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Screen Restretching - A Quick Guide

Posted by Harvey Cole - Outside Sales on 2/3/2014

Screen printing is a printing style that uses a piece of fabric, called "mesh," stretched over an aluminum or wood frame. The mesh is stenciled, and then ink is rolled on and pressed to create an image on an object. This process is used for clothing, decals, product labels, signs, and displays. 

Mesh can be made from steel, nylon or polyester. When used repeatedly, it becomes slack, which affects the quality of your print. Screen Printing businesses have to decide whether to send their frames to a printing supplier to be re-stretched, or if they will do it themselves using glue and a stretching frame. This article will tell you how to re-stretch a mesh frame using adhesive.


Listed below are step by step instructions to properly restretch mesh screens.

1.    Be sure to clean your frame using a debonding solvent such as acetone to remove dirt, ink, and any remaining adhesive from your frame.

2.    Once the acetone solvent has been used, remove the used mesh from the frame. Adhesive should come off nicely as well.

3.    Using a piece of sandpaper, preferably 80 grit, sand the areas of your frame where the new mesh will be glued.

4.    Clean your frame using a tack cloth to ensure that all remaining adhesive has been removed.

5.    Next you will choose and adhesive. Depending on your mesh count, you may use a low or high viscosity adhesive. Choosing the right adhesive is crucial to be sure that your fabric (mesh) will adhere to the frame.

6.    Choose a mesh that is best suited for the type of printing you will be doing. Once you have chosen a mesh, cut the fabric slightly bigger than your frame.

7.    Place your frame on the restretching device you have chosen to use. The blocks in the middle of your screen will help to increase tension between the machine and the fabric.

8.    Place your fabric over your frame and insert it into the tension bars on your machine.

9.    While slowly increasing the tension, check the tension using a tension meter.

10. Once your tension is correct on your fabric, apply a lite coat of adhesive where the fabric attaches to the frame.

11. Make sure to allow your adhesive to dry and cure properly.

12. You can place weights on top of your frame to ensure that is doesn’t bend.

13. Once the fabric has dried, remove the tension bars and cut any excess fabric from the frame.


Things you might need:

·         Solvent (acetone)

·         Cloth

·         Tension meter

·         Adhesive

·         Frame

·         Wooden blocks

·         Sandpaper

·         Screen Stretching Machine

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