How to Restretch a Silkscreen Frame With Adhesive

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Silk Screen Making
Silk Screen Making (Image: juhansonin: Flickr.com)

Restretching silk screens is accomplished by stretching screen mesh on a screen stretching device, and gluing to the screen frame. The operation requires the proper equipment, tools, practice, and patience. Commercial screen stretchers are available in manual or automatic models, or you may substitute a retensionable screen frame, larger than the frame you will be gluing. Follow the owner's manual and manufacturer's recommendations for proper use of the stretching device. Manual stretching without a device will not allow enough tension for a usable silk screen.

Things You'll Need

  • Screen glue
  • Glue spreader
  • Screen frame
  • Screen mesh
  • Screen stretcher
  • Razor knife
  • Tension meter
  • Wood blocks

Clean silk screen thoroughly, removing all traces of ink.

Remove old mesh by peeling it away, starting from a corner edge. It is generally not necessary to remove or abrade old glue. Sand down any sharp or rough edges old glue may have left behind.

Center the frame within the screen stretching device, and place wood blocks underneath corners to allow the frame surface to rise slightly above the level of the stretching frame.

Load screen mesh into the stretching device, and tension to manufacturer's published recommendations for mesh type and count.

Measure mesh tension with a screen tension meter, and ensure that even tension is achieved over all areas of the mesh.

Ensure that the frame to be glued is making positive contact with the screen mesh, and is pushing up against the tightened mesh. You may need to add more wood blocks, or weigh down corners of the stretching device to facilitate contact.

Follow glue manufacturer's mixing and application recommendations. Pour a thin, continuous line of glue onto the mesh, over the frame edge.

Spread glue evenly around the frame edge, using a flat plastic glue applicator or heavy cardboard.

Allow glue to dry according to manufacturer's recommendations.

Release tension on the stretching device, and trim along the edges of the glued frame with a sharp razor knife. Your screen is now ready for use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Instant screen glue does not require mixing and setting time, using a chemical spray activator to set the glue immediately. Use glue sparingly to avoid waste and over-gluing. A piece of waste paper, placed in the middle of the screen, will help catch unwanted drips.
  • Perform this task in a well ventilated area, away from open flame and heat sources. Screen glue fumes can be harmful if inhaled, and are flammable. Use care when checking the frame for sharp edges and using the razor knife. Stretching devices hold a large amount of tension, and can buckle if not used and secured properly. Always follow manufacturers guidelines for safe operation.

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