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Door to Screen-Printing

- What is Screen-Printing? -

Screen-printing is a kind of stencil printing.
It is not to print with a plate coated with ink, but to print squeezing ink out of holes made on a plate itself.
Mimeograph, a kind of stencil printing, might be easier to imagine especially for the elderly.

On screen-printing, ink is put on a silk screen of which unnecessary parts for print have been plugged with emulsion, and is squeezed out of the screen by a squeegee to transfer. Because silk was used for screens, it was originally called "silk-screen-printing".
Today, screens woven with fiber such as nylon or Tetoron, or stainless steel wire, etc., are used rather than silk; so recently, the printing is simply called "screen-printing", omitting "silk".

Meshes of screen
[ Meshes of screen ]
Ink is squeezed out of the opening among the fibers.

Let us go a little further. First, to make a printing plate, a screen is stretched on a frame, and then, a membrane is made on the screen by hand or by the process with pictures, to plug the meshes of the screen except the patterns to be printed.
Next, ink is put inside the frame and a rubber spatula called squeegee moves pushing on the screen. Then ink is squeezed out of the meshes which are not covered with film, and the pattern is transferred onto a work that is put under the screen.
In a word, screen-printing is a kind of stencil printing with the meshes of screens.

This is an image of ink being transferred, and the structure
of the printer is not shown here.

Because almost every material such as glass, plastic, synthetic resin, metal, cloth, etc., not to mention paper, can be printed with screen-printing, it is often used to print on nonpaper-materials. It also has a merit of being available not only to a flat surface but also to a cylindrical surface like bottles or glasses, a conical and even curved surfaces.
There are some interesting examples that candies are printed patterns of chocolate, or a heater is printed on a rear window of a car.

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