Screen printing process

I am often asked about the screen printing process, so here is a brief explanation.

To make a multi-coloured screen print, I sketch the image, colour it, and then break it down into a separate image for each colour.  A stencil of each colour is made and these are placed on screens coated with light sensitive emulsion. Exposed to UV light, this creates open areas in the screens corresponding to each colour in the print.

The first of these screens is dried and clamped over a screen bed. Paper is placed underneath. Ink is poured onto one end of the screen and drawn across with a squeegee. The frame is lowered onto the paper and the ink gets pushed through the screen mesh onto the paper. This is repeated for each print in the edition to create the first colour layer.

This process is repeated with a new screen for each subsequent colour layer. This requires very precise registration. Each layer is printed onto a clear transparent sheet of acetate first, and the paper is placed underneath so that it aligns precisely. The printing process is repeated to build up the final image. The more colours used, the more times the layers must be registered. This is why screen prints cost more if they have more colours.

Have a look at the video above to see the process in action. I have more printing videos on my YouTube channel, just keep watching and please Follow Me.

Also see this Blog post by Alison Lumb at Southbank Printmakers