10 Tips For Applying Emulsion On A Screen

Emulsion Coated Screens When you grab your scoop coater your mission is to create a gasket in which ink will pass through the screen and create a clean crisp image on your t-shirt.  many people over look the basics and the output shows it.    The reason we coat the screen is two fold.  Number one is we want to create a coating that will block the ink so it doesn’t go through where we don’t want it to.   Second, we want to have crisp lines around the art work.

A lot of screen printers don’t follow the basics and create allot of grief for themselves including pin holes and emulsion breaking down during the print run.  Sure, they are coating screens and getting by but, they could be producing better screens in a much more efficient way.   I have put together 10 points to remember when coating your screens for screen printing.

  1. Make sure you are using the right screen for the type of ink you are using and the item you are printing on.
  2. The screen tension is tight. Tight screens will give you better prints and constancy.
  3. Degrease the screens with “Simple Green” or a similar degreaser.
  4. make sure the screen is completely dry prior to coating.
  5. Mix your emulsion 2 hours prior to coating you screen.  This will let air bubbles bleed out so you don’t get pin holes.
  6. Use the sharp edge of your scoop coater.
  7. Coat the t-shirt side of the screen first and then the squeegee side.
  8. Do one coat on each side.  Some people have other methods which involve more coats but this is what I do.
  9. Dry your screen t-shirt side down.
  10. make sure your screen is completely dry before you start printing.

I hope these tips help.  I didn’t go into much detail here but I may break them out in more detail in future posts.

as always, if you don’t have the book “How to Print T-Shirts for Fun and Profit! By: Scott Fresener” you should pick it up.

Have Fun..




I was ready the form here and found a lot of good information. I’m starting a screen printing business up and what I have learned has come from places like this. I do have a question about the printer that they suggested in this form and it was the epson 1800. good for printing your art work for you screens. I have a epson 1400 will it work also. you can e-mail me at bigal327@embarqmail.com

Tom Morrison

Technique for lining up shirt boards on printers.
A. On the metal bar that holds the board use a sharpie to mark a centerline.
B. Attach an empty bracket to the bar.
C. Mark the center of the shirt board on the edges or on top.
D. Line the board up to the marks on the bar.
E. Use two C-Clamps, one on each side and clamp the board to the bracket
F. Remove the bracket and board, attach with screws as usual, remove clamps.

This ensures all boards on multi station printers are identically squared and
centered, and on single station printers the center of the board is also the
center of the screen clamp and bar.

Custom T Shirts

Yes Allen, the 1400 will work. You may want to consider using blackmax ink and accurip if you havent already. Both are well worth the money.


Nice section on setting a screen correctly, I think people who buy screen printed t shirts do not always realise how much work goes into getting the job ready! Maybe if they read this it will help them understand.
Nice article.


I have had some issues with emulsion washing out on me or pin pricking after a couple wash outs. Does cold water/pressure affect the emulsion? Are you letting the screen dry in between coats? What emulsion do you use? I do textile/canvas/shirt printing with screens of 130 mesh. I use speedball but have tried a number of ulano emulsions. Speedball seemed to work the best for me. Any advice is much appreciated.



Strange I have learned to coat the t-shirts side of the screen first and the squeegee side always last and then dry the screen in a dark screen cupboard with the mesh facing downwards.
This as a matter of fact is the most widely used method and probably the most logic one.


Nice Tips.

Catspit Productions

I coat my screens on the substrate side or “tee shirt” side first, then the ink well side or “squeegee side” last. I set them to dry substrate side down so that the emulsion will be thickest on the substrate side. This will help with coverage. Cool post.


Hi Steve
how can i coat my screen. is necessary to do it in darkness and what is the ratio of mixing the emulsion and the synthesizer

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