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How to Use Table Adhesive for Screen Printing

Updated April 17, 2017

Passing a screen printing squeegee several times across the silk screen frame often causes the fabric to shift, resulting in printed smudges, irregular artwork or severely blurred images. Table adhesive made for screen printing projects is generally readily available at screen printing supply stores. The tacky adhesive is intended to be spread onto the printing area on the table surface, preventing the fabric from unwanted movement or shifting during the screen printing process. Though adding table adhesive is not a required screen printing step, the extra effort significantly reduces screen printing errors.

Drop a few drops of table adhesive directly onto the screen printing table surface. Though brands vary, it is generally available in liquid form and is a temporary adhesive. Aim the drops onto the centre of the printing area. The screen printing area size dictates the number of drops required to cover the surface. Refer to your brand's recommended amount.

Spread the drops from the centre out until the area is completely covered. Use an old squeegee or piece of cardboard scrap to spread the liquid. Do not use the same squeegee to dip into screen printing ink.

Let the adhesive dry your brand's recommended time or until the surface becomes tacky. Keep in mind this is a pressure sensitive and temporary adhesive. It does not adhere to the fabric fibres. If the surface is wet, you have added too much table adhesive.

Position the fabric over the tacky surface. Do not stretch the fabric, which will distort the image once the screened paint dries.

Re-apply the table adhesive if the fabric starts to shift after several screen printing passes.

Wipe excess table adhesive from the screen printing area with a damp rag. Keep in mind this adhesive type is a glue and may continue to spread.

Remove excess table adhesive with a loose fibre cloth by patting the wet area. Repeat until the excess is completely removed. Skip this step if Step 6 cleaned the excess adhesive.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid table adhesive
  • Screen printing table
  • Old squeegee
  • Cardboard scrap (optional)
  • Damp rag
  • Loose fibre cloth
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About the Author

Mercedes Valladares is the founder of M721Organics and has been an independent designer for over 15 years. Her work experience commenced during college with manufacturers based in New York and Hong Kong. Her education includes LIM College, International Fine Arts College and design certification from the Paris Fashion Institute. She produces eco-crafting videos and writes recycling articles online.