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Selecting the Right Mesh

(December 1999) posted on Wed Dec 15, 1999

Narrow your options to improve your results

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By Mark Goodridge

Mesh is available in white and a variety of colors. Colored mesh is preferable in the higher mesh counts because the filaments in a white mesh act exactly like fibers in a fiber optic system: tiny "light pipes" that carry light into areas of the screen where you don't want it to go. This light scatter can make it difficult to accurately image a screen with fine details or halftones. Colored mesh, on the other hand, will not transmit wavelengths of light that affect light-sensitive emulsions. I recommend that you always order dyed mesh any time you are pruchasing mesh over 140 threads/in. Dyed mesh with a mesh count of less than 140 threads/in. is not necessary because mesh that coarse does not hold sufficiently fine detail to be affected by light scatter.

Mesh Count

There are well over 400 different meshes sold in the United States. To say that this is overkill is an understatement. A review of literature listing available meshes is likely to result in more confusion than information. There are two ways to solve this problem. You can either spend your Saturday mornings studying all the available information on every mesh and mesh selection procedure, or you can make an arbitrary decision and select a limited number of meshes for further consideration.

I have chosen the second procedure, listing 11 meshes (Table 1) that will handle all the textile screen-printing situations the average screen printer is likely to encounter. Every experienced screen printer glancing over this list will notice that some of his or her favorite meshes were omitted. But the point of this list is to provide a reasonable number of meshes that will work well in the maximum number of situations.


Table. 1 The Eleven Meshes
Nominal                                             Woven                          Thread Diameter
Mesh Count1                                Mesh Count 2                    Diameter
(threads/in)                                    (threads/cm)                         (microns)

380                                                        150                                       31
355                                                        140                                       34
305                                                        120                                       40
280                                                        110                                       40
230                                                          90                                       48
195                                                          77                                       55
140                                                          55                                       64
110                                                          43                                       80
86                                                            34                                      100
74                                                            29                                      120
38                                                            15                                       200

1. This is the actual mesh count for meshes woven in Japan.
2. This is the actual mesh count for meshes woven in Europe.

The Eleven Meshes


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