Screen printing is the process of making prints on fabric using different colors and patterns. This methodology of printing was derived from the ancient stencil textile printing technique. In this process, a woven mesh is used to transfer the ink or paint to a fabric surface. This is quite simple and can be done by any one at home. This technique can be used to decorate any wear such as sarees, tops, any ethnic wear and also for t-shirt printing. Let us now see how to make a simple screen printing design.

A glimpse of the final result:

Screen printing

 For this, you will need:

  1. Fabric of desired color (base for printing)
  2. Fabric Paint/Dyeing Ink
  3. Ink Hardener
  4. Fixer
  5. Base Gum
  6. Screen Mesh (usually in a wooden frame)
  7. Fill bar (block used to spread the ink/paint on the mesh
  8. Discharge Ink (If light color ink has to be printed on dark fabric)

Screen Printing

How To do Fabric Printing:

Step 1:

Spread a limited quantity of the base gum on a table and place the cloth on the table. This will ensure that the cloth does not move during printing. While pasting the cloth to the table, ensure that the surface is smooth and even without creases.

Note – The base gum is a mild adhesive and can be easily wiped off the table once you are done – so don’t worry.

Screen printing

Step 2:

Allow the gum to dry. This could take around ten to fifteen minutes.

Step 3:

The next step is to get the printing ink ready. Mix the ink and the ink hardener in the ratio of 1:3. Add two to three drops of the fixer to this mixture. The fixer is added so that the ink/paint does not come off during washing.

Also add discharge ink if you are printing light color ink on dark colored fabric.

Screen Printing

Use plastic containers and spoon/spatula for mixing this since it is easier to wash off. I used a silver spoon…it wasn’t a pleasure cleaning it!

Step 4:

Now take the mesh with your design on it and put in a scoop of the ink mixture in the hollow side of the mesh.

Step 5:

Place the front part of the mesh on the fabric at the required place.

Step 6:

This is the interesting part. You are now going to make the print on the fabric. Using the fill bar spread the ink in the mesh in a quick but firm motion.

Screen Printing

Repeat the spreading action two to three times in a to and fro fashion. While doing this ensure that the wooden frame stays in place and you do not move the mesh even a little by mistake.

Step 6:

Remove the mesh from the cloth starting from the top. The final print should look like this:

Screen printing

Step 7:

Now that you know how this is done, make a few more prints in the fabric in the desired pattern and with your choice of colors.

Screen Printing

Note: This ink tends to dry up real fast. So, if you take a break between a print action, put the mesh in water so that the ink does not dry up in the mesh. Else, this could cause your prints to be uneven due to disrupted flow of ink.

This printing technique can be used for t-shirts as well.

Screen printing

Image Credit

A common usage of this technique is for saree printing. Golden color paints are used to make beautiful prints on silk sarees to get a rich look. this is a good source of income as well. Give it a shot and you now are ready for a home based business which is a pleasure to do!