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25 pieces of screen printing jargon
Tips & Tricks
min read

25 pieces of screen printing jargon

Confused about what certain printing jargon could mean? Learn about screen printing terminology.

Don’t let our screen printing terminology wear you out. Twenty-five key phrases to give you the upper hand in talking shirts and high end screen printing.

  1. Half-Tones: We use this on shirts to provide shading, create more colors and provide depth. Technically, it’s used for reproducing images in which the various tones of gray or color are produced by variously sized dots of ink.
  2. Discharge Ink: An agent (safe for friends and family) that takes the pigment out of fabric. Allows for vibrant prints that you can’t feel. Learn more about water based and discharge ink.
  3. Polyblend: A shirt that is a blend of cotton, polyester or rayon.
  4. 50/50: A shirt that is a blend of 50% cotton and 50% polyester.
  5. Plastisol: A plastic based ink. Not offered at Real Thread.
  1. Mesh: The grid on a silk screen. Contains very small squares which ink passes through.
  2. High Opacity: Water based ink that provides an intense and vibrant print. Done by placing a white underbase.
  3. Triblend: A shirt that is a blend of cotton, polyester and rayon.
  4. All-Over-Print: A print that covers an entire shirt. This our largest screen, coming in at 40”x36”.
man wearing black shirt with pattern
  1. Not what is put on your shirt. Ink is put on your shirt.
  2. Water Based Ink: Ink made up of water that dyes a garment directly, becoming a part of the fabric, rather than laying on top of a shirt. Learn more.
  3. Seps: Your shirt is made up of a lot of colors. Seps are when our art department separates those colors on your shirt.
  4. Standard: Standard is in reference to a standard print, which is 14”x17”.
  5. Registration: How the separations of your design perfectly align from screen to screen.
  6. Left-Chest: The “pocket area” on your shirt.
  7. CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The 4 colors that, when combined, can make (or fake) most any color. Learn more.
  1. Jumbo: A jumbo print is the third largest print we offer coming in at 19”x33”.
  2. Simulated Process: A process for making color rich shirts. It’s like CMYK on steroids. Learn more.
  3. Foil: Foil that can be placed on a shirt. Placed using a special technique that involves a screen, special glue and a little additional heat. Learn more.


  1. BAQ: Build-A-Quote. The starting point in you placing a quote with us. Learn more.
  2. Oversized: An oversized print. This is the second largest print we offer, coming in at 17”x22”.
  3. Silk Screen: The screen we use to print our shirts on. High quality and high end.
  4. Emulsion: The coating used in making a screen stencil.
  5. Location: Where the graphic is placed on your shirt.
  6. Dimensions: How large your graphic is.

Twenty-five down! Have some more screen printing jargon you want us to share? Let us know.