How to Make Half Tone Films for Screen Printing

Written by marysia walcerz
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How to Make Half Tone Films for Screen Printing
Example of an image in halftones. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Halftones are a graphic technique that is used to create the illusion of shades of colour when there is really only one colour being used. The graphic designer varies the size, shape and spacing of the dots that comprise an image to make it appear as if there is a range of tones and shades, instead of just the one colour. Halftones are often utilised in screen printing, which only allows one colour to be printed at a time. You can create images in halftones using graphics editing software, such as Photoshop or Gimp, and print them out on transparencies for screen printing.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Transparency film
  • Graphics editing program

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  1. 1

    Open the image you wish to make into a half-tone transparency in a graphics editing program, such as Photoshop or Gimp. Make the image black and white if it is not already by selecting "Image>Mode>Grayscale" in the menu options. Complete any final touches such as cropping or editing the image.

  2. 2

    Open the image bitmap by selecting "Image>Mode>Bitmap" in the menu options. This will open up the image bitmap dialogue box.

  3. 3

    Click on the "Method" drop down menu in the image bitmap dialogue box and scroll down to select "Halftone Screen".

  4. 4

    Set the number of halftone dots and their size by entering a value in the "Output" box. The number you set in this box refers to the number of pixels per inch in the image, so a larger number will result in a more detailed image with more halftone dots that are smaller, and a lower number will result in a less detailed image with fewer, larger halftone dots.

  5. 5

    Save your image when you are satisfied with the look of your halftones. Load your transparencies into your printer according to the directions on the package. Open up the "Print" dialogue box in your graphics editing program, and select "Page Set Up". Find the drop down menu for paper type, and select "Transparency", then select "Print".

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