How to Print on Metal

Updated July 20, 2017

Printing on metal is more difficult than printing on fabric or paper, as metal has a nonporous surface, which makes it harder for additional substances to stick to its surface. However, using a specialist gloss enamel printing ink within standard screen printing techniques makes it possible to print on metal at home using basic equipment such as a silk screen printing frame and a squeegee.

Draw or find a design to print on metal. If you are a beginner to screen printing, choose an image that will be easy to cut out.

Print or draw the chosen image onto an A4 size acetate sheet.

Put thick cardboard under your work area. Cut around the outline of each area of your design that you want to print. This cut out acetate sheet is your stencil.

Place the metal on the work surface. Place the stencil on top of the metal in the desired print location. Put the screen on top of the stencil. Use masking tape to cover any areas on the underside of the screen that are not covered by the stencil.

Dollop a small amount of ink along the top of the screen. Hold the screen in place with your left hand. Use the squeegee held in your right hand to pull ink down the screen. The squeegee should be held at a 45-degree angle to create the best print.

Pull up the screen from left to right to show your printed metal.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 for any additional prints. You will not need to add new ink for each print. Add more ink when there is not enough to pull down the screen.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Acetate
  • Thick cardboard
  • Craft knife
  • Silk screen printing frame
  • Masking tape
  • Gloss enamel printing ink
  • Squeegee
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About the Author

Hazel Black started writing professionally in 2010, specializing in music and the arts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and is studying journalism at the University of London.