Screen printing is the process of applying a design to fabric using ink and a stencil. The process can be as simple as using only one color, or become quite complicated by using many colors.
After careful analysis of your screen printing needs, the proper screen print equipment needs to be chosen and then properly used to maximize the results of the screen printing. Consider the following when choosing silk screen equipment:
1. Determine the quantity of items that will be screen printed using the screen printing press.
2. Plan out the design that will be used in the screen printer; the size of the design and the amount of color used will set limitations on what screen printing equipment can be used.
3. Consider how quickly the screen printing process must happen. Determine whether it can be done one at a time in a single-color silk screen press or if it must happen much faster.
Prepare the screen print equipment for the screen filler methodUsing a soft lead pencil, lightly sketch or trace your design directly onto the mesh screen. Use various-sized brushes to paint the screen filler directly onto the screen in the negative space surrounding the design.
Use the right silk screen supplies for photo emulsionThe photo-emulsion technique of preparing the screen requires more supplies and time but provides the widest range of possibilities in your design. It allows for fine details, a painterly quality and range in tone. For photo-emulsion, the screen needs to be first coated with light-sensitive chemicals, an opaque image on a translucent screen needs to be prepared and then it is exposed to light.
Print with single-color screen printersAttach the prepared screen to a base to hold it in a stationary position, place the fabric underneath and lower the screen. Put ink in the reservoir at the bottom of the screen and push it over the design using a squeegee.
Screen print using a multi-color silk screen machineScreen printing using multiple colors is made much easier with the use of a multi-color printing press. A multi-color press allows the set-up of multiple colors and multiple screens at the same time, leaving the fabric in a stationary position. The presses are placed on the fabric, leaving one layer of the design.
- Practice by using paper in screen printing machines before putting ink directly onto the fabric.