, or silk screening
, is a printmaking
technique which creates bold color using a stencil
. The artist draws an image on a piece of paper (plastic film
can also be used). The image is cut out creating a stencil. (Keep in mind the pieces that are cut away are the areas that will be colored.) Special photographic emulsions are also often used to make photo-screens. A screen is made of a piece of fabric (originally silk) stretched over a wood frame. The stencil is affixed to the screen. The fabric material is such that it allows ink to pass from the top of the fabric to the paper below except where blocked by the stencil. The screen is then placed on top of a piece of dry paper or fabric. Ink is then placed across the top length of the screen. A squeegee (rubber blade) is used to spread the ink across the screen, over the stencil, and onto the paper/fabric. The screen is lifted and the image is now transferred onto the paper/fabric. Each color requires a separate stencil. The screen can be re-used after cleaning. When printing onto fabrics that are to be worn and washed, the ink should be cured with high temperatures to ensure permanence.
Note that some artists (the British printer RS Wardle R.E., for example) paint stencils by hand directly onto the screen using a blue filler, thus creating the negative of the desired image. When dry, the water-soluble filler forms a plastic barrier.
"Silkscreen" is often used as a noun to refer to the actual print made by silk screening.