I'm just starting in silkscreen printing and I would like to know if there are common ways to predict the final result of overlaying transparent inks on paper? Are there methods that could help me take some of the guesswork out of the process?

For example, can I finger test a color on the paper I will use and overlay another finger test on top of it to get a rough idea? Is there a calculation to know how much transparent medium to use to achieve the same % used in Photoshop?

  • The best method would be to get some ink and put it on the paper. It will be very different than Photoshop. In most cases, the ink is tweaked 'on press' or left to it's own devices (sometimes the uncertainty makes for the most interesting end results)
    – DA01
    Sep 23, 2014 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


My best guess would be to mix transparency into each color in proportion. Eventually you'll become better at knowing your inks and your papers, and your end result will look similar to your original.

For example: In a design, you have a red square that is at 70% opacity and a blue circle that is at 20% opacity. You fill two cups, one with 100ml of your red and the other with 100ml of your blue.

You could decide that you add 30ml of transparent solution to 100 ml of your red. to follow proportions, you would add 80ml of transparent solution to the blue.

The end result might be "offset" from your original photoshop, but colors will keep their "relation" to one another and that is pretty important visually.

(And for finger tests, I would say finger tests are way more sketchy when you're dealing with transparencies, but they can always be a good test while you're mixing your colors.)

You will eventually get good at this and get results closer to your photoshop original, but I'm sure it'll still look good while you're learning ;)

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