What is Screen Printing?

screen-print

verb

gerund or present participle: screenprinting
1. force ink onto (a surface) through a prepared screen of fine material so as to create a picture or pattern.
“screen-printed textiles”

 

History

Silkscreen Printing, also goes by the term: Serigraph. The Word Serigraph is a combination of two Greek words, seicos, meaning silk, and graphos, meaning writing. Silkscreen Printing and other stencil-based printing methods are the oldest forms of printmaking.
Printmaking is a process for producing editions (multiple originals) of artwork. In printmaking, each print in an edition is considered an original work of art, not a copy.
Silkscreen Printing is a stenciling method that involves printing ink through stencils that are supported by a porous fabric mesh stretched across a frame called a screen. Silkscreen Printing is ideally suited for bold and graphic designs.
Silkscreen Printing can be traced as far back as 9000 BC, when stencils were used to decorate Egyptian tombs and Greek mosaics. From 221-618 AD stencils were used in China for production of images of Buddha. Japanese artists turned screen printing into a complex art by developing an intricate process wherein a piece of silk was stretched across a frame to serve as the carrier of hand cut stencils. Silkscreen printing found its way to the west in the 15th century. The original material used in screen printing was silk. 
Hence the name Silkscreen printing. Today polyester is the fabric of choice.
 

How is it done?

The basic printing process is the forcing of ink through a stencil onto a substrate, in our case, fabric, with a squeegee (rubber blade). This is called “pulling”.  The Hartlam Designs are single colour designs, interlacing to form a continuous design when printed in series. The screen printer pulls ink across the printing frame, which has been placed above the fabric that will hold the art work. The ink is then forced through the screen and onto the fabric below. This process is repeated in a series of prints across the width of the fabric until the desired length of fabric is reached.
After the fabric has been printed, the ink needs to be heat set in order to ensure colour fastness. The length of fabric is sent through a curing tunnel which is set to the specific temperature in order for the ink to set.