How to Screen Print on Plastic Bags

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Plastic bags are quite handy and very ordinary to look at, but you can learn to print attractive designs on these plain bags at home. Screen printing on plastic bags is very easy and doesn’t need much expertise. So if you’re running a small business on a limited budget, you can save money and advertise your stuff cost-effectively. Your friends and family will also love it when you send them goodies in your self-designed bags.

How is Screen printing on plastic bags different?

Screen Printing on plastic bags is very easy to learn, and you get more effective results. You can print logos and branded designs on plastic bags by using this simple method of printing. Screen printing is faster and uses a mesh through which ink is transferred to the bag with a squeegee. It can be a bit tacky because the material used for printing can adhere to the screen. You will also need to print one bag at a time. If you’re planning to print a large number of bags, you will need a large web press to get the work done.

How do you screen print on plastic bags?

If you’re going to print on a limited number of bags, it would be wise to choose screen printing over flexography. Flexography also involves using a heat press machine to transfer the designs to the plastic bags. However, the screen printer uses a stenciled screen that allows ink to pass through the design and settle on the bag. You will need to print each bag one at a time by manually inserting each bag into the printer.

What are the things you’ll need to screen print on plastic bags?

Here are some things that you need to have:

  • A stenciled screen
  • A printer/ vinyl cutter
  • A blunt knife
  • A squeegee
  • Ink (Black or colored)
  • A framed screen.
  • Some cardboard pieces
  • Hand gloves

How to get started?

  1. Select the design to print on the bag. If you have a pre-designed logo, you don’t need to spend time looking for one or creating a design.
  2. Print out your design on heat transfer vinyl and soak it in a mixture of emulsion with sensitizer.
  3. Make a frame from durable material and carefully stretch out the design over the frame to form a screen.
  4. Put cardboard pieces in the bag to keep both sides from touching each other.
  5. Put the design exactly where it should appear on the bag. If your bag isn’t staying in place, use some tape at the corners to prevent it from shifting during the process.
  6. Pour ink on the screen and spread it all over the design using a blunt knife or squeegee. Don’t force the ink through; instead, let it pass through the stenciled screen naturally while you gently apply a little pressure.
  7. Remember to use a dark color on a light bag and a light color on a dark-colored bag. If you’re working with transparent bags, use dark, preferably black ink.
  8. Keep the screen stable while you apply ink so that the ink doesn’t spread to the corners and leak outside the printing area.
  9. Reapply ink once again if the design isn’t clear enough.
  10. Once you’re done, remove the stencil carefully and wash it before you keep it away for future use.
  11. Blow-dry your bags or simply leave them to dry completely before use.




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