Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Screen Printing using Screen Filler & Drawing Fluid

The direct block-out or “Negative Method” of screen printing can be achieved by using Speedball Screen Filler.  The screen filler blocks out the areas of the screen that you DO NOT want to print through.

It is always a good idea to make sure your screen is completely clean before starting a new print.  Use Mesh Prep Gel (see on website) to degrease monofilament polyester mesh fabric.

Draw out your design on a piece of paper, place beneath the screen and trace the image onto the screen mesh with a soft lead pencil.  Stir the screen filler to a smooth consistency before applying with a paint brush to the areas not to be printed.  Allow to dry thoroughly in a horizontal position, bottom-side up, before applying the flood stroke.

Screen filler can also be used in conjunction with Speedball Drawing Fluid.  The drawing fluid acts as a mask so that Tusche–resist or “positive method” of screen printing can be achieved.

Trace your design onto the screen using the method above, and paint over the areas of the design that you DO want to print through with drawing fluid. Be careful to fully block out the entire area. Leave the screen to dry in a level, flat position and make sure nothing touches the areas covered with drawing fluid.

When the screen mesh is completely dry, spoon the stirred screen filler onto the screen and over the design painted in drawing fluid.  Use a squeegee to apply an even coating over the entire screen, in one pass. Multiple passes of screen filler will dissolve the drawing fluid.

Put the screen to dry in a horizontal position making sure nothing touches the fabric. 

It is important that the screen filler dries completely before spraying with cold water on both sides of the screen where the drawing fluid was applied. These areas will wash out and leave exposed parts of the screen for ink to flow through them. Areas of the screen that remain slightly blocked can be scrubbed lightly with a small stiff brush on both sides. If necessary you can use washing soda dissolved in warm water but do not use hot water during this stage.

The screen is ready to use when it has been allowed to dry in a level position, bottom-side up.

You can see these, and many other, Screen Printing products on the George Weil website.


Emma Ronald said...

... & to remove the entire stencil from the screen when no longer required: paste a cup of baking soda/bicarb in hot water & scrub into both sides of the screen with a soft bristle brush. Leave for 5 mins, scrub again (adding more soda to any stubborn areas), then rinse well with hot water & pressure wash to finish.

George Weil said...

Thank you Emma for posting your helpful comment, this is something we are often asked about. Allison

Rachel Moore said...

Please can you answer the following questions:
1. What is a flood stroke?
2. How many prints can you make before the screen filler breaks down?

George Weil said...

Thank you for the query which helps remove any lack of clarity!

1) the 'flood' stroke' is the first stroke after running the ink on to the screen. The screen is held in the air and the ink wiped across the full screen with the squeegee to ensure that the whole of the screen area is fully saturated with ink.

The next stroke is done with the screen in contact with the fabric/paper and the squeegee run over the area to be printed, this squashes the ink evenly through the open parts of the screen.

Screen printing is not a stamping process, but one where the ink is persuaded onto the substrate through the screen.

2) the number of images depends on many factors. For a very detailed image, with lots of small separate areas in the resist which can get damaged, then maybe 50 copies. If the image is large with limited detail maybe as many as 2-300.

It also depends on the squeegee profile as some are more aggressive than others, and some inks coarser, all of which will reduce the number of images before the screen deteriorates to the point where the image looks tatty.

redhead1 said...


I am thinking of teaching a course using this product. Can you tell me approximately how long it might take to dry in room temp on an approx 8 x 10 inch screen? Thanks

George Weil said...

Hi, thank you for leaving your question. The drawing fluid takes roughly an hour to dry, depending on the humidity of your work area. The filler can take anything from a few hours up to a day to dry. Do not be tempted to apply direct heat as this may damage the screen. Use a fan or additional heating in the room to help to dry the screen ready for use.