Screen printing involves making a screen for each colour in a design. In short, screen printing is a technique where a piece of artwork is split into separate colours and then ‘burned’ onto screens.
A screen is a device whereby mesh fabric is stretched across a frame and secured to it. The screen is coated with a light sensitive emulsion and left to dry. Each separate colour in the artwork is printed out onto a transparent medium with special highly opaque black ink. These are called ‘film positives’. Once the film positives are printed out, they are lined up onto the screens in a darkroom and then exposed to UV light to ‘burn’ the design into the screen. This process is called ‘imaging’. The UV light basically hardens all the emulsion in the screen everywhere except for where the light is being blocked by the design.
Once the screen is burned, the design is washed out of the screen mesh with a pressure washer. This leaves the mesh open and allows ink to pass through the screen leaving only the desired design, effectively leaving you with a stencil. Sounds fairly simple, right? It’s actually a little bit more complex, but you get the general idea. Now that you have some idea of how the process works, there’s a few things you should think about when designing your artwork to give us the best possible chance at getting top notch film positives of your design.