(I'm not entirely sure this is Graphic Design worthy, but since screen printing is a favorite medium of graphic designers for posters and the like and is certainly one of the popular commercial printing methods for the work we do, I hope it is valid...)

My question, broadly: what does one need to set up screen printing at home?

More specifically, can it be done without the need of a power washer (and, ideally, avoid the nastier chemicals)?

The big hurdle to doing this at home, from what I see, is that back when I did this in a studio, I needed a power washer to clean out the emulsion to prep the screen for the next template. As much as I love excuses to get new power tools, the fact that I currently reside in an apartment means it's probably not a practical option.

Are there ways to now burn screens and clean them for reuse without needing the power washing step (or using nasty chemicals) to clean the screens?

The Japanese Gocco screen printing kit product seemed popular, but appears to be now out of production. Speedball sells some kits, but I don't see what makes them DIY (is the emulsion a different type that doesn't require the power washing?)

Is anyone doing in-home/personal screen printing with a rig they like that a) doesn't use a ton of home-unfriendly chemicals and b) doesn't require a power-washer?

  • Not sure this is worthy of an answer, but I fairly sure when I last used a screenprint setup (~20 years ago) we just scrubbed them clean under a tap, with a brush and possibly soap.
    – e100
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 13:48
  • Unless there is a time limit on washup, could always store the used screens until you had a stack of them and then rent a power washer for a couple hours.
    – horatio
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 14:55
  • 1
    @horatio good idea! I could head down to the DIY car wash and wash the screens there!
    – DA01
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 15:35
  • 2
    you laugh, but hell yeah: 5$ in quarters is cheaper than a rental. I didn't say anything about need, because I haven't done more than one silkscreen (circa 1975) and I am pretty sure my mom cleaned up after me
    – horatio
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 15:50
  • 1
    A garden hose might be good if you already have one. You can also buy cheap portable garden sprayers which are pressurised by pumping them with air.
    – e100
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


It depends on the emulsion you're using, but the last time I screen printed at home I used Speedball and it cleans out with bleach and some elbow grease with a sponge while wearing gloves. Having a hose helps, but a bucket works as well.

I think I recall using SimpleGreen as well, but it takes longer.

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