Setting up a small textile shop — #7 in series

The thumbnail version:

  • Screens involve frames and mesh
  • In both items you have choices to make

The full version:

Silk screen printing screens stored in a wooden rack ready for printing.

Textile screen printing takes its name from the next item you’re going to need—screens.

Screens are frames across which mesh has been stretched. So, starting with frames, you have choices: wood versus aluminum; and stretch-and-glue versus retensionable. You need to research frames as all have their pros and cons. Any of the Stanley’s branches can help you with advice.

Once you have the frame, you have to select the polyester mesh that will be stretched across it. Here you have more choices to make. It of course all depends upon what you’re going to be printing. This is pretty much a job-by-job decision. Mesh is distinguished on the basis of the fineness of the weave, for instance, a 110 mesh has 110 threads crossing per square inch. So the higher the count (156, 200, 230, 280, and 305 are common mesh counts) the finer the mesh. Then there’s the question of colour, white or yellow mesh?

You’d probably select a 110 white mesh for heavier deposits such as with white underbase or with “heavier” inks such as polyester inks. At the other end of the scale you’d likely use 305 yellow mesh for ultra-fine details, halftones etc. You have research to do. Again, any one of Stanley’s four branches can help with mesh advice and supplies.