How Does Screen Printing Work?

July 28, 2017

The printing technique in which a mesh is used to transfer the ink onto the required item except the areas that are made impenetrable Screen printing is a printing technique whereby a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate, except in areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil is known as screen printing.

The method of printing graphics using thick inks that imprint on the surface and not permeate the material is known as Screen printing or silk screening

The Way Screen Printing Works

The basic technique of screen printing is quite simple. It works more or less like a stencil with the difference that instead of cutting out shapes, the silkscreen is photo emulsion coated and by using a bright light the image is cut.

How Does Screen Printing Work?

Components of a Screen Printing Apparatus

Let us learn about the items that are required to set up a screen printing apparatus

  • Screen and frame

The frame can be made of various materials, but commonly wood or aluminium is used and the mesh is generally a synthetic polymer like nylon. The aperture of the mesh is selected based on the degree of detail required in printing.

  • Photo emulsion and sensitizer

A stencil is created by blocking off parts of the screen in the negative image of the design to be printed. So that the ink will appear on the substrate in the open spaces only. Next mixing the emulsion and sensitizer as per the directions provided by the manufacturer. Next pour a small quantity of the emulsion mixture onto the screen and spread it out evenly with the squeegee. Ensure that the emulsion is spread over a slightly larger area than the image you plan to print. It should form a thin, even layer over the screen.

A 250 watt Bulb

Angle a lamp with the 250 watt bulb at your image on the screen. A desk lamp with shade should be used. After about 15-20 minutes you can pull out the image. A faint impression of the image should be visible burned onto the screen. Do not let Overexposure as it will bleed the image.

Clean the screen with a cold water spray Place your shirt out on a flat surface. Insert a piece of cardboard inside the shirt below the area you plan to print on. Place the screen over the shirt with the design where you want to print it. Apply a small quantity of ink across the top of the screen. Using your squeegee make one smooth movement down the screen, you must exert strong pressure while moving the squeegee. Move the squeegee up, down, left, and right a few times so that all the ink goes through onto the shirt.

You’re done. If you want the image to stick on the shirt for a long time, heat it to 400 degrees for about 30 seconds. This is the process of doing screen printing explained in bare bones. Screen printing can be done manually or using automatic screen printing machine. If you want to get your