how screen printing works

In January I did a screen printing workshop at Sheffield Print Club and since then I have been going screen printing as much as possible so I can start getting good at it. I can’t write about how to be very good yet, but I can write about how the process works, which is cool.

All printing techniques involve putting one or more layers of ink down on top of each other on a substrate, typically paper. The different layers are different colours. All printing techniques allow the creation of multiple copies of the same print from a master version of the design. In screen printing the master version is held on screens. A screen is a fine mesh, that ink can be pushed through, stretched across a frame.

I’ve been making prints from ink drawings. Here’s two ink drawings that are the designs for the 2 layers of a 2 layer print:

Screen 1

I’ve soaked them in oil to make the paper translucent. Now you can see how the two layers align on top of each other. I assume most professional screen printers will work on their designs digitally in some fashion. Designing digitally means you can diddle with the shapes and colours of the layers until you’re happy that it’ll all work together just as you like.

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