Screen Printing

What is Screen Printing?

Screen printing, also known as silk screening, is a traditional printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil. The stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink or other printable materials, which can be pressed through the mesh as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate. A squeegee is moved across the screen stencil, forcing ink into the mesh openings for transfer during the squeegee stroke. This method is most commonly used for printing on t-shirts, posters, and other flat surfaces.

History of Screen Printing

The technique of screen printing first appeared in a recognizable form in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD). It became popular in Western countries in the early 20th century when silk mesh was more available for use. Since then, the technique has evolved with the introduction of synthetic screens and the development of photographic techniques that allow for fine, detailed work.

Screen Printing in the Real World

Screen printing is widely used due to its versatility and durability. It can be employed on a variety of materials including textiles, ceramics, wood, paper, glass, and metal. Numerous businesses, from small boutique studios to large industrial facilities, utilize screen printing for a vast array of products such as graphic t-shirts, custom bags, circuit board printing, and more.

Screen Printing Process


Preparing the screen involves coating it with a light-sensitive emulsion, then blocking out the negative of the design to be printed.


The screen is secured in a frame, and the substrate is placed underneath. The ink is added on top of the screen.


The ink is pressed through the open areas of the mesh by pulling the squeegee across the screen. The substrate underneath catches the ink to form the image.


After printing, the ink on the substrate must be cured or set, often by heat, to ensure durability and color fastness.

Cleaning and Reclaiming

The screens are cleaned and can be reused after removing the old emulsion with a special washing fluid.


Screen printing is a highly effective printing technique known for its ability to produce vibrant, durable designs on a wide range of materials. It is especially popular for high-volume productions and its capability to print on diverse surfaces, making it a favored choice in many industries from fashion to signage.

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