I am looking into learning how to screen print at the moment and so thought I would collect all the information I gathered into one place as an easy reference guide to help me learn. As usual one of my pet hates is when information is hard to find so I will post what I find here for anyone else to use too, just in case it is useful.
Screens are available from many places. You can get them pre-made or you can buy the mesh and make them your self. Unless it is a small one off project you are interested in, it is worth getting some good ones as they will last longer and give a better result for your prints.
To choose good ones (ie ones most suitable for your task) you need to choose the frame and the mesh.
The most common frames are either wood or aluminium. By all accounts aluminium frames are more durable, last longer, don’t warp and don’t loose their tension over time.
Conclusion: Get Aluminium Frames.
The choice of mesh is a little bit more involved. Screen printing mesh these days is a polyester monofilament mesh. The mesh threads come in different densities. The density you choose depends on the screen printing task you are trying to accomplish. I am trying to screen print quite high resolution images onto fabric so I will need a slightly lower mesh count than someone who is screen printing posters onto paper. Also I am planning on using Permaset Aqua water based inks which are a bit thinner in consistency than solvent based inks, so I will need a slightly higher mesh count than someone using solvent based inks.
Mesh counts are measured in two main ways, the US system of threads per inch or the European metric system of threads per centimetre.