Screen Printing Guide: Mastering Stationery Projects

Screen printing is an affordable, versatile method ideal for customizing stationery supplies. It has gained popularity in the stationery industry and is often used for branding event items or promotional goods.

This blog explores screen printing applications in stationery, using a mesh screen, ink, and a squeegee to transfer images onto various materials, such as fabric, paper, metal, plastic, and glass.

Understanding Screen Printing Components

Before diving deeper, let's clarify the main components of screen printing: mesh screen, ink, and squeegee.

Mesh Screen

Mesh screens are made of mesh material, such as polyester or nylon, stretched across a frame. They are crucial for transferring ink onto a material's surface through tiny holes.

  • Higher mesh count = finer, more detailed prints
  • Lower mesh count = rougher, less detailed prints
  • The design and ink used determine the mesh count needed


Squeegees are tools with flat rubber blades that help transfer ink from stencils to substrates. They are essential for creating different effects in screen printing.

  • Pulled at a 45-degree angle with pressure for ink transfer
  • Adjust pressure, angle, and speed to create sharp lines or blended colors
  • Customize the squeegee technique for desired effects


Inks have various applications, with this section focusing on those used in the textile and stationery industries. They transfer designs or images from one surface to another.

  • Common substrates: fabric, paper, wood, metal, plastic, glass
  • Ink choice depends on the intended application and material
Screen Printing

Screen Printing Inks for Stationery

Type of Ink Description Printing Advantages Application
Plastisol Ink A thick, opaque ink made of PVC particles in a plasticizer Durable, vibrant print that won't crack or peel Brand logos, graphics, and text
Water-based Ink Composed of water, pigment, and a binder, resulting in a softer and more breathable print Natural feel on stationery items Personalized names, quotes, messages
Metallic Ink Contains metallic particles for a shiny, reflective finish Adds a premium, eye-catching touch Engraved logos, monograms, decorative elements
Glitter Ink Features small glitter particles for a sparkly effect Festive, fun touch for stationery Custom graphics and text with glitter accents

How to Start Screen Printing

Making your personalized designs for notebooks, pens, and other stationery products is easy with screen printing, and you can do it manually or with a machine. Follow this simple guide to start your own immediately!

screen printing material

Manual Screen Printing

General Materials

  • Screen printing frame
  • Ink
  • Stationery material (e.g., paper, cardstock)

Manual Printing Specific Materials

  • Emulsion
  • Emulsion scoop coater
  • Light-sensitive film
  • Scissors
  • Exposure unit or natural sunlight
  • Water hose or pressure washer
  • Squeegee


1. Choose or create the design you want to print.

2. Prepare the screen:

  • Cut a piece of light-sensitive film to fit the size of your screen.
  • Attach the film with clips and tape and apply emulsion to the screen.
  • Let the screen dry in a dark place.

3. Expose the design:

  • Place the design onto the screen and expose it to light.
  • Rinse the screen with water and let the emulsion dry.

4. Set up the stationery material:

  • Place your stationery material on a flat surface.
  • Put the screen printing frame on the stationery, lining up the design.

5. Apply ink to the screen:

  • Pour a line of ink along one edge of the screen.
  • Use the squeegee to spread the ink evenly across the screen.

6. Print the design:

  • Press the ink through the screen and onto the material using a squeegee.
  • Carefully lift the screen to reveal the printed design.

7. Let the ink dry before handling the stationery.

screen printing steps
Automated Screen Printing Process

Automated Screen Printing Process

Materials needed

  • Screen printing machine
  • Ink
  • Stationery material (e.g., ball pen, rulers)


  • Choose or create the design you want to print.
  • Load the machine with the appropriate screen and ink.
  • Adjust the settings for accurate and even ink application.
  • Place the stationery material onto the machine platform, aligning it correctly.
  • Start the printing process and wait for it to finish.
  • Carefully remove the printed material from the machine and allow the ink to dry before handling the stationery.

Applications of Screen Printing Machines

The adaptability of screen printing is one of its most notable advantages. It is one of the most widely used printing processes for a variety of uses because of the low barrier to entry in terms of both getting the materials and using them. Below are some of the most popular uses for screen printing.


  • Commonly used for textiles and clothing
  • Fast, economical, and produces vivid colors
  • Suitable for T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, backpacks, etc.


  • Ideal for large-format displays like banners, posters, and yard signs
  • Size limits determined by printing press capabilities
  • Techniques such as printing on larger sheets or "tiling" designs in sections


  • Used for printing logos, images, and designs on various items
  • Sharp, clear images on business cards, envelopes, notepads, etc.
  • Sustainable choice with water-based, non-toxic inks and high-quality materials
Applications of Screen Printing Machines

Screen Printing Applications in Stationery

  • Pens: Screen printing can create striking images on plastic, metal, and wooden pens, producing graphics that last without fading or peeling. However, the cylindrical shape of pens and limited print areas pose challenges.
  • Pencil Cases: Screen printing on various materials like fabrics, leather, and plastics requires considering the case's material and color scheme for optimal results. The printed area on pencil cases ranges from 2x2 inches to 8x8 inches. Small or oddly shaped pencil cases might make implementing intricate designs challenging.
  • Notebooks: Screen printing is popular for personalizing notebooks due to its ability to produce high-quality, long-lasting images on substrates like paper, leather, and fabric. The choice of material, ink, and printing method determines print and color quality.
  • Packaging: Screen printing can create textured designs on stationery packaging, offering a three-dimensional look and feel. Metallic or shiny inks are another interesting option, providing a reflective finish that adds an air of superior quality to the packaging.
Su - Interwell Founder
Hi, I'm Su, the author of this post. I founded Interwell Stationery and have served over 1000+ clients since 2003. Feel free to contact us for custom stationery supplies, manufacturing support, and the latest trends in the industry.

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