What Is Screen Printing

Screen printing is one of the early methods of printing. It involves the passing of ink or any other printing medium through a mesh or ‘screen’ that has been stretched on a frame, and to which a stencil has been applied. The stencil openings determine the image that will thus be imprinted.

History Of Screen Printing

Screen printing was a technique first used by the Chinese almost 2000 years ago. They used human hair stretched across a wooden frame to form the screen. To that they attached a stencil made from leaves stuck together into different shapes. This was probably the first application of screen printing ever.

Subsequently, the Japanese adopted the screen printing process and used woven silk to make the mesh and lacquers to make stencils. The use of silk is where screen printing got its alternative name – Silk screening or silk screen printing.

In 1907, it was Samuel Simon near Manchester who patented the first ever industrial screen printing process. Many years later close to the First World War, John Pilsworth of San Francisco developed the Selectasine method, which basically introduced the concept of multi-color printing using the same screen. Different areas on the screen were blocked out for different color inks, thus resulting in a multi-colored image. This technique became hugely popular for printing signs and posters in large quantities.

From using hair to silk to polymer meshes, screen printing has come a long way today. The basic technique remains the same but with innovation and the introduction of electronics and computers, screen printing is no longer recognizable as the technique Simon patented.

Equipment Used In Screen Printing

No matter what kind of screen printing machine you have, there is some basic equipment that will be required. The stencil or screen is of prime importance since it determines the design and image output. It refers to the frame, the mesh and the photosensitive material  on which the image is created. The Squeegee is the rubber held in a rigid handle. Ink of course. The substrate refers to the surface on which the design is to be printed. The machine base, which holds the substrate and allows the screen to print on it and is often the base of the entire screen printing unit. Here are some tips on helping you select the best screen printing equipment for your use.

Applications Of Screen Printing

The substrate or surface on which screen printing can be carried out are too many to be named. Any surface that can be stretched and printed on is a surface for screen printing. The CD covers you see are all screen printed. Beautiful cotton fabrics, silk and polyesters can all be screen printed on. Posters, signs, flyers, advertisements on buses, t-shirts and even watch dials are screen printed. Thus there are many applications of screen printing