How to Stencil Print?

One day, my friends and I took a trip to the city center. On the way, we stumbled on some cool graffiti designs. The thing is, we wanted to make our own stuff without having to learn how to draw — so we asked one artist there, and he told us they used stencils.

After hearing that word, I went on a mission, searching for videos and how-to guides on YouTube. By the time I finished searching, I still felt I’d never be able to produce the kind of Pinterest-worthy designs that I loved. But after much trial and error — making trendy wall art and cool graffiti fabric designs became second nature.

What Is a Stencil?

Stencils are patterns created by spraying paint or ink onto a sheet of paper or thin plastic. You can use the stencil as-is or peel it off the paper and transfer it onto a substrate, such as wood, walls, and fabric, by painting over the top of it. Now that I’ve learned how to stencil print, I’ll tell you how to do the same.

How to Stencil Print

From the look of it, stenciling is something that seems pretty simple. But as you know from experience, everything takes practice. Whether you’re adding a custom graphic or doing a full paint job with stencils, you’re going to want to follow these tips.

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

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How to Make a Stencil Print

Stencils can be intimidating at first, but after you get the hang of it, they’re actually quite easy to work with — even for beginners. Although many assume that screen printing is a complex industrial process, it’s actually simple and user-friendly.

Screen printing is a popular choice for designers and retailers alike, thanks to the vibrancy of the inks. When you’re selling t-shirts and hoodies online, you know that it’s important to show off the quality of your product.

Here are some of the materials you will need:

Impress Stencil Film
Screen-printing frame
Craft-knife and cutting mat
Mounting adhesive spray
Tote bags, T-shirt, or other printing material
Masking tape
Screen-printing ink
Plastic Spatula
Soft bristle brush

Step 1: Brainstorm Your Stencil Ideas

When planning to print a stencil, it’s crucial to have a high-quality image as the basis of your design. As long as you have a powerful computer and printer, the resolution shouldn’t be an issue — but finding a suitable image is one of the most important steps when learning how to make a paper stencil for screen printing.

Step 2: Create Your Design

There’s no better tool for this job than Adobe Photoshop. Alternatively, you might want to consider Microsoft Paint if you’re looking for something simpler. Of course, if you’re creating your own artwork without using any outside source images.

You don’t need image editing software: you can use your own hand-drawn art.

When just learning how to stencil print, it’s best to start with a simple design. Line drawings or thick text will help beginners learn the basics of the art form. For more complicated designs, use bright colors, and save darker hues for after you’ve become comfortable with the basics.

Step 3: Print Your Design

In order to create a hard copy of your design, you should print it on premade paper in black and white. If you don’t have access to a printer, most companies sell prints both in-store and online. Printing your art on cardstock makes sure that it’s sturdy enough for standing up against the wind. You can also print your design on regular printing paper, but it won’t be as sturdy.

Step 4: Cut Your Stencil Free of the Paper

Use your utility knife to carefully cut around the black areas of the page. Try to follow a continuous border to help limit the number of touch-ups you need to make at the end. Make sure you are cutting as close to the edge of your image as possible. Otherwise, you may spend more time removing excess paper than you’ll save time in the long run.

What is Screen Printing?

Screen printing is the art of printing text or graphics onto a surface using a stencil with ink. There are several methods for achieving this goal, but they differ in one major way: the medium used to create the stencil. The screen filler method uses a sticky gel spray to create the stencil, whereas the drawing fluid method uses liquid emulsion and a squeegee to distribute it evenly.

The photo emulsion method may sound intimidating, but it’s actually a powerful technique for printing intricate designs and thin lines. It produces results that are as detailed as they are bold.

Screen Printing with Vinyl Stencil

In today’s DIY-savvy world, the possibilities of creating new projects are infinite. With just a few supplies and a bit of practice, anyone can create gorgeous screen-printed designs. It’s also an excellent alternative to expensive retail items or costly custom orders. No one will believe you made it yourself.

Screen Printing is the perfect hobby for a lazy Sunday or even an evening when you just want to relax at home. You don’t need high-tech equipment, and the right supplies are affordable and available everywhere.

Materials You’ll Need:

Screen Printing with Vinyl Stencil

Screen Printing is the perfect hobby for a lazy Sunday or even an evening when you just want to relax at home. You don’t need high-tech equipment, and the right supplies are affordable and available everywhere.

Materials You’ll Need:

• A vector image to screen print.
• A blank screen
• A sign squeegee (an old credit card can work)
• A vinyl decal or access to a vinyl cutter.
• Masking/transfer tape.

Your Decal Image

If you don’t have a vinyl cutter, it’s still possible to get a decal made. Most sign-makers and printers will have the right machinery, but there’s another option: if you already have your artwork ready, you can use an online service like CafePress.

Design the final product as a vector design in Adobe software. This is the most important step of all, and you really need to take your time with the design phase.

Step 1: Cut the Vector image

When you’re doing screen printing with vinyl, make sure that you have your image cut out (etched) correctly — or, if you’re cutting it yourself, weed the line-work from the vinyl.

Step 2: Setting Up the Screen

When you receive your decal for screen printing with vinyl, be sure to clean off the adhesive back. You should also remove the protective wax-paper layer before applying it to your screen. This will save a lot of hassle down the road, as residual adhesive from an old decal may cause bleeding during printing.

Step 3: Mask and Print

Vinyl When applying a vinyl decal to your screen, you need to make sure that you cover the text or image when printed. Otherwise, it won’t look as good as it could and can be hard to read. To avoid this problem, mask off the areas where you don’t want the ink to go and then print. Removing the mask reveals only the areas where the ink has gone, leaving a clean image with no blank spaces.

How to Use Green Film as Stencil for Screen Printing

Silkscreen printing is a fun and inexpensive way to turn your custom artwork into reality. The process uses a mesh screen as a stencil to leave ink only in the outline of where you want it. By using a silkscreen, you can save money when printing on large quantities of shirts or other items.

Things You’ll Need:

• Silkscreen
• Green film
• Transparent or high-quality print of your design

Use Green Film as Stencil for Screen Printing

Green film is a screen printing overlay that lets you trace your design without damaging the screen. When applied, you can use it as an alternative to paint or photo emulsion screening techniques in order to create beautiful hand-pulled prints. The green film leaves no residue behind, and you can easily remove it before sending the artwork through the silk screen press. These films are excellent for use with photo-emulsion-based inks and can reduce waste from screen printing projects.

How to Use Photo Emulsion

Screen printing on photo emulsion is a fun way to create a unique and personalized design for your favorite shirts. It’s also the key to printing. Used with a sensitizer, it’s the only way to make high-resolution prints on silkscreens.

Photo emulsion burns stencils into screens, allowing for photo-realistic screen printing and cutting the need for pre-printed fabric.

To use the Emulsion method, follow these simple steps:

Use Photo Emulsion

Step 1: Clean the Screen

The screen must be clean of grease and residue before applying the phosphor.

Step 2: Preparing the Sensitizer

Fill half of the sensitizer bottle with cold water. Be sure to mix it well — if the water is too warm or too cold, it can prevent the emulsion from working effectively.

Step 3: Settling the Emulsion

Pour the photo emulsion into the scoop coater. This step will allow the emulsion to settle for a minute to make it easier to scoop it out. Gently shake the scoop coater from side to side, creating a light coating of photo emulsion on the screen.

Step 4: Developing the Screen

Leaving the photo screen in a dark place, lay it down horizontally, and make sure that air can circulate around it. A cool, dry place will prevent your screen from warping or losing its shape as it dries. It’s essential to properly support the edges of the metal frame to keep it from bending. Leave it like this until all the emulsion has hardened. When you’re ready to begin sharing, cover a piece of black foam or an old book with a sheet of black paper, then place your photo screen on top.

Put the film under a sheet of glass with the image facing up. It should have its positive side facing up exposed to light. We recommend 250-watt bulbs for 15 minutes at a time, but you can multiply these figures by 150 according to your bulb’s wattage to achieve similar results.

Step 5: Preparing the Screen

Once the screen is dry, you can see a difference in color between the exposed and unexposed emulsion. Remove the film from the negative and inspect it. The unexposed piece of the film should be slightly yellow, while the exposed part is pure black.

You can even use the Sun to light your stencil. Just expose it to direct sunlight for an hour or so, then wash away everything that you didn’t leave exposed (leaving behind a design).

How to Use Cuttable Green Film

To properly use cuttable green film when screen printing designs, there are a few things you need to know. The purpose of using green film is to protect the area around the design from ink, and it also allows your squeegee to glide smoothly across the screen. No matter your printer, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re using cuttable green film correctly — and using it as effectively as possible.

Step 1: Print Out Your Screen Print

Print out your desired image on printer paper and trace it to the green film.

Step 2: Trace Your Design

Use a pencil or a ballpoint pen to trace your design’s outside edges and a sharp X-Acto knife to cut along the black lines.

Step 3: Apply the Cuttable Green Film

Apply it to the screen’s surface and use it to print on wood, glass, metal, etc.

Step 4: Pull The Screen Off The Frame

When finished with the screen printing process, there are two ways to remove the screen from the frame: You can pull the fabric off entirely or warm the silk with hot water and then pull it away gently.

Using Photo-Sensitive Green Film

Photo-sensitive green film is a simple yet powerful tool that turns any flatbed inkjet printer into a high-quality screen printing press.

Step 1: Prepare the Film Negative

To print on it, you first need to create a positive image of your design by using a film or digital negative. The method used before will work for printing on this type of film: screen printing, letterpress, or laser cutting.

Step 2: Applying Photo-Sensitive Emulsion

A Green photo-sensitive emulsion is good to use as a light-blocking ink, but you must expose it to light before exposure, or it won’t print. To set up a screen, apply the emulsion with a squeegee across the entirety of your screen.

Step 3: Apply Water to Your Screen /Green Film

Spraying your screen and the green film with water before burning parts of it’ll help you to blow out the details you just burned into your screen. Because of this step, you cannot blow out the rest of the pieces. You also need to prevent ink from seeping between the screen and gripping the fabric when you print it.

Screen-Print Prep

Screen-printing prep is a crucial part of the process, and you’ll spend hours precisely preparing your screens ready for print. We can trace the difference between a great print job and a terrible one back to screen prep: if you haven’t cut your stencils accurately or applied them correctly, then all your hard work will be for nothing.

Materials you’ll need:

• Ink
• Iron
• Repositionable Adhesives
• Cardboard
• Sealant

Step 1: Choose the Right Ink

To choose the correct ink and resin for the job, you have to know what kind of surface you’re printing on. Once you understand what goes best with your surface, you can buy the best ink.

Step 2: Iron out the Wrinkles

If you want your design on fabric, iron the fabric before printing so that the surface is smooth enough to hold the ink. If you don’t, your print will run. That’s why you should iron out the surface.

Step 3: Use Repositionable Adhesives

Choosing the spray adhesive is the most important part of screen printing. If you choose an adhesive that isn’t repositionable, then you’ll have to reprint your artwork from scratch every time you make a change. This means that you need to take extra care to get it right the first time — otherwise, you’ll waste hundreds of dollars on ink.

Step 4: Use Masking Tape To Prevent Slipping

If you want your stencil to remain in place while you work, apply a strip of masking tape to the back of the stencil.

Step 5: Place Your Screen in a Safe Place to Dry

When printing on a T-shirt or some other substrate, some folks choose to print between two pieces of cardboard. You can do this to increase the durability of the print and to prevent bleeding through the shirt. To do this, spray both sides of the cardboard with a sealant or adhesive and add it to your separations. Once you laminate everything together, flip over and trim off any excess material that could cause your print to bubble or wrinkle.

Step 6: Center Your Print Under the Screen

If you want to avoid misprints and dripping, make sure to center it under the screen. Use tape to secure it in place.


If you follow these basic steps, you’ll be able to print your own designs onto mugs, T-shirts, and shoes. You don’t need any prior experience in screen printing — even if you make a mistake or two on the way, you can simply reprint your own work without having to pay for pricey equipment again. Just practice over and over again, and you’ll slowly learn how to better control the process to get professional results.

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