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close this book Tools for teaching - A visual aids workshop, and instruction manual for health educators
close this folder Session 7. Project $3: Design/project #4: Planning 7.0
close this folder Handout 7.7.1 - A silkscreen manual (Supplementary learning materials)
View the document A. Silkscreen frame construction
View the document B. Squeegee construction
View the document C. Silkscreen assembly
View the document D. Silkscreen art preparation (cut stencil method)
View the document E. Cutting the stencil
View the document F. Adhering the stencil
View the document G. Silkscreen inks & solvents
View the document H. Printing
View the document I. Silkscreen clean-up

D. Silkscreen art preparation (cut stencil method)

Art for silkscreening with a cut stencil should be designed with large, simple shapes and a minimum of copy lettered in a bold type face. All line work should be bold also for ease in cutting the stencil. Separate, rather than overlapped, components will make the printing process simpler.

1) Once the concept has been developed, draw a tight comp of the design to size. A tight comp (an abbreviation for "tight comprehensive layout") is art that looks exactly the way you want the printed piece to appear. The size, placement, and color of all components, including the type, must be accurate. The tight comp may be drawn on brown paper.

Tight comp


2) The next step in preparing artwork for silkscreen reproduction is to keyline the design.

• Tape the tight comp securely to your work table.

• Center a piece of tracing paper over the tight comp and tape the top edge to the table so that it will not shift while you are working.

• Using a fine point black pen, carefully outline each separate component and color area in your design. Use a ruler for straight lines. Lift the bottom edge of the tracing paper from time to time to check your tight comp against your keylined pattern. Be sure you are not missing any details.

Keylined pattern


3) Now you are ready to make your color separations following the keylined pattern.

• Remove the tight comp from under the keylined pattern. Set it to the side where you can refer to it as you work.

• Tape the other three sides of the keylined pattern to the work table.

• Place a clean piece of tracing paper over the keylined pattern and tape it down securely so that it will not shift.

• Using the tight comp as reference, carefully outline all the elements that are to be printed in a single color. Label this piece of tracing paper with the color it represents, e.g. red stencil.

• Remove the first color separation and place another clean piece of tracing paper over the keylined pattern. Outline all the elements to be printed in the second color and label the tracing paper accordingly.

• Proceed in this manner until all the colors have been "separated".

Color separations - Black stencil

Color separations - Yellow stencil

Color separations - Red stencil

Color separations - Green stencil


NOTE: It is possible to print more than one color from a single stencil provided that those color areas are separated from one another by sufficient space to allow you to effectively block out one color area while you print the other. This can be done by taping a piece of plastic or heavy tracing paper to the bottom of the screen over the color area that is not to be printed. In such a case, the color separation should indicate the outlines of the two colors that will be printed from the single stencil.

Red/Yellow stencil

Block yellow/Print red

Block red/Print yellow