Shoestring Seriography

I really enjoy screenprints and the process of making. However, the emulsion method used by professional screen printers is technical, time-consuming and toxic not to mention expensive.

There are several methods that are available which are cheaper, easier and, while having their own limitations, offer more immediate results. For the two colors I printed in this post, the red design was printed using a paper stencil while the blue design was made by painting Mod Podge directly onto the screen.

A large embroidery hoop that I acquired served as a impromptu screen frame. for a few dollars I purchased some organdy material which can be pulled reasonably tight in the embroidery hoop. The quality of the screen may not be as fine as professional grade, but it does the trick for down and dirty home printing. I topped off my rough-and-tumble painting kit with a “squeegee” made from a plastic vertical blind but I had cut up into short spatula shapes.

Some tips:

  • you can alter the viscosity of your acrylic paint with ModPodge.
  • pull your screen material as tight as you can
  • wider squeegees are best for consistent paint/ink layering.
  • thinner stencil material is preferable since the thickness of the paper determines the thickness of the paint layer. I think I will try newsprint next time. I may lose some durability but it may be worth it.
  • using the stencil method along with the PVA glue paint on method in tandem my produce great results. The painted method allows you to have floating shapes inside other shapes. The stencil I can’t do that very well. However you can get much crisper edges with the stencil.


I made some rectangular screens with some cheap picture frames. I used some old stockings as the screen material for one of them. The result is a mesh that is more rough, but workable for the paper stencil method or large designs with PVA glue. I suspected that the plastic “squeegee” that I had been using was causing air bubbles. I tried using a Styrofoam tray as an alternative since it is rounded and softer. Over time I think the screen will wear the styrofoam down, but it seemed to help.
I also tried Mylar from a deflated ballon for stencil material. It is at least as thin as newsprint and it is more durable. It tends to curl so is probably not suitable for fine detail, but adhered well to the screen once the initial “ink” was applied.


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