Screen Printing:

How to Screen Print Stickers

By Heather Ashlock, Contributing Writer

September 11, 2012

Many screen printers initially focus on printing T-shirts, but did you know you also can think outside the box and print other fun items, like stickers?

Screen printing stickers can be easy, and they can take this decorating discipline in creative and new directions. Following are a few pointers to remember:

1. When screen printing stickers you cannot use a plastisol ink. Use the following inks instead:
solvent-based graphic: most popular due to its stability
graphic water-based ink: good option for an eco feel.
UV: doesn’t dry in screen, but has to cure with expensive reactor

2. Use a 230-mesh screen.

3. Use solvent-resistant or graphic emulsion, as standard emulsion will break down.

4. Set the off-contact to 1/4-inch.

5. A vacuum pallet works best, but spray tack on wood will suffice for short runs.

6. Use a 70 durometer squeegee.

7. Mix your ink with thinner. This will help the ink to dry slower and make it easier to work with. Thin the ink 3%-5%. (Editor’s Note: If ink spiders, it is too thin.)

8. To start printing, apply ink and flood the screen. Practice your print stroke, and make sure to back-flood. Test and modify your technique as needed, but remember to always keep the screen flooded, as this keeps the ink from drying.

9. Clean up using solvent, screen opener or thinner. Clean screen so all ink is out of your screen immediately. Not doing this will result in a ruined screen.

Ryan Moor is president and CEO at Ryonet. Heather Ashlock is Editor. For more information or to comment on this article, e-mail Heather at