How to Make Silk Screen Stencils

Three Methods:Make Silk Screen Stencils on ScreensMake Silk Screen Stencils on FabricMake Silk Screen Stencils From Paper

Learning how to make silk screen stencils is an opportunity to create unique designs for clients or your own pleasure. There are three different materials that can be used to make silk screen stencils -- a mesh screen, fabric or paper. Start with a simple design and decide which of the following methods works the best for you.

Method 1
Make Silk Screen Stencils on Screens

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    Create a design on the computer or draw and scan in your design.
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    Print your design onto a transparency sheet.
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    Cover each side of your screen with a thin layer of emulsion. You can use a squeegee to spread the emulsion evenly on both sides.
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    Place the screen in a dark room or box for approximately 2 hours until the emulsion is thoroughly dry.
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    Put the transparency stencil on the screen and apply pressure with a piece of clear glass to make sure the stencil stays flush with the screen.
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    Shine UV lights on the screen for about 10 minutes to set the design.
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    Wash out the screen with cold water.

Method 2
Make Silk Screen Stencils on Fabric

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    Cut out a piece of sheer fabric several inches larger than the design you wish to silk screen.
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    Put the sheer fabric in an embroidery hoop, making sure that the fabric is smooth and pulled tightly. There should be at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of fabric outside of the embroidery hoop.
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    Trace or draw your object onto the fabric with a pencil.
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    Paint non-water soluble glue onto the fabric where you don’t want ink to transfer through when you use the stencil to make a silk screen image.
    • Cover the entire fabric area around the outline of the design using a large paintbrush. If you are planning on using a stencil brush instead of a squeegee to make the silk screen image, then an inch or so of glue around the design will suffice.
    • Use smaller paintbrushes to cover areas within your design where you don’t want color to appear.
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    Let the glue dry for about 45 minutes to an hour before placing the stencil on the fabric you wish to silk screen.

Method 3
Make Silk Screen Stencils From Paper

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    Draw or trace a design onto paper. Newsprint works fine, but wax paper is a better choice if you intend to use the stencil more than once.
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    Cut out the stencil with scissors, but use a stencil knife to get a clean line on inside edges or intricate designs.
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    Place the stencil on the fabric in the exact position you wish your design to appear, and place the screen over your stencil.


  • You also can make plastic silk screen stencils by following the steps for making paper stencils.
  • If you are making a design with several different colors, you must create a stencil for each color.

Things You’ll Need

  • Transparencies
  • Emulsion
  • Squeegee
  • Screen
  • UV lights
  • Sheer fabric
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Pencil
  • Large and small paintbrushes
  • Non-water soluble glue
  • Newsprint or wax paper
  • Scissors
  • Stencil knife

Article Info

Categories: Fabric and Clothing Decoration