The Screenprinting Process

The Screenprinting Process


To begin, the artist applies a stencil to a piece of fabric stretched over a wooden frame. The stencil will then block all openings except the image area. A sheet of paper is placed under the screen a coat of ink is applied on the top. The artist pulls the ink across the screen with the squeegee, forcing the paint through the open areas and onto the paper below.

Screen Prep

Preparing the Screen

Screen printing requires multiple steps. Preparing the screen is the first step. To do this, the artist takes a fine mesh fabric, such as silk, polyester, or cotton and sizes it to the frame. Excess fabric is cut away, and the edges are taped to prevent ink from leaking on to the surface. The screen is now ready for an artist to apply the stencil. There are a couple different methods artists can use to get the stencil onto the screen. These options include the block-out transfer method, the photographic transfer method, or the cut stencil transfer method.


In this image, you can see that Baker is rinsing the screen with a high-pressure spray that washes away on exposed or soft image area from the stencil that was created. The finished screen is then ready to print with paint.

Applying paint

Printing the Image

After transferring the image onto the screen, the artist places the screen in a clamp inch to facilitate the printing process. The original design is directly positioned under the screen and the artist marks with tape the spot where the paper should be consistently placed.

Copy of IMG_7508

In a smooth movement, the artist pulls the ink across the surface of the screen with a squeegee, forcing the ink through the openings on the screen. This method allows the artist to use quick and repetitive motion. In between the strokes, the artist uses a backhanded stroke, call the ‘flood stroke’ to prevent the ink from drying out and blocking the imaging area of the screen. If an artist wants to use multiple colors they will utilize additional screens. After the print of the original image has been printed and the ink is dry, the artist positions this dried print under a second screen. The finished print would be the product of the two screens combined after the artist uses the colors of ink that they want and stretch it across the screen with the squeegee.



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