How to Make Wood Screen Printing Frames

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to Make Wood Screen Printing Frames
Silk Screen Printing (old printing image by Alexander Ivanov from

Silk screen printing is an old type of printing that allows images to be printed on a variety of items. A screen is build from simple lumber. Silk is stretched across the wood and then the silk is painted to resist the ink. The frame is then placed over the object to be printed and the ink will only flow through the remaining open holes in the silk fabric. This allows the image to transfer many times onto all types of surfaces. Building a silk screen printing frame is relatively inexpensive.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 2 x 2 lumber
  • Drill
  • 3-inch wood screws
  • Carpenter's glue
  • Silk
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun

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  1. 1

    Select straight 2 x 2-inch boards of tight grained wood. Have your lumber yard cut the boards into lengths that are 6 to 8 inches longer than your image size. For this example, cut your wood to 18 inches.

  2. 2

    Butt your joints. A butt joint is where the side of one board joins the end of another board. Place one board horizontal on your work surface and call this the Top board. Place a second board vertical and call it the Side board. Align your side board below your top board so that the outside of both boards form a corner.

  3. 3

    Drill two to three pilot holes through your top board and into the end of your side board. Apply glue to the end of your side board. Screw long wood screws through your top board and into the side board pulling the end of your side board tight to the bottom of your top board. A small amount of glue should squeeze out and be wiped off. Repeat for all four corners. Allow the frame glue to dry 24 hours.

  4. 4

    Cut your silk or fabric 24 inches square. Fold one side of your silk under by 3/4-inch. Do this twice. Position your silk on the centre of the outside edge of your frame. Staple the silk near the centre of the board.

  5. 5

    Fold, stretch and staple your silk on the opposite side. Pull your fabric taut and staple the silk at the centre of the board. Staple each side using the same technique. Continue stapling in the top, bottom, left, right pattern, spacing your staples about 1/2 inch apart. Keep your screen stretched smoothly as you staple. Wrap the remaining fabric at the corners and staple.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider hinging your frame to a backer board to allow you to create exact positioning marks for repeat printings.

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