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. Liquitex Professional Gel Medium
Acrylic-paint stalwart Liquitex introduced their silk-screen medium in May 2021, and it’s an excellent addition to the niche field. It lowers the viscosity of paint so it can fill every detail in your design with precision. Use it on fabric or paper; with all the colors of your acrylic paints available to you, your options for creative use of color are virtually limitless.
2. 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.
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, which is particularly useful when working with relatively thin fabrics like spandex and some polyester blends.
4. 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.
5. Daler-Rowney System 3 Screen Printing Set
To jump-start your screen-printing hobby, Daler-Rowney makes this all-inclusive beginners’ set including everything from the frame, screen, and squeegee to the acrylics and mediums. You will find their reliable screen-printing medium, which is a bit thick compared to its peers but successfully slows drying time, in this kit. Also included is their specialized textile-printing medium, which is formulated to better adhere to fabric. The five basic colors of paint here can be easily expanded with your own acrylic paints.