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Screen Printing at Home

Palmira S
Screen printing can be used to design various things like t-shirts, posters, and tote bags. It is an easy and interesting process that can be done at home.
Screen printing―also known as silkscreening or serigraphy―is a good option for printing designs on different materials like posters, canvas totes, etc. The prints done through this process are durable in nature and they do not fade off easily. Also, the materials required for screen printing at home are available easily.

Materials Required

  • Metallic or wooden frame, stretched with a screen mesh
  • Transperancy or vellum
  • Foam rubber, 4-6 inches thick
  • Screen printing ink
  • Squeegee
  • Light-sensitive emulsion
  • Piece of glass, slightly bigger than the frame


Step 1
Make sure that the frame is clean. If not, clean it with mild soap and allow it to dry at least for an hour. After this, coat the screen with light sensitive emulsion and scrape away excess emulsion from all the sides. Allow it to dry for a period of 12 hours.
Step 2
On a transparency, put a design. You can draw the design on the transparency or vellum with Indian ink or get the design printed. The image or design can be printed with the help of a laser printer.
Be careful while using a laser printer as some printers are too hot and can lead to melting of the vellum. If you are making the design with Indian ink, brush the strokes twice for the purpose of opacity. When this step is being done, the screen or the transparency should not be exposed to light at all.
Step 3
Place the foam rubber on the flat surface and then place the coated screen frame over it. On the screen, place the transparency upside down and place heavy objects like books on its corner.
Hang a source of light 18 inches above the screen and turn on the light for the number of minutes recommended by the manufacturer. Make sure that the screen is not exposed for more than the specified time.
Step 4
Develop the screen with warm water. Spray the screen till the image area is free of all emulsion. Use more water pressure if the screen does not develop easily.
After the procedure of developing is complete, remove the extra emulsion with the help of a newspaper, which will help in blotting. If the removal of emulsion is leading to the degradation of the quality of the image, increase the exposure time.
Step 5
Allow the screen to dry and then place it over a paper or a T-shirt. In order to create a reservoir of the ink, add the ink to one side of the screen. With one hand, hold the screen tightly and with the other hand, pull two to three strokes with the help of the squeegee.
Now, pick up the screen and check the print. After you get the desired print, immediately clean the screen. You can try a finer screen mesh if the print smudges. If you think that the T-shirt has not received enough of ink, try a thinner ink or make use of a wider screen mesh.
After knowing how to screen print at home, you will surely not be able to resist doing it yourself. Silkscreening at home can be very interesting and you can give wings to your artistic self by trying out different patterns. It's easy and yet beautifully different.