Do you have acrylic paints that you’d like to use in silk screening? You can make them suitable for use in your silk screening process by mixing them with an appropriate silk-screen medium. These formulations are meant to both increase drying time, to make the paint more easily workable without drying, and to lengthen the life of your screens by making the paint more easily washed out when your printing session is done. Before you invest in a medium, check out our five favorites, below.
1. Jackson’s Acrylic Textile Medium
This acrylic medium makes any acrylic paint suitable for screen printing on textiles when mixed in a 1:1 ratio. It creates a pigment that dries slowly and smooths out evenly and easily. It is water soluble, which makes for easy cleanup, and also nontoxic, so you can use it around children without worry. It gives your printed design excellent adhesion and flexibility and will keep your design from becoming misshapen when transferred to soft fabrics.
2. Daler-Rowney System 3 Acrylic Printing Medium
This liter-size (34-ounce) tub of medium is a smart purchase for educators who want to buy in bulk. The tub seals well, so even if you’re the only user, there is little chance that it will go bad or harden as you work your way through it. The medium itself is quite thick, but it works expertly to slow the drying time of acrylic paints when mixed, easing up the process of silk-screen printing and cleaning up afterwards. The product ships from England.
3. Speedball Fabric/Acrylic Transparent Base
Not only does this medium lengthen the drying time of acrylic paint, making it ideal for screen printing, but it also thins the pigment, which is to be noted when looking for an exceptionally vibrant tone. The thinning process creates an ideal consistency for silk screening and makes your final design less stiff when transferred, particularly useful when working with relatively thin fabrics like spandex and some polyester blends.
4. Golden Acrylic Silkscreen Medium
Golden is a respected brand when it comes to paint and paint media. When mixed with acrylics in a 1:1 ratio, this medium yields a silkscreen paint that is just as saturated, bold, and vibrant as the paint straight out of the tube. Used with either heavy-body matte acrylics or fluid acrylic paint, it imparts a delayed drying time for greater ease of use when printing. This medium, sold in a 16-ounce container, is not intended for printing on fabric.
5. Jacquard Screen Printing Puff Additive
If you want to add some dimension to your screen prints, this medium is for you. The aptly named Puff Additive, when mixed with acrylic paint and transferred via silk screen, will cause your design to swell slightly in relief, creating a plumped-up look. Microspheres in the additive expand with heat, which you must apply after transfer to achieve the final look. After the design has puffed up, it is both wash-fast as well as dry cleanable. This additive can be used with paint on a range of materials, from natural and synthetic fabrics to vinyl, metal, and even leather.