How to: screen print
23 September 2022
Looking to learn a new creative skill? Our 'How to' series has got you covered.
Up first, Fashion & Textiles Institute technician Freya shows us how to screen print onto fabric.
Prepare the space
The first step is to prepare the printing space by washing our print tables. So our print tables are covered in a specialist rubber so we have to scrub them first with warm soapy water to get rid of any old prints or anything like that on the surface.
Then once we've scrubbed it we have to squeegee the water off. Once we've done that we then dry off the table with paper towel just to get it completely dry and then the final step we have to cover it in a glue called Gum Arabic. We cover the whole table and then once that's dry it means we can iron our fabric down onto it.
Cut out paper stencils
We move on to cutting out our paper stencils. So we're going to be using newsprint for our stencils because it's really nice and thin so it doesn't interfere with the screen when we're actually printing with it.
We'll cut out our stencils using scissors or craft knife until we get our lovely designs to print with.
Mix your printing inks
Right, so once you've got our stencils made, we then move on to mixing up our inks. So we're using what's called a translucent binder which is just the carrier for colour. It's translucent which means it takes on the background colour of whatever we print onto but to add actual colour to the binder we use Eco pigments. We just add in bit by bit until we get to the colour that we want. Give it a good stir and then our inks are ready to print with.
Time to screen print
Once we've got our inks mixed up, it's then finally time to print. So we have to stick our stencil onto our screen. Once we've done that, we mask off any area of the screen that we don't want to print with and then we turn the screen over put it on top of our fabric or our garment, whatever it is we're printing, then we pop some ink across the top of our screen pull it through with a squeegee and then that's our screen print done!