General Question

xgunther's avatar

What is a silk screen?

Asked by xgunther (446points) November 3rd, 2007 from iPhone
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5 Answers

sharpwriter's avatar

A silk screen is a piece of cloth stretched around a wooden frame to be used in silk screening. Silk screening is a method of printing wherein ink is passed through this stretched cloth onto a surface by way of a squeegee. The cloth is made so that it has millions of microscopic holes that the ink passes through. Silk screens are no longer made with silk. Using a variery of methods, certain parts of the silk screen are covered, so only the desired areas are printed.

Here are some helpful links…all from the always helpful MAKE magazine:

MAKE’s podcast put together a great how-to video a while back on silk-screening: link

They also linked to a good PDF comic that walks through the process: link

And, finally, they linked to a more in-depth how-to: link

xgunther's avatar

why is this used rather than just painting the layers on like you would on a canvas?

sharl's avatar

Well, it’s a printing method rather than a painting method, and you can use the screen to make multiple copies of a work. It’s a good means of printing on surfaces like plastic or fabric (t shirts!), and you get a thick opaque layer of ink that looks just great.

sharpwriter's avatar

It really is all about the multiple copies. Once a screen is burned, there’s no limit to the number of prints you can make with it. Posters & t-shirts are perfect examples of the need for screen printing.

Also, with the screens, you can get a crisp perfect graphical look…especially when using transparencies printed off the computer & photo emulsion…with little skill (in comparison to painting).

samkusnetz's avatar

strictly speaking, run enough prints and you will eventually degrade the quality of the screen image… but the practical limit of high quality screens is very very high. just wanted to be precise…

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