Screen printing is a printing process that makes use of a woven mesh to contain a stencil for blocking ink.
Screen printing, when used on fabrics, is most commonly referred to as silk screening. This technique is popular due to its low cost, great versatility and high-resolution results. Though it is not as versatile as printing techniques that make use of computer technology, screen printing has the distinct advantage of being much cheaper to implement as well as producing more vibrant colors. The technique is also much quicker than competing inkjet fabric printing technologies.
When screen printing, a woven mesh typically made of synthetic fibers is stretched around a wooden or metal frame. This mesh is then overlaid with an impermeable stencil that contains the negative of the image that is to be printed. Paint or dye is then applied over the stencil and forced through the mesh with a squeegee like device.
The advantage of using a silkscreen verses a standalone stencil, is the fact that the small openings in the screen directly control how much ink or paint is deposited on the fabric. This means that graphics with sharp detail and clean lines can easily be created quickly.
Men's neckties are often times made from a silk fabric that has a screen printed pattern. Usually very fine and intricate designs are made with this method rather than weaving the pattern using a Jacquard loom.