Silk screening is a printing technique where a mesh is used to transfer ink onto a substrate, except in areas made impermeable to the ink by a blocking stencil. A blade or squeegee is moved across the screen to fill the open mesh apertures with ink, and a reverse stroke then causes the screen to touch the substrate momentarily along a line of contact. This causes the ink to wet the substrate and be pulled out of the mesh apertures as the screen springs back after the blade has passed. With silk screening, one color is printed at a time, so several screens can be used to produce a multicolored image or design.
There are various terms used for what is essentially the same technique. Traditionally the process was called screen printing or silkscreen printing because silk was used in the process. It is also known as serigraphy, and serigraph printing. Currently, synthetic threads are commonly used in the silk screening process. The most popular mesh in general use is made of polyester. There are special-use mesh materials of nylon and stainless steel available to the silk screener. There are also different types of mesh size, which will determine the outcome and look of the finished design on the material.
Visit Kornit Digital to learn about the many ways digital textile printing offers a more versatile, profitable alternative to silk screening.