 20 Metre tables and print each second repeat and then come back through to print the inbetween repeats when the first is dry.

A repeat fabric design is designed to be continuous so the fabric can be cut anywhere as opposed to a placement design that sits in a specific spot on a garment.

Screenhaus repeat distance is 70cm – fabric print width is 146 – 148cm.

Usual fabric width is 120 – 155 – 160cm.

Screenhaus are currently using a 0.5mm – 1mm safety margin for
multi layer colour butting/ knockout work.

All graphics in multi layer work should be set as overprint fill & stroke. And should be built as such that you are thinking each colour will be printed absolutely individually of each other.

A 0.3mm (0.4 is better for most fabrics) graphic line is reproducable over long yardage lengths. A 0.3mm line will have a reduced life and therefore is not recommended
for opaque inks or metalic inks. With font sizes – work on 12 or 14pt … the best thing here is to act on the side of conservatism. We give you these sizes as we know what will work on long print jobs (Eg. 12pt Bauhaus light is not really a typical 12pt font).

Regular inks are transparent – therefore colour shifts are usual if overlapping. With transparent or regular inks we experience a better ‘feel’ so they are desireable from that point of view.
With transparent inks it is better to print a darker colour onto a lighter fabric.
Eg. Black on white or any variation similiar.

For cases where a lighter colour is necessary onto a darker fabric we would use an ‘Opaque ink’ (Opaque / metalic inks are non-transparent) which effectively blocks colour from underneath – so most colours are possible Eg. White on black except with sometimes reduced effectiveness.
Many designers work with these points in mind and use tranparent inks lower in the print order and opaques higher.
To see mastery of the use of multiple colours and last down opaque knockouts – look at Japanese papers and fabrics. they are quite famous for having many colours down and using a ‘last down’ silver, gold or dark knock out (or cover) cover. This allows the last colour to cover minor mistakes throughout a multicolour job. They are also known as some of the greatest designers and printers in the world.

* Technical Pre-press points :

Repeat artwork can be produced in Adobe Illustrator / Indesign or Photoshop.

Print ready files to be supplied as Adobe PDF files or EPS files. PDF files are preferably distilled PDF files as opposed to Exported. Distilling takes out all duplicated and excess information in turned off (invisible) layers.
CAD files should be saved as .dwt files to/ or (preferably) to be converted to Illustrator.
Photoshop is fine but must have your intended crop marks (@ 70cm repeat), name etc on the artwork included. You can copy our crop marks straight off the Illustrator or Indesign Templates and place directly into Photshop but do not scale.

Screenhaus currently use a minimum 1.5mm / 4.252pt colour knockout or greater for butting on multi-colour work where required.

Please do not use the pattern swatch palette in Adobe Illustrator to create repeat pattern swatches. These swatch patterns do not necessarily work when translated to print but give the impression that the repeat is working.

To test & Check your repeat – Use the Object – transform – move palette to test repeats (command – shift – M) in either Illustrator or Indesign – or the step and repeat tool in Indesign to test your repeat is working. Sometimes you may need to add artwork or scale your artwork to make the perfect repeat. Best done with a transparent background.

All text to outlines please – or fonts may shift in translation. Or rasterise in Photoshop. If your actual artwork is font based it should really be made to outlines (uneditable) to avoid massive shifts we are unaware of.

Any pixel based halftone work should be at atleast 120 dpi at actual print size and not larger than 200dpi. The human eye (so they say) can only see 150dpi and you would consider screen printing to be be about or a little less than the resolution of your computer screen (72dpi).

Please download and use our templates. Use the layers we have set out as there are guides and hints and tips throughout to help you with the process.

Adobe PDF distiller settings should be ‘Press Quality’ and Post Script settings should either be composite – leave unchanged or Grayscale.

EPS files are great also – sometimes better.

Alternatively all art can be produced as 100% black and on separate layers.

Channels – when wishing to print channels as separate colours – export as a .dcs2 file from photoshop. This will preserve your channels which can be printed as separations.

Autotrace – (changing pixel based images to vector in Illustrator) The golden rule as per any new trick available with software is experimentation to see what suits your image. Here we do a basic Adobe Illustrator autotrace –
Select your pixel image – Go to Object – Live trace – tracing options – single click.
Single click on tracing preset and select ‘simple trace’. Click on preview – then ‘trace’.
In the top menu, go to object – expand.
Go to view – outline – Your vector paths are now visible. Click on view – preview.
Some great results are being attained by playing with the blur option on the trace panel for smoothing heavily pixeled edges.

Can we print edge to edge printing – No. Nobody can. We ask you to leave atleast 1cm (preferably 15mm) outside any graphic you want printed. For instance if you want selvege text top and bottom of your print we will need that space outside your sevege text.

Screen Printing on fabric is done as all spot colours – as open colour ways.
We do not print CMYK or RGB colour systems. Duotones and halftones are possible – most graphics for screen printing either mimic ruby cut or vector artwork.

* Film Output – this does not concern most designers and is only for people delivering film.

Film separations are done at 45 – 65 lpi for vector graphics or 40 – 45 lpi for halftone images. 45lpi for all one colour work. If you ar edelivering your own film and are using Stochastic dot structures please do not work under (10x) and check your finished dot size to the eye.

* Artwork delivery

Please do not email anything above 10MB in any single email. Try EPS file with JPEG compression for serious file size reductions or distilled PDF files. Some – raw Illustrator files for vector work are also a good small file to send.
Alternatively you can upload a file via the Rapidshare website and send us your html address link. http://rapidshare.com/ Please be aware that this still requires download capacity on our behalf so please don’t send 100MB files (try to get your file sizes down or send by disk – 150 – 200dpi Pshop files are plenty at 100% size – try the eps files with Jpeg compression or pdfs.
Always archive before emailing any artwork and send us the Zipped file.
CD / DVDs’ in the mail are fine.

We can do all or some aspect of your art on your request at an hourly rate.
Our job is to help you get to the printing table.

File naming – YourCompany.DesignName.Layers.eps Eg.SkyHiPro.NewDes.2.eps

Notes to the printer – Please write whatever you are thinking – it only helps us with interpretation.

Placing an order
Be sussinct – please give us the colour as well as type of fabric.
Metres supplied and ordered.
Pantone Uncoated numbers or swatch to be supplied.
Name of the design.
An A4 print out of the entire design (or pdf).
An A4 to scale section of the actual desired(do not scale) print (or pdf).
If it is unusual (ie Not a repeat pattern) show us an insitu image so we can see placement details and designer intent.
Name of the designer and contact details.
We have a question sheet (info gathering for quoting) email we’d love to send you which always helps getting your info together.
Warning: The more of this you don’t do the more risk of mistakes. To us as the actual printers – this is extremely complex and requires great skill. One mistake will/can compromise the entire job and at best extend your lead times.
Your lead time starts when we have your fabric delivered / colour sorted / screen sorted/ strike offs signed.

Make your mark