Screen Burning Services & Pre-Burned Screens FAQS

The Most Important Best Practice

Whether you are an experienced screen printer or just starting out, this best practice will save you headache and disappointment. 

Our screens are designed to achieve superior print results using fewer and smoother pulls than what traditional silk screens require. This means, you won't have to make as many passes to get the perfect print and there will be less fatigue on your hands, wrists and forearms.
In addition to reading these FAQs approach your initial prints or test prints with this in mind:
Experienced Screen Printers & Automatic Presses
For the first few pulls, start with applying only 50% of the pressure you would normally use with a squeegee. Hold the blade at a 15 degree angle. Adjust your technique from there.
It is unecessary to be overly aggressive or forceful when priting with our screens. They are designed to make printing with minimal effort a reality.
Hobbyists & New Printers
If this is your first time printing, it only makes sense to get familiar with the feel before you print on garments you've purchased. We recommend test printing on Pellons or used shirts first. Make sure you have a squeegee that fits the width of your image. You will want to apply light to moderate pressure while pulling the ink evenly over the image field. Keep the squeegee blade at a 15 to 20 degree angle.

How Do I Clean An Arena Digital Screen?

Cleaning and maintaining your Arena screen burn is less involved than the process required for traditional mesh screens. All you will need to clean ink from the image area on our screens are microfiber cloths, ink removal cards and a non-citrus based screen opener specific to Plastisol ink or Water-based inks. 

We recommend Arena Screen Wash and Camie 480 Screen Opener for all plastisol inks and AlbaChem Water Based Screen Opener for water-based and discharge inks. 

Whatever brand of screen opener you use, never use a citrus based screen opener. Citrus based cleaners are too acidic for the screens and will only erode the emulsion in the fibers.

Begin by removing all the excess ink surrounding the print area with the ink removal card. For water-based inks, make sure to "print out" as much of the excess ink as possible and pull the excess ink off the image to the bottom of the frame. Reclaim and save as much of the ink as you can by scooping it back into the ink container.

Spray Alba Chem Water Based Cleaner on a microfiber cloth and begin wiping clean the print side of the screen. Repeat this process with the ink side of the screen making sure ALL excess ink is completely cleared from the image area. You might have to repeat this process 3-4 times. Once the image area is thoroughly clean, you will still notice a halo effect around the image area but this is normal. Never use a paper towel with Albachem to clean the screen. Paper towels are simply not absorbent enough.  

For plastisol inks, first scrape off and reclaim as much of the excess ink as possible. Use a microfiber cloth, or as a last resort, a dry paper towel. You can spray Arena Screen Wash or Camie 480 directly onto the screen surface to create a thin even layer. Start with the print side and begin cleaning the remaining ink from the image area. Then repeat the process on the ink side. Plastisol Ink is the only ink that can be left on the screen long term.

For both Water based and Plastisol inks, there will never be a need to use a single drop of water when cleaning the mesh. In fact, using water or a damp cloth on plastisol or water based inks will only work to smear the ink without a meaningful result. 

Never attempt to clean the screen with a shower head or the traditional washout booth. The pressure from the spray will annihilate the mesh and your screen will be unusable. 

One important note: When using water based inks, it is important that you flood the image area if you are needing to take a break during a print run. If you do not flood the image, water based ink will begin permanently setting into the mesh and your screen will be unusable. Flooding the image will buy you a couple of hours of downtime without damaging the mesh. 

Cleaning with Microfiber Cloths

Disposable microfiber cloths are the best option for cleaning both water based inks and plastisol inks from the mesh. You can also use discarded cotton t-shirts. For plastisol ink removal, only a few microfiber cloths will be needed per frame. Water based inks on the other hand, can require a dozen cloths to fully soak up the excess ink before it sets into the mesh. We don't recommend using paper towels to remove water based inks, but if you must use them as a last resort, make sure you have plenty on hand. Paper towels do not have the same absorbency of cloth and are more abrasive on the mesh.

A Tip Before Using Plastisol Ink

Plastisol inks are thicker than water based inks- especially white plastisol.
Before using any plastisol ink, make sure to mix it to the point where its consistency is 'creamy' in texture. If you try to print without mixing the ink to a smooth, even texture, you will have trouble pulling the ink through the mesh. To mix plastisol ink, simply use a wooden stir stick. For smaller amounts (pints, quarts) a stir stick or knife will be fine. Larger buckets of ink will require the use of a hand drill and mixing tool attachment.
You can save and reuse any residual plastisol ink you have scraped from the frames you are planning to store.

How To Use Arena's Screen Wash or Camie 480 To Clean Plastisol Ink From Your Screen

Camie480 ande Arena Screen Wash can only be used to remove plastisol inks from the mesh. You will need a microfiber towel, used T-shirt or dry paper towel with this product.
Plastisol inks are not as sensitive to air drying as water based inks are. In fact, you can leave the unused plastisol ink on your frame for months without any effect on the image field.
When you are ready to store or change the color for a new print run, simply "print out" as much of the excess plastisol ink as possible from the image burn and pool the remaining ink to the bottom or top sides of the screen (depending on your pull direction). Remove the excess ink with an ink removal card and transfer the unused ink back to its container.
You can spray the Camie480 or Arena Screen Wash directly onto the mesh. An even coat across the print side of the image burn is all you need. Try not to saturate the mesh. With Camie480, less is better. Using the microfiber cloth or paper towel, start by cleaning the ink from the image burn using circular motion. You can apply medium pressure to clean the ink from the screen burn elements. Once the print side is clean and visible, apply the same application to the ink side of the screen.
Under no circumstance should you use a shower head, sink faucet or spray bottle to apply water to the mesh. Water will only succeed in spreading the ink you're trying to clean and can ultimately damage the image burn.
We advise using protective gloves whenever applying cleaning agents to the screen.

A Tip Before Using Water Based And Discharge Ink

Water Based and Discharge Inks are technically the same.
Discharge inks are commonly used when printing on dark garments. It's still water-based, but it contains a few more pigments that allow the color to "pop" on dark garments. Discharge Inks use an activator additive to soften the dye in the shirt. This activator, or discharging agent, brings the shirt back to its natural bone color so the inks, when cured, appear more vibrant.
If you use discharged inks without the activator, the print result will mimic traditional water based inks. You can use discharge inks with or without the activator on light garments.
Like plastisol inks, we recommend mixing water based inks to the point where its consistency is even in texture. To mix water based ink, simply use a wooden stir stick. For smaller amounts (pints, quarts) a stir stick or knife will be fine. Larger buckets of ink will require the use of a hand drill and mixing tool attachment- especially if you're adding the activator.

Using the Water Based Ink Discharge Activator

EnviroLine® D-Powder Discharge Activator is used to activate water-based inks to discharge. Stir in 3-6%, by weight, of EnviroLine® D-Powder Discharge Activator and mix well. Different percentages of the Activator will affect the discharge results. Increase or decrease in order to achieve desired results. Mix only enough for current production requirements. Activated ink should be used within 8 hours.

How To Use AlbaChem To Clean Water Based Ink From Your Screen

AlbaChem can only be used to remove water based inks from the mesh. You will need a microfiber towel or used T-Shirt with this product. Do not use paper towels as they are not absorbent enough to properly clear the ink from the image field.
After you have fully "printed out" as much of the excess water based ink on the image as possible, push any remaining ink to the bottom or top sides of the screen (depending on your pull direction). Remove and transfer the excess ink back to the ink container. Do not spray the AlbaChem directly on the mesh. Instead, saturate the microfiber cloth or T-shirt with AlbaChem and clean the print side first using a circular motion.
You will need to apply the same application to the ink side of the frame. Make sure you begin applying the AlbaChem immediately after printing out and removing the excess ink. Without flooding the image, water based inks dry quickly into the image burn. Cleaning your screen exactly as described above will ensure the life of your image burn and allow you to print multiple color runs.
Under no circumstance should you use a shower head, sink faucet or spray bottle to apply water to the mesh. Water will only succeed in spreading the ink you're trying to clean and can ultimately damage the image burn.
We advise using protective gloves whenever applying cleaning agents to the screen.

How Does Arena Digital Mesh Compare With Traditional Mesh Counts?

Arena Digital Screens come in only three mesh counts. The thermal print process makes it possible for our mesh to hold more "image information" creating higher resolution burns. If you are more accustomed to using a specific mesh count for your prints, you can achieve the results you're looking for using this comparison:


For photographs, fine lines, gradients, tiny fonts use: 

Arena Digital Mesh 200 replaces Traditional Mesh Counts of 230/280/305


For less detailed line art, or artwork using fills and fine details use:

Arena Digital Mesh 120 replaces Traditional Mesh Counts of 160/200


For full fills, heavier inks and larger elements use:

Arena Digital Mesh 70 replaces Traditional Mesh Counts of 60/90/110 

How Many Total Prints Can I Get From An Arena Screen Burn?

We do not recommend printing more than 3000 prints with a single screen burn. Let us know if you have a multi-color print job that requires more than 3000 total prints. We do have the ability to double the life of the screen burn if you are printing vector artfiles or are using an automatic press.

Can I reclaim and reuse the Digital Mesh screens?

Arena Digital Screens NEVER need to be reclaimed. In fact, if you try to wash our screens in a wash booth, you'll destroy the mesh. The frames we ship you can be re-stretched with traditional mesh if you needed to reuse the frame. Once you are completely done printing, simply cut out the mesh and run it through your oven. The heat will shrink it into a tiny ball that can be thrown away.

We also buy back used frames in exchange for a discount on your next burn order.

What Is The Difference Between Standard and Same Day Turnaround?

Orders placed and approved before 11am PST can qualify for Same Day Turnaround. In most cases, your screen burn will be ready to ship by the "end of business" within 12-24 hours from the time you approve your digital mock-ups or print proofs. We will not burn your screen until we receive your email approval. Failing to approve the digital mock-ups will delay your Same Day Turnaround. Orders placed on weekends, holidays or after the close of business on Fridays will be pushed to the next business day. Approval delays will affect turnaround time.


If your order is placed within normal business hours, the Standard Turnaround time takes 3 - 4 days from the date you approve the digital mockups or print proofs, excluding weekends, holidays and delivery time.


We do offer expedited shipping as an option. Neither the Standard nor the Same Day Turnaround options include expedited shipping. UPS Standard Ground Shipping is the default shipping option offered at checkout for orders that qualify for Free Shipping and requires 4-5 business days. If you need your screen burn delivered Next Day Air, 2 Day Air, or Priority Express, you will be solely responsible for selecting and paying for those options at checkout.

How Do I Tape Off Image Areas On The Screen?

To tape off sections of your screen that don't need printing, clean the mesh first then simply cover the section of the image that you don't want printed with a paper towel. Use the True Blue Painters tape to tape down the edges so the pad stays in place. If you are needing to print in multiple colors, the only tape you should use on the digital mesh is True Blue Painter's tape. Traditional blue polyurethane tape can be used if you do not intend on ever removing it. If you do use and attempt to remove the traditional screen tape, the mesh will tear. Additionally, If you do not apply the pad and attempt to use the blue painters tape without protecting the image area, the adhesive from the tape and ink will combine and permanently set into the mesh. If this happens, there is a great chance you'll tear the screen while removing it.

Can I Reprint In Different Color Plastisol or Water Based Inks Using The Same Screen Burn?

The only inks we can't recommend using our screens for are glitter metallics. Water based, Plastisol, Varnish and Graphene-based inks all work with our mesh.


Absolutely. Simply clean the ink off of both sides of the mesh using a dry paper towel with Camie 480 Screen Opener for Plastisol inks and a damp paper towel and Albachem Water-based Screen Opener for water-based and discharge inks.


No other chemicals should be used to clean or prep your screen for the next print run.

What is File Optimization & Image Prep

From time to time, clients are only able to supply raster graphic files that need converting into print ready vector files that are optimized for our screen burning process. Arena offers this service at a cost per each image file. You will receive the vector file versions for your records and future use. Arena does not provide custom design work. Should you need a starting point for commissioned design work, we recommend, and

The starting cost for most small to medium vector file optimization is $50. This could vary depending on the detail and size of your image.

Taping Off And Applying Blockout Tape The Mesh

We recommend using Green Blockout Tape when you need to tape off a screen with multiple images or for covering pin holes that might appear while printing.
Tru Blue Painters tape can also be used for smaller quantity print runs.
To tape off sections of the screen that won't be used during a print run, simply apply the necessary amount of tape to fully cover the image you aren't currently printing. This is common when printing with a single screen that has both a pocket print image and front or back placement image. You won't need to layer the tape, just ensure all unneeded image elements are covered.
After printing, remove the excess ink and carefully peel the tape from the mesh. You might need to create a 'handle' by folding over one end of the tape so removal is easier. It is important to remove the tape after printing and before cleaning the screen so moisture and adhesive don't have time to set. Tape left on the screen for more than a few hours after printing could damage the image burn if it's removed after drying.
Once the tape is removed, follow the normal cleaning recommendations for water based or plastisol inks.

Print Wheels, Table Top Stations and DIY Setup

We highly recommend using professional printing equipment to help you achieve consistent results, especially for multiple color image burns. In this case, image alignment is critical and large quantity print runs always work best when the screens can be properly set and aligned. If you do not have a manual or automatic print wheel or table top station, make sure your garment is placed flat on the print surface and ensure that the item you are printing on will not slip or move when applying the ink. Some inks will require two or more pulls and the slightest bit of movement between pulls can create ghosting or blurred results.

What is an Arena Digital Screen Burn?

The Arena Digital Screen process uses a CTS (computer to screen) system with a thermal head that heat perforates an image onto mesh laminated with film. Arena Digital Screens drastically simplify the work flow required to burn a 1200 dpi print image without a need for the emulsion or film positives conventional screen making uses. Arena Digital Screens do not require light exposure, chemical cleaning or wash-out.

What is the actual image size that can be burned on each screen?

The print areas of our digital screens are slightly larger than a traditional screen burn:


20" x 24" Standard Size Screen = 13" x 18" image area

23" x 31" Large Size Screen = 18" x 24" image area

25" x 36" Extra Large Size Screen = 18" x 29" image area


Will I be able to see a print proof before you burn the screens?

Absolutely! The best part about our digital screen service is that we are able to print an exact copy of what your image will look like once after you print. We send digital mock ups with every order to confirm the image size, resolution and placement. For more complex artwork, you can request thermal print proofs of each screen burn layer. With these print proof images, you will literally be able to see fine lines and half tones.

Can I return my used frames?

Yes, Arena will buy back each used frame for a $2.50 credit on your next screen burn order. If have 3 or more used frames and want to send them back, let us know when you're ready to return the frames and we'll send you a pre-paid mailing label. Please visit our Frame Buyback Contact Form.

Shipping & Returns

What Is Arena's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee / Return Policy?

If you have supplied the print ready art files and approved the Print Proofs with a verifiable email confirmation, your Pre-burned screens are replaceable or refundable only if:


1. The return request is made within 10 days from receipt of merchandise unless stated otherwise.
2. The screen is delivered torn or damaged

3. Arena has received the returned screen  

Email to get the process started.

Replacement Screens:
Unless new artwork is supplied, replacement screens ship within 2 business days from the day we receive the request. All replacements will be shipped via UPS Ground. Expedited shipping options are available for an additional charge.

Screen Returns & Refunds:
Refunds are given in the same form of the original payment used for purchase within 1 to 3 business days of receipt of the return package. Refunds will be processed only when we receive the damaged or canceled screens back to our Phoenix facility.

Shipping and handling fees are not refundable unless the return or exchange is a result of our error.

How long do the screens take to ship?

Standard Shipping & Free Shipping is done through USPS Priority Mail. We are located in Phoenix, Arizona and depending on your distance from us, it can take 2 - 8 days for your frames to arrive.


Alternative shipping options for overnight or 2 day delivery are available at checkout. Feel free to Live chat or call us at 602-357-3288 if you need expedited shipping or have special shipping instructions.

Can I track my order?

Yes, you will be provided with a tracking number for your order by email once your purchase has shipped.