In the traditional screen-printing (sometimes known as silk-screening) process, ink is forced through holes in a mesh screen and onto paper or cloth. Wax or other substances are used to fill some of the holes and make patterns by controlling where the ink goes. By combining this procedure with multiple print runs (a different run for each color), it is possible to create elaborate and multi-colored works of art. You can even make multiple copies of the same item by using the same screens again and again.
Today this process has been adapted to print on items as diverse as posters, T-shirts, and coffee cups. It can be automated, and has even been combined with photographic techniques to yield extremely precise, detailed images.
By using glass enamels instead of traditional screen-printing paints, it's possible to use the screen-printing process to print on glass. Once a frame has been constructed (a simple 2' x 2' square will suffice) and the screen has been stretched tightly across the frame, you are ready to create the stencil. This may be done in one of three ways:
• By brush, using a liquid "screen filler" to block out parts of the screen. (Put your design under the screen to make it easier to know what to block out.)
• By stencil, using commercially available stencil film and a sharp knife to cut out the desired design.
• By photo screen printing, using stencils and a "halftone" film that will separate the photographic image into dots.
Once the enamels have been screened onto the glass and allowed to dry, they should be fired to maturity. Additional layers and colors may be added if desired.
It is possible to screen-print more than one color at a time, but the process is much more complicated and often requires more elaborate equipment. For this reason, most screen-printing artists confine their works to a single color or conduct multiple firings.