Screen printing is a traditional image transfer process that duplicates an image or illustration on the surface of an object. It is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh screen to support an ink-blocking stencil with a desired image.
The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink or other printable materials which can be pressed through the mesh as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate. Several types of inks or paints can be used. For screenprinting on wood, a waterbased, low VOC paint would be the best choice.
|The life cycle
The ingredients of UV curing and silk screening inks are petrochemicals. The embodied energy is significant for large prints.
The ingredients of UV curing and silk screening inks are all products of the petrochemical industry, which is linked to emissions dangerous to people and the environment
High water use
Screen printing requires a lot of water. Every couple of prints the mesh screen should be cleaned thoroughly with water to prevent the paint to dry and clog it.
Shelf life of inks is about 1 year. Make sure you reuse the ink or paint that remains on the screen after printing.
All products use in screen printing offgas toxic fumes. UV curing inks used for the screen are the most dangerous component, toxic to touch, inhale, and definitely ingest. Solvents for cleanup also have dangerous fumes. PVC-free, phtalate-free and water-based inks are safer alternatives (1). Use ventilation.
Screen printing is in general a durable technique. Some inks are more resilient than others.
If the ink contains chemical compounds like phthalates, that can leach out after curing (1).
Most screen printing chemicals qualify as hazardous waste. Look online for waste reductino tips for screen printing.
Examples on Superuse.org
Examples on Harvestmap.org