What is Screen Printing A Detailed Overview Posted On: Aug-17-2022 By: Alex Jones

When a variety of indelible printing fluids are forced or passed through a blocking screen and stencil, and art is created on any number of surfaces which is called silkscreen art. Historically, it is also known as serigraphy, silk screening, and serigraphic printing. However, for larger-scale production, technical advances have been made in the same technique to make it more compatible with larger productions. Mechanized developments have also contributed very well to the identity and recognition of this art.

The True Form of Screen Printing: (What Is Screen Printing)

Screen printing was first used by the Chinese around 2000 years back. It is an old form of printing used in those days. In this technique, ink or paint is pushed hard through a mesh stencil onto the canvas, which is also known as substrate. Generally, the process of screen printing is very simple and easy, and it allows the user to make identical logos, designs, on different items.

The most important tool for screen printing is its screen. It is the most important equipment in the whole process. The simplest screen of screen printing is just like a piece of mesh being stretched across a wooden frame. There are certain areas on the mesh have the ink blocking substance on it, thus making it impossible for the ink or paint to pass through. In screen printing, substrates are the objects on which the designs are passed on. The designs are transferred on it. It can be anything, any item as long as it can be laid flat. It can be used as a screen printed or the substrate. Some of the most popular objects that are used as substrate are paper, cardboard, wood, and fabric. Often the stuff like t-shirts is also decorated with screen printing.

When you have the object on which the screen has to be printed, you just lay out the object on a flat surface, and the screen is laid on its top. Then, the ink or paint is poured over the top of the screen surface. Then, a roller or squeegee is used to press the ink or paint to pass through the holes of mesh and imprint on the surface of the substrate. The areas in which the mesh is not being covered by the ink blocking substance will let the ink or paint pass through and that is how the paint will be transferred to the surface of the substrate.

The Work Environment

Screen printer helps you in making specifically designed items that you wish. Screen printers are also used to print logos, designs, quotes, or any design on your desired item such as posters, t-shirts, clothing, decals, and tapestries.

The one who wishes to use screen printing can purchase it or make his own. Many beginners choose the option of making it as it is not at all difficult to make a screen printing machine. To start with basic, a fine mesh is often stretched across a square wooden frame and it is secured by the use of staples. Also one can use hinges to attach any flat surface like a wooden board to the wooden frame, and it will also keep the mesh on its place while lifting the screen frame.

When you are done making a screen printing press, now you will have to make the stencils for the screens. You can make your original design or any design you like, or you will make it according to the client’s requirements. For instance, a client might want his logo or motto printed on the t-shirts.

For the making of stencils, you will lay down the picture of the desired design under a blank surface. The design will be traced to the screen with a pencil or pen. Now the ink blocking surface is used for all the areas through which the ink and paint shouldn’t pass.

When you intend to make a design with one color, you usually need only one stencil. But if you are dealing with complex design with multiple colors, you will need multiple stencils, one for each color. For instance, if you are making a logo with 4 colors, you will need 4 stencils.

Types of Screen Printing

There are following types of screen printing:

Plastisol Printing

Plastisol inks are the standard inks for screen printing. It is suspended it plasticizing emulsion, and Itself it is an oil-based ink formed into pigment and PVC molecule. The quality of plastisol inks that it sits on the top of the t-shirts rather than sinking into it so it gives a beautiful texture and feels to the shirt. If you use the ink straight out of its container, it will be opaque and will give a feeling of brightness and vibrancy that no other ink can give. These inks are very versatile and have special effects. Often, glitters, cracked effects, pearlescent effects, and much more are used with the plastisol ink to give a special effect.

Waterbased Printing

Waterbased printing is preferred due to the following reasons:

  • Ethically it is said that waterbased inks offer better result and are not harmful like oil-based inks.
  • As compared to plastisol inks, they are very soft.
  • When these inks are printed on to the white shirts, this gives an invisible touch effect as the water evaporates from the surface and ink sinks deeper into the shirt.

However, it is tricky to work with them as they dry out time is very less, so in longer print runs- these inks dry out and also their printing gradient is very tricky as they have difficulty with high mesh count screens. If you want tonally variable work, plastisol inks are the best then.

When you are printing dark colored shirts, waterbased inks are hard to work. They work their best with cotton garments.

Discharge Printing

There is a bleaching agent which needs to be added to the waterbased inks, it removes the color from any garment and let the ink sit which makes the pigment settle for the neutral color. This all happens in the dryer when the process has reached the required temperature. If you are using thin ink deposits and vibrant colors, the results are excellent.

Plastisol is the best when it is about the brightness but many designs are designed to look vintage, at that part, discharge printing is the right one.

Who Can Do Screen Printing?

Although it is very clear that one doesn’t need any formal education to work as a screen printer as it is a skillful job but having one is a plus point. Honestly speaking, there is no one degree that a screen printer must possess, but some colleges do offer a degree program in screen printing.

The general art degrees work well in understanding the basis of this career. The general art students are usually taught about painting, different forms of art, and even stencil making. Many art schools have even degree in screen printing. If you have a degree in graphic designing or illustration, it will also work well for the screen printing work.

Screen Printing As An Art

One thing that people often don’t realize that screen printing is an art in much more than one form. Not all t-shirt printers and machines take so much delicate care of the fabric as the screen printer does. It makes sure that the print shouldn’t crack, the colors shouldn’t overlap, the ink is thick enough and the design is straight. If dealt with care, a screen printing machine is the best one for delicate printing as well.

The benefits of screen printing

Not Just Shirts

Many people possess this idea that what is screen printing is all about shirts only. This is completely wrong as screen printing is open to many objects, such as purses, mousepads, posters, banners, bandanas, signs, jackets, and much more.

Custom Results

Want a bit different results than what you originally desired? No problem, you can always change the process of screen printing for different and custom results. Even if you need a faded print on any of your shirts, screen printing is all for it. You have a specific color in your mind to go with? Name it and it can be done with the screen printing.


Who doesn’t want variety and options? You are not limited to cotton fabric or just linen fabric for screen printing, tons of synthetic fabrics can be designed and printed by the help of screen printing. Don’t limit yourself, explore your options and enjoy the perks of screen printing.

So, how do you like to have a screen printing machine? Or you want your fabrics to be printed with the designs you desire, you go straight to the screen-printer. Now you do know What is screen printing. Right? And don’t forget to know your options before you walk in there. Screen printing machine offers you so much more than you think it does. From colors to fabrics, the screen printing machine has taken care of it all. Always know enough to have it all in your mind when making the order.

Find out more about Screen Printing and how it works, and what it means. This post will help you get all the information you want regarding this technique.