The History Of Screen Printing

15 May 2014

Ever wanted to know how screen printing all began?'ve come to the right blog!

Screen printing is a method of printing onto fabrics where you force ink (or metal) onto a surface through a prepared screen of fine material.  This creates a picture or pattern on your chosen garment.


Screen printing has been around for centuries with its earliest application being found in mediaeval Japan.  It was first used in Europe in the 18th Century, in particular in France. They liked to use screen printing as a method of stencilling patterns onto fabrics and often objects such as shoes.

During the 19th Century screen printing still remained a simple process and it wasn’t until the 20th Century that the process became mechanised.  The process was then used for printing flat posters and fabrics and was even used to print coloured wallpaper.  Screen-printing proved a cheaper method of creating wall paper than the current method that was in place, printing using wooden blocks.

By the 1930s, the potential of screen printing came to the attention of artists. However up until the 1950’s the process was still carried out by hand; making the process fairly laborious.   The large scale of the printing and solid bright colours used made the method perfect for Pop Art. By the 1960s, this included several artists such as Andy Warhol, Joe Tilson and Eduado Paolozzi.


More recently the potential of screen printing has been expanded by utilising fabrics and inks combined with computer technology. This means that you can screen print onto paper, card, wood, glass, plastic and leather.  The introduction of computer technology means that you can print almost any design too!

The following pieces of artists have used screen printing. Please follow the links under the pictures to read more about the artists and their work. Those websites sourced all images below.


marliyn diptych




Marliyn Diptych                                                       1962



Joe Tilson




Stones of Venice, Pomegranate

Joe Tilson

For the full article on Joe Tilson and his work please read the following;



Eduardo Paolozzi




B.A.S.H                                          1971

Eduardo Paolozzi

If you would like to read more about Eduardo Paolozzi’s work please follow the link;



Here at Pulse we love screen printing. If you would like to customise using this wonderful technique, please get in contact and we are always happy to help!