How To Make A Screen Print Stencil | Masterclass with Karen Lewis

There are different methods to prepare your screen with your design in order to screen print. The simplest and quickest is cutting a paper stencil, and this masterclass with Karen Lewis from Screen Printing At Home will teach you how to make a simple screen print stencil…

You will be cutting stencils out of newsprint paper with a craft knife. Make sure your paper is at least the size of the outer dimension of your frame, as you can always cut it down to size later if it is a little big. Newsprint paper is the perfect paper for stencils as it is very thin and therefore sits flush onto the mesh without creating a thick edge where paint can sit thickly and blur as you lift up the screen. It is also absorbent, which makes it stick to the mesh as the paint is pulled through.

Screen print stencilThe basic equipment you need for this technique is as follows:

  • Cutting mat (1)
  • Newsprint paper (2)
  • Parcel tape (3)
  • Masking tape (4)
  • Ruler (5)
  • Pencil (6)
  • Craft knife (7)
  • Fingertip craft knife (8)

Creating a cut-out screen print stencil

How to make a screen print stencil1. Decide on the image you want to screen print. When selecting an image you need to think about the size of the frame that you are using. Leave about  7½cm (3in) of space at the top and bottom of the frame and 5cm (2in) at the sides. This will mean that when you are printing, the ink is pulled clear across the design and doesn’t rest on the open gaps of the mesh between prints. This can cause excess ink to flood through and ruin your print. Once you have checked the size, draw or print your design (A).

2. Resting on a cutting mat to protect your table, carefully cut out your design using a craft knife (B). Remember that what you are cutting out is where the paint will be, and this is the pattern you will see.

How to make a screen print stencil3. When you have finished cutting out your design hold it up to the light, or place it on top of a solid dark surface to check you have cut away all the bits that you need to get a clear print of your design. Once you are happy you can attach it to your screen.

4. Attach the stencil to the underside of the frame (the side where the frame is flush with the mesh) remembering to reverse your image if necessary. Using masking tape, tape the paper on all four sides, making sure it is pulled flat with no creases (C). Check at this point that the image is central to your frame and there is room all around your cut design for the ink to be pulled clear of it.

Buy your copy of Screen Printing At Home now or download the PDF eBook version for instant access to more advice on screen printing and some fantastic sewing project ideas. If you love sewing, don’t miss our fantastic range of fabrics, our downloadable sewing patterns and our other great sewing books too.

Has this masterclass helped you to learn how to make a screen print stencil? Have you designed your own fabrics before? Leave a comment below or post on our Facebook page to tell us more!

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This ‘How To Make A Screen Print Stencil’ masterclass has been extracted from Screen Printing At Home.

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