A variety of stencil printing, using a screen made from fabric (silk or synthetic) stretched tightly over a frame

1 of 4
  • Herbert Bayer, 'Chromatic Intersection' 1970
    Herbert Bayer
    Chromatic Intersection 1970
    Screenprint on paper
    image: 750 x 752 mm
    Presented by Rose and Chris Prater through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975© DACS, 2002
  • Patrick Caulfield, 'Interior: Morning' 1970-1
    Patrick Caulfield
    Interior: Morning 1970-1
    Screenprint on paper
    image: 710 x 585 mm
    Presented by Rose and Chris Prater through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975© Patrick Caulfield. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2002
  • Berenice Sydney, 'Screenprint with Balance' 1974
    Berenice Sydney
    Screenprint with Balance 1974
    Screenprint on paper
    image: 800 x 584 mm
    Presented by the artist 1976© The estate of Bernice Sydney
  • Andy Warhol, 'Black Bean' 1968
    Andy Warhol
    Black Bean 1968
    © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London

The non-printing areas on the fabric are blocked out by a stencil. This can be created by painting on glue or lacquer, by applying adhesive film or paper, or painting a light-sensitive resist onto the screen which is then developed as a photograph (photo-screenprint). Ink or paint is then forced through the (non-blocked areas of) open fabric with a rubber blade, known as a squeegee, onto the paper.

Screenprinting has been used commercially since the 1920s. It first began to be used by artists in 1930s America and the term ‘serigraph’ was initially used to denote an artist’s print, as opposed to commercial work. It has been widely used by artists as a printmaking technique since the 1950s.

The term ‘silkscreen’ (silk was originally used for the mesh) is also commonly used to describe the technique, particularly in America.

Screenprinting for kids

What is a screenprint and how do you make one? Find out what it takes to be a screen printer, with this fun and informative short film for kids.