Close up of Colin screenprinting some art

A checklist of materials and equipment

  1. Screen
  2. Squeegee
  3. Bucket and sponge
  4. Crayons, charcoal, ink and printing base
  5. Paper
  6. Tapes
  7. Palette knife and containers
  8. Card and aprons
  9. Paper, canvas and fabric
  10. Registration
  11. Reference material


1. Screenprinting

The ideal choice is a ‘professional’ screen printing bed with vacuum, but a simple screen with a hinged frame attachment (A3 size) works well too. As does my favourite, a screen used on a wooden or formica table top surface.


2. Squeegee

Alternatively a strip of thick card for printing.

3. Cleaning

Clean screens using water and a large sponge, then dry with a clean rag or paper towels. A professional wash out area is ideal for this purpose, a sink is perfectly fine as is a large bucket of water!


4. Crayons, Charcoal & Ink

  • Water soluble wax based crayons, or soft pastels (these are powdery).
  • Charcoal sticks, blocks or powder.
  • Printing Ink, system 3 acrylic paint mixed with printing base or extender base (40% base to 60% paint).
  • Use 100% clear printing/extender base for printing.


5. Paper

Standard cartridge or bread and butter paper will work well with this process but a higher quality paper will produce better results (Specialist printmaking papers such as Somerset or Arches translate the marks really well).


6. Tapes

Vinyl or brown parcel tape for masking out an open screen or ground screen.

  • Masking tape: To create registration stops.
  • Sellotape: For masking off areas of the screen with clear acetate.
  • Double sided tape: As a substitute for a vacuum bed (See later).


7. Palette Knife & Containers

Use a palette knife or substitute to clean up the screen area, collect all clean extender for re-use.

Important! Keep ink, even containing bits of charcoal and crayon, for re-use. This also makes an excellent ground colour.

Store ink and extender in jars or containers.


8. Sundries

Small pieces of card to be fixed to the corners of the screen to create the essential 'snap off' distance for printing. Aprons and gloves are always useful protective items when printing.


9. Printing

  • First pull and second pull (ghost image).
  • Printing onto white and coloured papers.
  • Printing onto varied stock such as fabric, canvas or wood.
  • Mix and match with other printing processes such as stencils or photo screen.


10. Registration & Vacuum

I prefer to work on an A4 sized area on the screen using an A3 sized paper for printing.

Register using masking tape two pieces at the bottom, one on the side. Use two or three pieces of masking tape on top of each other for thickness.

To make certain that the prints do not stick to the underside of the screen, using double sided tape is an excellent solution, two pieces will be required one at the bottom and one at the side, peel off and remove a bit of the sticky dabbing with fingers or use a small amount of water.


11. The Artwork & Design

Fine detailed work can be created on top of the screen along with patterns and decorative designs.

There is no time limit with crayons and charcoal, but I suggest a limit of 20-30 minutes when using printing ink.

Pictures and drawings can be placed under the screen to be used as a guide or reference.

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