Silk screening, also known as screen printing, is the process of transferring a stencilled design to another surface through the use of a mesh screen stretched over a frame. Although the mesh screens used in silk screening are fairly durable, they can sometimes sustain damage from overuse or careless handling. While big problems like the mesh tearing away from the frame might mean the end for your silk screen, minor damage like small tears can easily be repaired.
Determine the extent of your silk screening mesh screen's damage. Identify all of the small holes or tears, and make sure they do not cover an important part of the design. If so, you still can return the mesh to a usable state, but you will need to do touch-ups on each subsequent printing job.
Clean the mesh screen with water and a small amount of dish soap to remove the grease from your previous printing job. Let the mesh screen dry completely.
Patch the tear or hole with a piece of solvent-resistant tape that is slightly bigger than the damaged area. You can find solvent-resistant tape anywhere that sells screen printing supplies, as well as marine supply stores or painting stores. You also can use regular clear tape in a pinch.
Turn over the screen and patch the opposite side of the tear. Patch all tears in this manner.
Identify any worn spots on the silk screen that have not yet torn. Turn the screen to the underside and patch over the worn spots only on this side.
- "Silk Screen Printing for Artists and Craftsmen;" Mathilda V. Schwalbach and James Alfred Schwalbach; 1970
- "The Artist's Silk Screen Manual," Andrew B. Gardner; 1982
- Print Cut Sew: "Rip Your Screen? Here's How to Fix it Fast;" December 2008
- Do not patch over any silk screening emulsion if you have used the emulsion method of screen printing. Emulsion is a product that allows you to transfer an image to a screen through light exposure. Remove the emulsion first, apply the patch, then perform the emulsion process again on the repaired screen. If you have used the screen filler method of screen printing, do not worry about this.