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  • Mesh Count and You

    Different mesh sizes are used for different applications in the screen printing process. What is mesh size? you might ask. Well, mesh size is a measure of how many threads of polyester (used to be silk, centuries ago, hence ‘silkscreening!’) cross each other per square inch of screen. For example, a 110 mesh screen would have 110 threads crossing per square inch. The higher the mesh count, the finer the holes are in the screen.

    The first factor you should keep in mind when choosing a mesh size is how detailed your image is. If, for example, your image has extremely high detail, a low mesh screen simply wouldn’t hold the detail. The fine lines or dots in the image would simply fall through the holes in the mesh, leaving you with a poor representation of what your image should be. If you have a low detail image, and you use too high of a mesh count, you’ll run into issues with getting enough ink to lay down on the shirt...

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  • #2
    Thanks for the info! what i find easy to remember with mesh is "the higher the mesh count, the higher the detail"
    - Jeff
    The House of Garb, LLC
    Washington Court House, Ohio


    • Chuggins
      Chuggins commented
      Editing a comment
      Agreed - printers also resonate to the evolution of TV screens. 86/110 mesh is reminiscent of 1950's era tv. 156 mesh like standard tv's of the 80's and 90's. HD is a 200/230 mesh. 4k is 305 mesh. 8k is akin to Thin Thread and the resolution capabilities now that the thread doesn't get in the way much.

  • #3
    Another really great rule of thumb I like to go by when exporting artwork for screens is what I like to call the 4.5 Method -

    To output artwork for the correct screen mesh you need to adjust the LPI of your rip software -

    In order to get the correct halftone dot size(LPI) for a certain mesh count you would divide mesh count by 4.5. Mesh Count / 4.5 = Output LPI
    If you were stuck on a certain look for an artwork and really didn't want to change the halftones you can try to find the closest mesh count you have available in your screen room by multiplying the dot size by 4.5. Dot Size x 4.5 = Mesh Count

    Lets say you have an artwork in which you had processed the artwork using a simulated process separations and you wanted to output the artwork for 230 mesh screens, not including the white base which should be on 150-160.
    You would take the -
    230 mesh screen / 4.5 = 51.111
    I would just set my rip software to output my LPI at 50.


    • #4
      Great post IronStreet!

      The original rule of thumb was divide mesh count by 5 if you are beginning with halftones and fine details. So a 200 mesh will easily hold 40lpi, as long as you have properly dried screens, a good exposure unit, and proper films.

      If you are seasoned and have processes dialed in, you can divide by 4. So a 200 mesh will hold 50 lpi.

      Above this point, we start a conversation about thread diameter and how that affects both dot resolution during exposure and what dots will actually print onto the garment. Example: running 71 lpi on 230 thin thread mesh. Totally doable with the proper Emulsion, Mesh, Exposure Unit, and film density.

      I LOVE those shirts/art by the way. Absolutely amazing. Is that a retail job or through a local artist?


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