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Screen-printing is an ancient print method that’s been around forever and is based on the technique of stencilling.

It involves pushing ink through a stencilled mesh screen that’s placed on top of the paper.

A separate stencil is made for each colour of the design and the ink is pushed through each stencil one layer at a time to build up the multi-coloured final artwork.

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Step 01
The design is created.
To start, our printer Cyril takes the design we’ve created and prints it out onto a transparent acetate film. This will be used to create the stencil.
Step 02
The screen is prepared.
Next, Cyril chooses a mesh screen that suits the complexity of the design and the texture of the paper stock being used. The mesh screen is then coated with a layer of light-reactive emulsion, which hardens when developed under bright light.
Step 03
The stencil is created
The acetate sheet featuring the design is then laid onto the emulsion-coated screen, and the whole thing is exposed to a very bright light that hardens the emulsion. After the screen has been exposed for a set time, the areas of the screen not covered by the design remains water-soluble and is carefully rinsed away leaving a clear imprint of the design on the screen for the ink to pass through.

The screen is then dried and Cyril makes any necessary touch-ups or corrections to ensure the imprint is as accurate as possible to our original design. The stencil is now ready to be used.

Since our designs include more than one colour, a separate screen is created for each different colour of ink. To create the multi-coloured print, Cyril uses his skill to create each stencil and line each layer up perfectly to ensure the final design is seamless.
Step 04
The ink is pressed through the screen.
The screen is placed on the printing press and the paper is laid down flat onto the printing board, underneath the screen.

The screen is then lowered down onto the printing board. Ink is added to the top end of the screen and a squeegee is used to pull the ink along the full length of the screen pressing the ink through the open areas of the stencil and imprinting the design onto the paper underneath.

To create multiple prints, the screen is raised and a new piece of paper is placed onto the printing board. The process is then repeated for each different stencil to apply the different layers of colour.

Once the stencils have served their purpose, the emulsion is removed using a special washing fluid so the mesh can be reused to create new stencils. Pretty cool aye?!
Step 05
The product is dried, checked and finished.
The printed piece then passes through a dryer which ‘cures’ the ink and creates a smooth, colourfast finish. Cyril then checks the final piece before it’s packaged and sent down to the studio here in Wanaka to be stamped with some White Light love before being passed on to its new owner.

Why screen-printing?

We think the screen-printing process is pretty cool, but it also gives our prints an edge over those that are digitally printed.

One of the biggest benefits of screen printing is the really rich, deep and vibrant colours that can be achieved. Unlike digital printing which uses a CMYK four colour process, screen-printing ink utilises spot colours which are mixed specifically for each job and are then deposited as reasonably thick layers of solid colour one at a time onto the paper resulting in colours with more vibrancy.

The layers of ink that are built up on the paper also give the final print a nice tactile quality that cannot be achieved on a digital press.

Screen print ink is also more durable and UV-resistant than digital ink which means your print won’t fade in the sun, even if you leave it unframed.

The ‘manual’ nature of the screen-printing process means each print has a slightly different ink coverage. These small imperfections add to the more ‘arty’ feel of the final result and make each print one of a kind. Pretty cool aye?!