Screen printing is one of the oldest techniques of printmaking. Its existence can be traced back to the Song Dynasty in China. The procedure of screen printing contains making a stencil of a design. The design is made on a screen of porous mesh, usually, it is made from silk. Then a squeegee or a roller is used to pull the ink over the stencil. The ink is forced onto the surface of the object through the mesh. The ink used in screen printing sits right on the surface of the object. The colors are rich and vibrant.
Process of Screen Printing
The screens are covered with light sensitive emulsion and shown using a positive image. The positive can be made in various ways, from digitally printed film to hand drawn with ink. The positive is placed right on the surface of the light table. The screen is positioned over the positive, print side down. The emulsion toughens when exposed to light. While where the positive blocks the light, it remains soft and water-soluble. After the exposure, the screen is taken to the washout sink. There the soft emulsion is washed away. Once the screen has dried completely, the screen is locked into hinges that are attached onto the print surface.
The object for printing is aligned and the location is marked with the registration tabs. Ink is applied directly to one end of the screen and is prepared to be dragged over the screen with the squeegee. A nice pass with the squeegee forces the ink through the mesh. It is visible on the print side of the screen. The screen is lower on the hinges and the squeegee is used to push the inked mesh flat against the surface of the object. This transfers a thin layer of ink to the object.
The amount of ink transferred to the object is controlled by the thickness of the emulsion. So images need a fine coat of emulsion in order to maintain their detail.
Screen printing can be used on a variety of surfaces, any surface that is flat can be printed on. Screen printing is suitable on following materials:
Benefits of Using Screen Printing
Some of the benefits of screen printing are:
- Screen printing is a quick procedure as it is simple and hassle free.
- It is best choice when you have to make copies in bulk.
- The colors used in the screen printing does not appear dull and weary. Even though they are exposed to harsh conditions. The ink used in the process is environment-friendly.
- With the help of screen printing, you can easily make larger designs. You can be more creative and resourceful as far as the size of the screen is concerned.
Products Suitable for Screen Printing
See examples below...