Screen printingDownload PDF
Screen printing, also called serigraphy or silk screen, is a method of printing using a stencil supported on a fine woven screen mesh stretched and bonded to a frame. The material to be printed is placed beneath the frame and the fluid ink forced down through the porous material by means of a “squeegee”, reproducing the image not blocked out by the stencil. Unlike other forms of printing, screen printing employs high ink film weights of pigmented inks, which sit on the surface of paper, resulting in intense and vibrant colours.
- Do choose your inks carefully, accounting for how they will react with your paper stock, and how you want your inks to look when overprinting. A wide variety of inks can be used: paper and board inks, vinyl inks and UV inks. Possible effects include a matt or gloss finish, metallic inks, varnish, relief varnish, phosphorescent inks, white inks and fluorescent inks.
- Do proceed to print an image lighter than the paper colour, for instance white ink on black paper. Vinyl inks especially will give good results when ink opacity is required. However keep in mind, the print won’t be 100% opaque!
- Do consider UV screen printing for papers such as Curious Collection Touch or Curious Collection Skin. Conventional screen printing with vinyl inks combined with a drying oven are also suitable.
- Do trust your printer. Screen printing involves a manual process and relies on the expertise of the printer, who will know how best to reveal an image using the right combination of pressure, inks, meshes etc. Screen printers are as much artists as experts.
- Do silkscreen duplexed boards. Silk screen presses can print substrates up to 1.5 cm thick.
- Don’t screen print complex 4-colour images. The screen printing process prints one spot colour at a time, so a separate screen must be used to produce each colour of the design.
- Don’t forget trapping during prepress. Indeed, registration is not hairline, like in other processes.
- Don’t choose a textured paper when precise detail rendering is required. For accurate ink placement, the screen requires intimate contact with the substrate, which will be compromised when printing over a textured paper. If necessary, you could remove the texture from the image by debossing it beforehand.
- Don’t overlook the technical restrictions that you will face on production when designing your artwork. Clear shapes and thick lines will work better. Depending on your printer and their process, the density of the mesh can allow details down to 0.3 pts.
- Don’t print lightweight papers without a test, as the ink could cause them to buckle or warp.