||Screenprinting, or serigraphy, is a printmaking technique that creates a sharp edged
image using a stencil.
It began as an industrial technology, and was adopted by American graphic
artists in the early 1900s. It is currently popular both in fine arts and in commercial
printing, where it is commonly used to print images on T-shirts, hats, CDs, DVDs,
ceramics, glass, polyethylene, polypropylene, paper, metals, and
wood.Screenprinting may also be used in the process of etching the copper wiring
on the board or computer chips. Graphic screenprinting is widely used today to
create many mass or large batch produced graphics, such as posters or display
Screenprinting has its origins in simple stencilling, most notably of the Japanese
form katazome, used on textiles, mostly for clothing. This was taken up in France.
The modern screenprinting process originated from patents taken out by Samuel
Simon in the early 1900s in England. This idea was then adopted in San Francisco,
California, by John Pilsworth in 1914 who used screenprinting to form multicolor
prints in much the same manner as screenprinting is done today.
Screenprinting took off during the First World War as an industrial process for
printing flags and banners. The use of photographic stencils at this time made the
process more versatile and encouraged widespread use.
A screen is made of a piece of porous, finely woven fabric (originally , but
typically made of polyester or nylon since the 1940s) stretched over an aluminum
frame. Areas of the screen are blocked off with a non-permeable materiala stencil
which is a positive of the image to be printed; that is, the open spaces are where
the ink will appear.The screen is placed on top of a piece of dry paper or fabric. Ink
is placed on top of the screen, and a squeegee (rubber blade) is used to push the
ink evenly into the screen openings and onto the substrate. The ink passes through
the open spaces in the screen onto the paper or fabric below. The screen can be reused
after cleaning. If more than one color is being printed on the same surface, the
ink is allowed to dry and then the process is repeated with another screen and
different color of ink.
While the public thinks of garments in conjunction with screen printing, the
technique is used on tens of thousands of items, including birthday cake designs,
decals, clock and watch faces, and many more products.
Screenprinting is more versatile than traditional printing techniques. The surface
does not have to be printed under pressure, unlike etching lithography, and it does
not have to be planar. Screenprinting inks can be used to work with a variety of
materials, such as textiles, ceramics, metal, wood, paper, glass, and plastic. As a
result, screen printing is used in many different industries, from clothing to product
labels to circuit board printing.