Silk screening is a printing technique popularly used to create images, logos, or phrases on T-shirts, hats, posters, and other media. It is much less involved and painstaking than hand-painting, but more creative and original than mass-produced printing. Many people have successfully learned to silk screen shirts through the years and its popularity has not wavered.
Although there are various techniques used to create silk screen images, the basic process involves creating a screen from a porous fabric such as nylon, which is stretched out and held in a wooden frame. The image is transferred to the screen, and areas are then blocked off where no paint will be able to permeate the fabric. Paint is transferred to the object being printed by pressing a rubber blade along the screen, forcing the paint to seep through the screen and onto the object. Colors can be added to the image by either painting over the original print, or by using different stencils.
There are a number of ways to learn the art of silk screening. The best method for you will depend on whether you want to just play around with it as a hobby, or learn how to create your own promotional items or wares to sell to the public. Here are some great ways to learn this fun and creative technique.
- Classes - Some art galleries, art museums, and schools teach specialized courses in silk screening. Classes range from beginner to advanced, and this is a great way to try it out before investing in any of the equipment yourself. To find classes in your area, check online or look in your telephone book for local art schools, galleries, or museums. You will be required to purchase some supplies to begin the course.
- Books - There are a number of good books available that will give you an overview and history of silk screening, as well as detailed and illustrated step-by-step instructions to do it yourself. These can be found at bookstores or craft supply shops, or borrowed from the library. Before purchasing a book on this topic, make sure that the date of publication is recent so you'll learn the most up-to-date techniques with modern equipment.
- Videos - Videos are a good way to learn a new crafting technique, since you can watch someone actually performing the process. Silk screening videos can be found at some craft supply stores, and at specialty print and dye shops. Those are also popular places to find a silk screen machine.
- Online - There are a number of online tutorials that teach the process of silk screening. The most trusted sites will have either an active forum with people available to answer your questions, or a section for people to leave comments and/or contact the author or company behind the tutorial. Check out several tutorials and websites to get a feeling for the quality of the instruction before jumping in and trying it yourself. Try No Media Kings or Reuels.com for some good examples. You will need a screen printing machine in your home on which to practice.
Once you learn the basics of silk screening, you'll be able to play around with the process and enjoy using your creativity to come up with new and unique designs all on your own. Learning how this technique is not only fun, but can also be profitable.