How to Silk Screen Print

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Silk screen printing allows artists to create identical versions of the same image. You also can paint on the image to make small variations of the same print. Silk screens are one of the fastest and easiest ways to make prints, and they can be applied to paper, t-shirts, or other surfaces to make distinctive works of art. Although you can buy pre-assembled kits from art stores, it's simple enough to put together your own kits and begin making silk screen prints.

Things You'll Need

  • Silkscreen
  • Drawing Fluid
  • Screen filler fluid
  • Cardboard sheet
  • Paintbrush
  • Squeegee
  • Water resistant masking tape
  • Ink
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Wooden Frame
  • Scissors
  • Scrub brush
  • Rags
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Apron
  • Make a white and black line drawing on a piece of paper. Ensure that your drawing is bold so that it can be traced easily. Tape your drawing onto a work surface so that it it doesn't move. Locate your work area somewhere that can be cleaned easily and that you don't mind getting dirty.

  • Rest your silkscreen over the top of your image by suspending it on bottle caps. Any small uniform surface will do, as long as the distance between the screen and your paper is minimal. Make sure that that the silkscreen is slightly larger than your image, so that the entire image fits inside the screen.

  • Put on your apron and gloves before continuing your silk screen image, as the drawing fluid and screen filler can get messy. Trace your image onto the silkscreen using the drawing fluid and a fine paintbrush. Only trace the details you want to show up on the final image. Let the drawing fluid dry. You will know it's dry when it looks shiny.

  • Place the image on the sheet of cardboard and pour out the screen filer fluid at the top of the image. Screen fluids and screen filler are not all mutually compatible, so it's a good idea to use the same brand for both. Use a squeegee to evenly pull the the screen filler fluid over the image. Let it dry.

  • Use a hose or pressurized water source to clean the screen. This will make for a more even print. Let the screen dry for about a day. Use a brush to clean any areas of the screen that are not clear. Ensure that all of the blue drawing fluid has been washed away. Attach water resistant tape to the perimeter of your image. Do not cover any parts of the image you want to show up on your prints.

  • Attach your screen to a frame. These can be purchased at most art supplies stores and will save you the time of creating a wooden frame yourself. Ensure that the screen is pulled tight to make for the best quality images.

  • Pour ink onto your framed screen and use the squeegee to ensure that you apply an even coating of the ink to all parts of the print. Press your screen down onto the surface you want to silkscreen. If this is your first silk screen, you may want to try out the print on paper before applying the image to other surfaces such as fabric. Let your print dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once the image is completed, you may wish to add color manually by painting directly onto your print.
  • Screen printing can get messy. Wear clothes you can get dirty & prepare to clean
  • Have paper towels and newspaper handy.
  • Prepare your work area first to save clean up time.

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References

  • Photo Credit Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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