Screen Printing

From CoMakingSpace Wiki

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The CoMakingSpace currently lacks machines and workshops that allow screen printing (Siebdruck). Screenprinting is used to print grafics or letters onto a variety of materials, such as textile, ceramics, paper, etc.

This project blueprint describes, which material and equipment is needed, and how these pieces might be build and gives a cost estimate. After the needed machines are build, this page will be used as a project documentation.

HowTo screen printing

The entire screen printing process ist similar to the process that is used to create analogue photos, as it is described here [1] in detail (German),

  • Using light and fotosensitive material, you first create a template from the grafics…, which you lateron want to print i.e. onto a t-shirt.
  • Then you use this template in order to selectively print colors onto your material (i.e t-shirt).

You can either print with one color, or you can create multi-color pictures by means of layering different monochromatic prints onto each other.

Needed Material

The following link [2] shows different beginner-friendly sets. As you see will you need to calculate approximately 500.- Euros for a commercial starter set for a printing machine (more equipment is needed for the production of templates).


In order to create the template, you need a frame that is covered with a special fabric. By means of a light sensitive color, intensive light (special light bulb) and chemistry, you create a template on top of this fabric. This template hides areas that shall remain covered, and leaves areas open that shall be printed onto. The original itself is produced by means of special plastic material using normal inkjet printers.


In order to print with your template onto textile, ceramics, etc you need a printing machine tha<t consist of a base plate that can hold your material, your frame with the template and some hinges in order to be able to move frame and base-plate. In addition you need specific printing colors, and some helper tools to apply the colors. You use the tooling in order to selectively apply color to the piece to be printed.

Special requirements

  • Template: In order to create templates you need a dark room and special yellow lambs (similar too the foto laboratories for analogue fotografics. Furthermore you might need space to store templates.
  • Printing: Important to keep in mind is that the fabric that holds your template comes in different qualities, depending onto which material you want to print lateron. The following table lists the different application areas [3]. I.e. material of type 24T (rough) allows you to print glue or other thick material. Quality 64T (fine) is for textile, and 140T is for ceramics. If you want to print onto different materials, or if you want to print with multiple colors, you need an assortment of frames, each with different print fabrics.  
  • Water: The entire process employs liquid, and therefore your (wooden-) equipment needs to be sealed/ painted, or you use material such as aluminium for some of the parts.  

Create your own printing machine


You need different parts made from aluminium or acrylics or you need a lamp including a frame, as shown here: [4]. Many of these parts might be created in the workshop (proper construction drawings pending). Other materials might be considered as a consumable (i.e inkjet foil.)

Printing Machine

The association of free workshops has open-sourced a construction for such a printing machine. The following is a well documented printing machine from the Bosch community that uses this original open source construction with minor changes, and it is completely made from wood: [5]

It takes 3-4 days to create it, and costs < 50 Euro for a solution with several printing fabrics/ frames, or with several frames for multiple color prints.


This is a list or helpful resources in the internet.