advanced photoshop

How to screen print

Posted in:
General, by Adam Smith

Learn how to create screen print posters by hand

Manual craft work has never been more in demand, as print designers indulge in classic techniques and promote retro styles.

Screen printing seems most popular, with a host of illustrators producing inspiring posters and apparel with references to popular culture.

Just check out sites such as for examples.

However, digital illustrators have embraced these trends too, using software in ingenious ways and replicating the layering process inside of Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

These designs can be instantly packaged and sent directly to the printers. Explore the screen print setup and show how design is produced by hand.

Manual screen printing

Prep the stencil

Artwork needs to be very opaque and printed onto a clear piece of vellum or Mylar. When exposed, the black areas allow ink to go through the screen, while the clear areas will not.

How to screen print

Prep the screen

Pour emulsion into the scoop coater. Drag a very thin, even coat on both sides of the screen. Keep the scoop coater parallel to the frame and try to avoid drips. This gets easier with practice.

How to screen print

Expose the screen

Tape the stencil face down to the back of the frame, against the mesh. Line the other side with a non-reflective material so that no light can get in. Burn the screen.

How to screen print

Register the stencil

Tape the stencil to a piece of the poster stock and place under the screen, onto the printing table. Move it so that the image in the screen falls exactly into position. Tape down the registration tabs.

How to screen print

Tape and flood

Use a two-inch wide piece of masking tape to seal the edges where emulsion doesn’t reach the frame. Raise the screen, pouring a bead of ink below the image. Swipe the ink to the top of image.

How to screen print

Lay down ink

Slide the poster stock into registration tabs, lower the screen and swipe the squeegee down over the image. Raise the screen slightly, remove and reload stock. Repeat Steps 4-6 for additional colours.

How to screen print

… Check back with us tomorrow to see how you can emulate screen print effects in Photoshop!