Friday, 22 June 2012

Screen Printing using a Paper Stencil

First prepare the screen by washing it with detergent and rinsing it to making sure it is thoroughly clean. Tape along the sides of the frame so that half the width of the tape overlaps onto the screen mesh and the other half runs the length of the screen. Do the same on the underneath. This will help to maintain a tight screen and prevent inks from leaking under the frame during printing.

The fastest, simplest method of creating a stencil for your screen is with paper. This method is good for creating uncomplicated designs with basic shapes or patterns. More complex designs can be created using different techniques such as the Screen Filler Method.

Grease-proof paper, with the shiny side facing upwards, is great for making a strong paper stencil. The paper can be cut with scissors, a craft knife or torn to create textured edges. Using the 'paper chain' technique you can repeat a design across the paper. For your stencil you can use the cut out or the remaining paper.

A simple geometric shape is ideal for use as a stencil
Lay out your fabric or paper and place the stencil where you want the image to be printed. Remember that if you're printing a t-shirt you need to place a piece of plastic sheeting between the front and back of the t-shirt to stop inks from seeping through. Place the screen over the top of the stencil.

Spoon the ink across the end of the screen nearest to you. With the screen lifted slightly from the base, apply an even blanket of ink onto the print area.  Be sure to use an easy, smooth stroke with the squeegee at a slight angle away from you. This is the flood stroke.

Place the screen onto your surface and make sure it is pressed flat against the stencil, keeping it as still as possible. Lift the squeegee over the ridge of the ink and make the print stroke by pulling towards yourself. Keep the squeegee at a 45° angle with enough pressure to scrape the ink across the screen.

You will find with the first pass of the squeegee, that the ink will cause the cutouts to stick to the underside of the screen, creating a stencil effect.

Generally 10 - 15 prints can be satisfactorily produced using this method.

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