How to Silkscreen on Canvas

bottle of ink image by Alfonso d'Agostino from

Things You'll Need

  • Frame stretched with screen mesh
  • Foam rubber
  • Screen printing ink
  • Squeegee
  • Light-sensitive emulsion
  • Light source
  • Glass
  • Weights
  • Your design on a transparency

Screen printing is an expensive hobby but can be incredibly rewarding when you wear stylish clothes that you have designed yourself. Learning how to screen print is also a great idea if you want to make canvas bags to advertise your business or your artistic talents. Making the first print is expensive, but after the first print you can replicate the design easily and cheaply.

Clean your frame with soap and water and leave to dry for one hour.

Spread light-sensitive emulsion over the screen and let it dry overnight.

Transfer your design onto a transparency. You can draw your design directly onto a transparency with opaque ink or print the design directly onto a transparency using a laser printer. To create the most opaque conditions, print your design from a laser printer and trace the lines with ink.

Place the foam rubber piece on a flat surface and lay the coated screen and frame over top of the foam rubber.

Place your transparency over the screen with the image facing down.

Place a piece of glass over your transparency and weigh it down on all sides with weights or cans.

Hang your light source approximately 18 inches above the screen and consult your light-sensitive emulsion to see how long you should leave your screen to develop.

Wash the screen with warm water and let the screen dry.

Place the screen over the canvas and add ink to the top of the screen. Use a squeegee to pull the ink from the top of the screen down to the bottom. Repeat using two to three strokes to cover the screen with ink.

Allow the ink to dry.


About the Author

Nicole Carlin is a yoga and dance teacher and founder of POP Fizz Academy in Philadelphia. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Temple University and a Master of Arts in gender and sexuality, politics from Birkbeck University, London. Carlin has written about dance, crafts, travel and alternative health for eHow, and Demand Studios.

Photo Credits

  • bottle of ink image by Alfonso d'Agostino from