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This is a video about printing the Laughing Squid stickers. These stickers will be at SXSW 2009.
Silkscreen printing is an everyday part of our lives, and this this printing method has its origins in China almost 3000 years ago.
Many of the stickers we print are silkscreen printed like these Laughing Squid stickers. This sticker has a green impression and a black impression. When combined, they make a two color sticker.
First, two screens mounted on a rigid frame are created, one for the green impression and one for the black impression.
The yellow areas are where the ink will pass through the screen. The green screen is mounted on the printing press making sure it is aligned properly. A specially formulated green ink is prepared, and a pre-measured amount is applied to the screen.
Two large squeegees set the ink in place, and then then machine begins to feed the adhesive backed vinyl sheets into the machine. A series of suction cups and steel fingers make sure the sheets go in one at a time. Then the two large squeegees alternate spreading ink across the screen and then scraping it off again. The ink is squeezed through the screen onto the vinyl sheets, and then the inks dry instantly using ultraviolet light.
This job required 500 sheets to be printed. The sheets are stacked and taken back to the front of the press. The screen is cleaned and the ink is put away to be used another day.
Next, the black screen is carefully mounted on the press. Black ink is applied, and the sheets are fed back into the machine. The process is repeated applying the black impression onto previously printed sheets. The printing process is completed and the sheets are fed through a slitting machine. Each sheet gets four slits so the stickers have a crack and peel backing. The stickers are ready to be trimmed in this cutting machine.
After careful alignment, the five horizontal cuts are made consecutively. This machine requires the operator to use two hands to activate the blade, which reduces the risk of injury. The sheets are turned and the process is repeated making the seven vertical cuts. Once the trimming is complete, a simple rubber band keeps the finished stickers in order. And that's how 2-color Laughing Squid stickers are made at StickerGiant.