How to Silk Screen Glass

Written by marilla mulwane
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How to Silk Screen Glass
Let the kids draw pictures for the stencils to silkscreen on the glass. (David De Lossy/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Silk screening is the process of painting a design on an object, usually paper or t-shirts, using a stencil and silkscreen fabric. Silkscreen has tiny holes that paint passes through. The fabric comes in many sizes based on the number of holes. The more holes in the silkscreen, the smaller they are. The paint passes through smaller holes more smoothly, but some people prefer the pixelated look of larger sized silkscreen. Silkscreen glass the same way as cloth or paper, but use a paint that works best on glass.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Foam-core board
  • Sheet glass
  • X-ACTO knife
  • Stapler
  • Glass paint
  • Silkscreen
  • Squeegee
  • Paint brush
  • Contact paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Measure 1/2 inch from the edge of the foam board toward the centre. Mark the distance with a pencil. Measure 1/2 inch from the other three sides. Use the marks to draw a rectangle in the centre of the board. Cut out this rectangle with the X-ACTO knife. This creates a 1/2-inch frame. The rectangle is not used.

  2. 2

    Place the silkscreen on the work surface. Place the frame from Step 1 on top of it. Fold over one side of the silkscreen so it rests on the top of the frame. Staple the silkscreen to the frame. Place the staples 1 inch apart.

  3. 3

    Press down on the stapled side of the frame with one hand. Pull the silkscreen on the opposite side so it is tight across the bottom of the board. Pull the silkscreen to the front of the frame while still pulling tight. Staple the silkscreen to the frame. Make sure it is tight. Repeat with the other two sides of the silkscreen. It must be tight on the frame. Flip the frame over and set it aside.

  4. 4

    Draw a design on the contact paper. Keep in mind that parts of the design are cut out, and the cut-out parts painted on the glass. Choose a simple design for the first time.

  5. 5

    Cut out the parts of the design you want painted on the glass. Use the X-ACTO knife to cut out only those parts.

  6. 6

    Remove the paper from the back of the contact paper. Place the contact paper, sticky side down, over the top of the screen covered frame. Center the paper over the frame and press it down on the silkscreen. Smooth out the contact paper to remove any bubbles. It must be smooth.

  7. 7

    Place the frame over the sheet glass. Place it stencil-side down. Make sure the design is placed in the centre of the glass, or wherever you want the design to go.

  8. 8

    Pour a few teaspoons of paint along one side of the design. Do not pour it on the design. Pour it along one side of the frame.

  9. 9

    Place the squeegee just above the paint and pull the squeegee to the other side of the frame and over the design. Repeat with the rest of the paint and until the entire design is covered.

  10. 10

    Remove the frame from the glass. Follow the directions with the paint on how to dry it. Some glass paint requires baking, while others are air dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Use etching cream for a frosted effect. Glass paints that require baking last longer than air dry paints. They hold up to multiple washings.
  • It is possible to silkscreen rounded objects such as cups or bowls. Wrap the silkscreen around the object, then the stencil. Paint the glass paint on with a paintbrush.
  • If your drawing skills are inadequate use a pre-made stencil and trace it to the contact paper. Make a stencil on the computer by saving an image as "monochrome bitmap" with Microsoft Paint. Print the picture and cut out the parts where you want the paint.
  • The contact paper will tear after several uses. The edges of the design often tear first. Do not use the design once this happens because the paint will go through the tears and ruin the finished product.

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