Screen printing favours bold designs with big blocks of colours, that are applied in layers to build your design. These guidance notes are for screen printing with stencils, which makes it easy to print at home. If you haven’t tried screen printing before, you might prefer to start with a small screen that you can easily make yourself, before committing yourself to buying large screens. You can find instructions for making and using a small screen in Screen Printing with Small Screens.
It’s important to have plenty of space to work when printmaking with areas for preparation, printing, storage and drying. When screen printing, you should have access to a sink for washing out ink from your screens and squeegees. For tips and ideas for setting up your workspace read A Home Printmaking Studio.
You’ll need a wooden or aluminium framed screen, clamps to fix your screen in place on your workbench, a squeegee that is wider than your design by at least 5cms, inks and paper or fabric.
Cut a stencil from paper or card, remembering that the areas you cut away will be the parts that print. Fix your stencil to the screen, leaving space at either end for your ink well and use newsprint to cover any other exposed areas of the screen so that no ink can leak out.
Clamp your screen in place, spoon out a well of ink across the top of your screen, covering the width of your design. Place your squeegee behind the ink well and pull towards you, you may need to do two passes to completely print the image.
Slightly lift the screen and use the squeegee to flood the ink back across the screen, before fully lifting the screen to reveal your print. Repeat until you have the required number of prints.
Once you’ve mastered a single colour print, you can add more colours.
Once finished remove your stencil and wash out the screen with water to prevent screen blocking.
We run printmaking workshops and courses throughout the year at Slamseys where students learn how to make two or three colour screenprints.