It would be impossible to imagine our modern world without screen printing. Every day, we come into contact with products that are printed using this process: in our cars, when we play a CD or a DVD, when we make a telephone call, pay with a credit card or operate a keyboard - just to mention a few examples.
Screenprinting or serigraphy is a direct printing process that is also known as the 'porous printing' process. The basic principle of stencil printing on ornaments was already known in ancient China and at the start of the 20th century, screenprinting found its way via America to Europe where it quickly became widespread.
The basic principle of screenprinting:
Screenprinting is regarded as the fourth main printing process, alongside letterpress printing, rotogravure and flatbed printing. In screenprinting, unlike the other three processes, "the ink is not transferred directly from the printing form onto the paper": instead, it is pressed through the printing form onto the paper. In screenprinting, the printing form consists of a fine-meshed, permeable screen (hence the name) that is tightly stretched on a frame. The screen used to be made of silk or gauze, but nowadays it can be made of polyester mesh or also from a very fine network of wires.
According to the motif, this screen is covered or made impermeable with the help of various techniques, but only in places where no ink is intended to appear on the paper afterwards; the points that will be inked later on remain "open".
During the printing, the ink located on the top of the screen is rubbed through the screen onto the paper below, with the help of a squeegee. The points that were not covered on the screen appear in ink on the sheet of paper, creating the image.