Sign up for the newsletter and immediately receive a 5% discount coupon

The iconic screen printing tool: the squeegee

squeegee for screen printing

An indispensable screenprinting tool that all screen printers know how to use in many creative ways. Here we explain how to choose one and what their different characteristics are.

  • In this article:
  • What does a screenprinting squeegee consist of?
  • How to choose the correct size of screen printing squeegee
  • Screenprinting squeegees: is a wooden or aluminium handle best?
  • The blade: what is it and how do you choose the right one?
  • The blade: how to choose the correct shape
  • Final tips

If somebody asked us to name the one absolutely indispensable tool for screen printing, there could only be one answer: the squeegee.
The screen printing squeegee is the tool that enables you to apply ink to the screen, and therefore to print.

The squeegee is absolutely indispensable. All other pieces of equipment, even screens, can be replaced with something that, whilst not entirely professional, can certainly do the job.

The process of applying the ink needs to be done in a particular way and using certain tools.

First of all, let’s get a few things straight right away:

– a squeegee is not a scoop coater. A scoop coater is something else, it’s used to apply emulsion to a stretched screen.

– a squeegee is not a scraper. Scrapers are used for mixing the ink inside the pot, for pouring it onto the screen and for cleaning the screen.

What does a screenprinting squeegee consist of?

There are two components that make up a screen printing squeegee: a handle and a blade (i.e. the rubber part).

If you wish you can actually make your own squeegee: you’ll have to buy the handle in one metre lengths and the blade in rolls of one or more metres, in so doing you can make your own squeegee to the size that you require for the screen you’re using.

However, to make things easier, pre-made squeegees are also available in a range of standard sizes.

How to choose the correct size of screen printing squeegee

The squeegee must be able to slide within the frame of the screen, so it must be smaller than the internal dimensions of the frame. So, before choosing your squeegee, you must first know the exact measurements of your screen!

It’s also important to remember that the squeegee must be approximately 1 or 2 cm (on either side) larger than the design you’re printing.

Screen-printing squeegees: is a wooden or aluminium handle best?

Handle typeAdvantagesDisadvantages
Woodthe squeegee is cheaperthe blade cannot be replaced
the squeegee may go out of shape
Aluminiumthe blade can be replacedthe squeegee is more expensive

The blade: what is it and how do you choose the right one?

The unit of measure for a blade’s hardness is the shore, and it’s important to choose the correct hardness depending on the thread count of the mesh you’re using.

Choose your perfect squeegee: pre-made or to be assembled

The blade: how to choose the correct shape

There are three different types of squeegee blade, they differ according to the shape of their edge: square (straight), round (bull nose) or bevelled (V-shaped).

(photos of different edge shapes)

the straight edge is the most commonly used, this is particularly useful for ensuring the ink passes through the screen without any “smearing”.

the round edge is perfect for allowing a significant quantity of ink to pass through the screen, it’s particularly suitable for printing large, uncomplicated designs.

the bevelled edge is commonly employed when the squeegee is used in conjunction with a printing machine that doesn’t allow any inclination of the squeegee.

  • Final tips:
  • choose the squeegee size on the basis of the size of the screen and, more importantly, the size of your design
  • choose the handle type on the basis of how much the squeegee will be used: a wooden squeegee is cheaper but doesn’t last as long, aluminium is more expensive but lasts a long time
  • the standard blade hardness is 75 shore
  • the most commonly used type is the straight edge blade

Do you have a curiosity or a question to ask us?

Write here

Is it possible to mix screen printing inks to obtain a particular colour?-Yes, it’s possible to mix different inks to...

Not just financially, but also from an environmental standpoint, here’s a rundown of all the areas where waste can occur...

I’ve encountered a problem with the white Modatex ink: the colour cracks when the garment is washed. The only potential...

Using film isn't the only solution in screen printing. It’s also possible to achieve good results with stencils. Here are...

I purchased some white Plastisol screen printing ink, in the description it says it’s ready to use, so it shouldn’t...

Would you like…

Today we are not going to talk about screen printing in the strict sense, but on an issue that affects...

Screen printing is far more than just frames, inks and presses. Here we’ve provided a list of accessories that we...

I recently bought a screen printing frame from you which, until now, has been used in a university laboratory.  It’s...

I’d like to start a small screen printing business, I’m young and don't have much money (alas!), could you please...