Exercise 06.04: Stencil Printing


The goal of this exer­cise is to develop the proper tech­nique for print­ing with a photo emul­sion sten­cil and screen. 


The objec­tive of this exer­cise is to setup and print a pre­pared image. 

Background Reading

  • Mac­Dougall, Chap­ter 6, p 67–83
  • Mac­Dougall, Chap­ter 7, p 85–93

Safety Notice


Print­ing requires the cor­rect prepa­ra­tion, tech­nique and cau­tion in order to pro­vide sat­is­fac­tory results. The order of events is vital. 

Part One

A coated, exposed and dry screen is an essen­tial step to begin print­ing. With a screen prop­erly locked into the press, taped along the edges and reg­is­tered to the paper in the press, gather the nec­es­sary sup­plies for printing:

  • Ink
  • Squeegee
  • Water spray bottle
  • Paper tow­els
  • Ink scraper
  • Newsprint
  • Paper

Ensure the following:

  • Vac­uum is plugged in and switch is in the on position
  • Foot switch works
  • Mate­rials are close at hand
  • Screen blocks are firmly clamped
  • Off con­tact pen­nies are set
  • Coun­ter­weight is fastened

Spray a light mist of water on the screen. Wipe evenly to dis­tribute the water. 
Emul­sion and screen fab­ric will absorb some water from the ink, caus­ing it to dry too fast. Pre-wet­ting will min­i­mize this risk. 

Part Two

Give the ink a quick stir to ensure ink it is mixed and con­sis­tent. Ink should have the con­sis­tency a lit­tle thicker than syrup. Add a quick spray of water and stir until correct. 

Part Three

With the screen raised and the squeegee rested at the top (hinge) edge, place a piece of newsprint on the press. Press the foot switch to arrest the paper. Lower the screen and grab the squeegee with both hands. Set the squeegee at a 45 degree angle above the print area and the ink, press firmly down, and draw the squeegee towards the body. Stop once past the image area (print stroke). Make a flood stoke to return the ink and squeegee to the top of the screen. Return the screen to the raised posi­tion and press the foot switch to release the paper. Remove paper and inspect. The ink should be a lit­tle wet and runny. Place prints on dry­ing rack. Repeat the process with newsprint until the print has crisp edges only where needed. 

Once ready, place a sheet of final paper in the press. This time, pay care­ful atten­tion to the place­ment using the reg­is­tra­tion guides to ensure cor­rect align­ment. Repeat print sequence until complete. 

Warn­ing: Do not allow ink to dry in the screen. Doing so will cause per­ma­nent dam­age to the screen.

Part Four

Once print­ing is com­plete, scrape all remain­ing ink back to recep­tacle. Spray screen with a light mist of water and unlock from press. 

Trans­port screen, squeegee and cards to washout boot. Gen­tly clean the ink from the screen and tools. Remove the tape and scrub with the brush to remove any adhe­sive residue. Check screen for clar­ity in back­light before cleanup. Turn off light and water once done. 

Warn­ing: Do not allow emul­sion remover to dry in the screen. Doing so will cause per­ma­nent dam­age to the screen.

Technical Specifications

  • 5 x 7 in. (land­scape) art­work area cen­tered on an 9 x 12 in. sheet of paper. 
  • One color 


  • The fol­low­ing rubric posted on D2L will deter­mine assign­ment score: Exer­cise Grading


Obser­va­tion, nota­tions, inves­ti­ga­tion, writ­ing, diagraming


Com­puter, appro­pri­ate soft­ware, appro­pri­ate D2L discussions


Monday/Wednesday, Feb­ru­ary 0608, 2017. Exer­cise given. 

Monday/Wednesday, Jan­uary 0608, 2017. Observed by instruc­tor as part of group demonstration.