How to Screen Print?
Screen-printing is not a new technique. It has been around in Asia forever. It was introduced in the west only in the last century. It only received a lukewarm reception until they started using it for T-shirts in the 1960s and it was the start of the major screen printing revolution. Now a day it is a very popular method of making designs on fabrics and garments. Its basic principle is very simple. You create a screen or a mesh that you place on the object that you want to put your print on. Then you put the ink on the screen and move it with the help of a rubber blade called a squeegee to apply ink to your substrate.
Simple! Isn’t it? As they say the devil is in the detail. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to make this simple process work. The first thing that you have to take care off is the preparation of the screen. You need to design the mesh that will allow only the right amount of ink to go on to the substrate and blocks of the rest of it. You will also need to make sure that ink only enters the substrate at the desired point and does not leave any unwanted marks on the rest of the substrate. The natural question would be. What is substrate? It is just a fancy word for the medium, on which you are going to print your image, traditionally it used to be silk, but now you can do it in any of the mediums. You can do it on plastics, paper, fabrics of all kinds and on many other products and raw materials also.
Once you have prepared your substrate, it is time to prepare your screen. In order to do that you cover the mesh with a special emulsion and let it dry until it is ready and then you burn it. You must coat it with special materials and with a special technique. It will ensure that only the part that you will not need will burn away and the remaining remains intact. Once you have done that you are ready to proceed to the next step. Before doing that you also need to fix your screen in the wooden borders. At this stage, your mesh should resemble the final shape that you want to print on your substrate Now put your screen on the top of your substrate and use ink well from bottom towards the top.
What happens is that by this stage your mesh is soaked with ink now you push it down with the help of your squeegee. Once it deposits the ink on the substrate, you relieve the pressure on mesh and it jumps right back to the top, for the process to start all over again. You need to make certain modifications if you want to print a multi-colored image. This method is for monochrome or single color printing only. Basic techniques remain the same, but you have to make adjustments as the screen print and the process becomes more complicated.