Application Tip: Coating Screens with Emulsion

RS Executive Video Summary buttonOne of the first steps in screen printing is coating your screen with emulsion. The type of emulsion you use is important and depends on the type of ink you are using. Different inks react differently to emulsion. Take advantage of the Regional Supply sales team to advise what kind of emulsion you should use.

If you are working with a used screen that is still coated with emulsion, you’ll want to remove it with an emulsion remover. If you are using a new screen move on to the second step.

Before applying emulsion you need to clean the mesh with a degreaser. A power washer works best but a garden hose or even a standard sink will work to clean any dust, debris or dirt from the surface of the screen. Using a spray bottle, apply the degreaser to both sides of the screen and use a scrub brush to clean it thoroughly. Rinse the degreaser thoroughly  and let the screen dry completely.

When your screen is clean and dry, it is time to apply the emulsion. Start by stirring the emulsion. Pour the emulsion into a scoop coater to apply. Be careful not to pour too much emulsion at first. You can always add more if needed, but you’re more likely to make a mess if you pour too much. With your screen at an angle, tilt the open top of the scoop coater against your screen to coat the print side first, then repeat on the squeegee side. Scrape off the excess emulsion with the edge of your scoop coater. You’ll notice on your scoop coater you have a sharp side and a dull side. If you need a thicker coat, scrape off the excess emulsion with the dull side of the coater. For a thinner coat applied to your screen  use the sharper side of the scoop.

After you have applied the emulsion, let your screen dry horizontally with the print side down. Multiple coats may be needed as well so make sure the emulsion is fully dry before you add any extra coats.

Items you’ll need:

1. Stretched screen

2. Degreaser

3. Spray bottle

4. Liquid emulsion

5. Scoop coater with end caps


1.       DEGREASE

  1. Work up a lather on both sides of the mesh
  2. Spray off with a hose, in a sink or using a power washer
  3. Let dry thoroughly

2.       COAT

  1. Fill scoop coater with room temperature liquid emulsion
  2. Slowly apply first coat to the print side
  3. Coat squeegee side with one to three coats depending on the thickness required
  4. Dry thoroughly between coats

3.       DRY

  1. Thoroughly dry screen in horizontal position
  2. Make sure you dry with the print side down
  3. Always dry in a dark room or cabinet
  4. Temperature should not exceed 110 degrees

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