Silk screening is an amazing art that you can use for transforming an ordinary piece of fabric into something that is beautiful and appealing. You can use silk screening to make unique designs on your T-shirts and tops. In this technique a wire mesh is used along with an ink blocking stencil. The stencil is placed on a fabric and the ink is applied over the stencil with a roller and the ink is forced out of the wire mesh into the fabric. It is a kind of print making procedure that uses a stencil for imposing a design on the fabric. Although any kind of fabric can be used for silk screen printing, traditionally only silk was used for this technique and hence the name silk screen painting.
Silk screen printing is often used by designers and artist as a medium for making one of a kind exclusive garments and other items. It is also used in commercial printing to print images in ceramics, posters, paper, wood and metal. Many independent hobbyists use silk screen printing as a profitable business enterprise by designing exclusive fabrics out of it. To make a silk screen printing first you should have the silk screen supplies and know the screen printing process to do it at home.
Silk Screening Supplies
For the amateur, you do not need a lot many silk screen printing supplies but just the essential to get you started. Most of the supplies can be brought from any hobby center and/or hardware store and the rest can be made yourself at home. We will look at them one by one.
Silk Screen Frame
The basic requirement for silk screen printing that you absolutely cannot do without is silk screen frame. It is a wooden frame that has silk or any fine meshed porous fabric used as backing. You can buy such a frame from a craft store or if you are good with woodwork can make one yourself.
Glass or Plastic Sheet
A glass or plastic sheet is required for keeping the ink from getting all over the fabric or paper you are printing. It should be the same dimensions as the inside of the silk screen frame and you have to cut a hole in it to make space to place the stencil.
This is used for pushing the ink through the design stencil into the fabric. It has a plastic handle placed across the top of a rounded rubber or synthetic blade. You will need several squeegee for each color that you would be using.
Waterproof Masking Tape
Waterproof masking tape is essential item for securing the design or stencil to the frame.
Purchase special ink that is formulated for silk screening from your local craft center. The consistency of silk screening ink is similar to that of oil paints as it is quite thick and viscous with a low moisture content, allowing it to spread evenly without running.
Photo emulsions are sheets of transparent plastic that are quite easy to cut and also durable. They make an ideal medium for etching out complex and intricate designs. If photo emulsion paper is not available you can substitute with paper or card stock to create your templates. But photo emulsion is the best material if you are looking for durability and planning on making several prints from a single design.
An essential silk screen supply is a large table or workbench to fit the frame and keep everything within easy reach. Along with this you need good lighting.
Newspapers and Cardboard
Old newspapers will come in handy to cover your workspace and the cardboard can be placed behind the fabric to be silk screened so that the ink does not seep in.
If you progress to doing silk screening for commercial business then you will require silk screening machines to increase your productivity. Whether you do silk screening as a hobby or as business, either way it is a very rewarding art.