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Formula for a Screen Printing Paste

This formula was developed by the Berlin artist Gernot Bubenik in 1990. It allows printmakers to independently produce a low-cost screen printing base. Bound pigments or tempera and gouache inks may be added. Prints can be overprinted after 15 minutes. You can use this paste for screens up to 120 T.


500 ml water
80 g starch
20 ml glyzerine (80%)
5 g gelatine (pulverized)
50-100 ml shellac wax soap
5-10 drops of clove oil
100 ml methylcellulose glue (viscous)

Eva Pietzcker, screen print with self made inks, 70 x 100 cm, 1995


Dissolve the starch in a cup filled with 150 ml of cold water. Pour this into a pot and add 350 ml of cold water. Place it in a bigger pot with boiling water. Stir the heating mixture carefully to produce a thick, translucent liquid. Once the mixture has acquired this consistency, keep stirring for another 5-10 minutes.
Remove the mixture from the water. Pour the glycerine, the gelatine, (previously dissolved in hot water) and 50-100 ml of shellac-wax-soap into it while stirring. Add some drops of clove oil to increase the conservation potential.
When the temperature of the paste is below 60°C, add the warmed methylcellulose glue.
This paste should be stored in the refrigerator. Stir well before use, and add water to obtain the desired consistency.

Shellac Wax Soap

Heat 5 parts (volume) shellac wax (broken up) with 5 parts (volume) of water and one part (volume) Marseille soap until the wax pieces are dissolved and the mixture has acquired a fine creamy consistency. Canauba wax is a useful subsitute for shellac wax and the Marseille soap can be replaced by curd- or olive-oil soap.



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