What is Screen Printing?

It is a simple printing technique where you apply the ink over the material where you want to print the image. This material is also called the substrate. This method is also known as serigraphy, serigraph printing, and even silkscreen printing. Serigraphy is the easiest to do on ceramic and metals.

Screen Printing Techniques

The image here is transferred to the substrate photographically so that you can get the exact picture on the substrate. The non-printing areas are covered and blocked by stencil, and then ink is smeared through the screen. The open mesh apertures are thus covered in ink resulting in printing on the material. The mesh most commonly used is polyester. Some other distinct mesh materials are nylon and stainless steel. There are separate screens for different colours. This process is repeated with different colours until you finish printing the image.

While the technique of the printing method is easy to understand, stencilling is not a laidback method. The process of stencilling that is most popular is photo emulsion. The steps for stencilling are:

  • You should first decide on a design or a picture. Then, draw or paint the photo on the screen, you can even get it photocopied to get the exact picture. The ink that you use must block the ultraviolet rays.
  • Then, a screen is selected. For different kinds of designs that you want to print, you will find different meshes. Once you have chosen the screen, you should cover it with emulsion, and then it must be dried. It is only after the screen has dried that it will be possible to burn or expose the screen.
  • Next, you place the cover over the screen and reveal the light that contains UV rays over it.
  • Then you wash the screen thoroughly. The emulsion of the areas where the light didn’t fall would dissolve and wash away, and only a negative stencil will be left.

Uses

Screen printing is gaining popularity very fast. One of the key reasons for this growing popularity is that you can do this on any material that is flat. There are thus endless options. Some uses of this type of printing are discussed here –

  • This process is used heavily in the textile industry. They use this technique to print on clothes. The kind of material here varies. It can be silk, polyester, cotton, organza et cetera. After you finish printing the image on the fabric, then you can turn them into completed products. These products comprise of shirts, dresses, children’s clothes, pants and every other type of clothing. Screen printing units are pretty cheap. Therefore, many designers even own their own these units so that they can do it themselves. The designer with the help of this method can quickly increase the sale of his or her brand. Other than clothes, you can also do serigraphy on materials, like curtains, cushion covers, bedcovers, bed sheets, upholstery, etc.
  • The other industry that also makes broad use of screen printing is the marketing and advertising industry. Posters, handouts, flyers, advertisements and all the different kinds of products also undergo this process. One of the many reasons why this industry uses this method very much is that serigraphy is a very inexpensive method. Even the advertisement industries prefer this method because of their general requirement for limited edition printing.
  • Sports Industry also has high use of screen printing. They use this to print collectible articles and sovereigns. The sports industry applies this to print t-shirts designed with the emblem of the popular teams and other important things like caps, key chains, mouse pads, sweatshirts, baseball bats and many other items. All of these are screen printed.
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