How to Make Your Own Hand-Drawn Screens for Screen Printing on Clay

An Easy Way to Make Custom Screens in your Home Studio

screen printing on clay

Making custom screens for printing on clay can be a little daunting if you are new to the world of screen printing. But, it is actually fairly accessible once you know the materials you need and how to use them.

In this video, an excerpt from his full-length video Screen Printing on Clay, Paul Andrew Wandless demonstrates how to use screen block and screen filler to make hand-drawn silk screens for printing on clay. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

screen printing on clayThis clip was excerpted from Screen Printing on Clay with Paul Andrew Wandless which is available in the Ceramic Arts Network Shop!

Five Great Decorating Techniques

Make surfaces that stand out when you download this freebie, Five Great Decorating Techniques.

Need to screen print onto a round form? Check out this tip from the CAN archives!

By screen-printing the glaze onto upholstery foam, and then quickly pressing bisqueware down onto it, the pot will absorb the wet glaze. Using your hands under the foam to wrap and press it up against the pot all the way around, you can pattern the entire surface of the pot, with only a single seam. By planning ahead, and selecting patterns that were not overly geometric, you can also have even the seam disappear.

Foam is capable of stretching around curves without wrinkling or folding, reaching into shallow recesses, and carrying the volume necessary for glaze development. Unlike transfer paper, used with stains and oxides, foam can work with glaze! Transfer paper, which is often recommended for screen-printing onto pottery, can only absorb small amounts of colorants, and so is useful only for concentrated oxides or stains, rather than the volume of coating that glaze development requires. Also, transfer paper can’t conform to a round shape.

Using foam to screen print onto round pots is actually an easy process. This technique could work very well with sculpture too! Happy screening onto your work!

Have you tried screen printing on clay before? If so, tell us about your experience with making custom screens in the comments below!

**First published in 2012.
  • David D.

    Can you provide any specifics on the upholstery foam – there are various thicknesses and firm, soft, etc. options. What have you found most successful?

  • Susan K.

    In reference to the question from reader “AM”, as to how to screen onto round pots or hump molded clay, have a look at the feature I submitted in CM Daily from May 5, 2008
    “From Flat to Round: Screen Printing Glaze Patterns onto Pottery” That should give you all you need to know! Susan Kotulak

  • Where can I purchase a silk screen like Paul’s? I like the fact that I could re-screen it so easily. Thank you.

  • Great video, one of the best I’ve seen on CAD. I assume the screens and drawing and masking fluids can be bought at art supply stores? One thing I ALWAYS want to see in a video: the end product! I realize lots more is covered in the video, of course, but I am always curious about how pieces ultimately come out. Also, would it be possible to use the screen without the frame, such as around a cylinder or over a hump mold? Thanks for consistently good videos!

  • Paul, I saw a demo you did at N.C.E.C.A. in Phoenix. Since then we have been doing traditional screen burning and printing in underglazes in the classroom. Question; when we tried to use slip for this process, it over-expressed through the screen, making blotchy images. Is there something specific I can do with slip to make it more functional for this use?


  • Thanks for the nice comments! I really hope this video is helpful with introducing you to some basic ways to use screen printing to put images or designs on the surfaces of your work. I tried to cover things with a straight-forward, fundamental approach of presenting the information. My hope is by the end of the video, you can explore and experiment on your own and adapt what is demonstrated to the way you like to work. As with anything, there are all kinds of variations to a technique and I hope you explore them all once you see them in their introductory forms in the video.

    Paul Andrew Wandless

  • Karen C.

    I assume all of the above questions and more are answered in the video. He has a clear voice and good presentation. The video taping, while broken to shorten, seems to follows in a smooth process. I will order it and reserve final judgment untill I view the finished product.

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