Which Emulsion to use? - Screen Print Direct

One of the most frustrating things when you start printing is emulsions, there are so many! How are you supposed to know which one is best?

You have no idea how many people contact us and say I need to buy more emulsion. Cool, not a problem which one do you normally use? We like to know the previous emulsion you worked so we have a starting point and can suggest something you will be comfortable with. Guess what they say next “I use the blue one,” “pink,” “I need the purple one.” Oh ok awesome... in all honesty the color of the emulsion does very little to help us help you! 

What matters when it comes down to it is the different types of emulsion, not the color. The most popular types of emulsions you will come across are Diazo and Pre sensitized.

So which emulsion is right for you? Ask yourself a few questions to get started.

1. What you are printing, textiles or graphics?

2. What type of exposure unit are you using?

3. What inks do you plan to printing with, plastisol or water based?

Well look below and see which one checks most of the boxes on your list.


  • Two part meaning you will mix diazo into your emulsion
  • Has a much shorter life span
  • A bit more user friendly (forgiving if you under/ over expose)
  • Will generally be much more water resistant than pre sensitized
  • Can be purchased for a bit cheaper than pre sensitized

Pre Sensitized

  • No need to mix diazo
  • Has a very long life span
  • Not very water resistant compared to a diazo based emulsion
  • Very sensitive (not recommended for units without timers)
  • Costs a little more than your 2 part diazo emulsions.

Let's Talk 

Remember, we are here to help! Drop a comment below or email our support team at info@screenprintdirect.com 






Personally. For beginners, I recommend jacquard photo emulsion. You got to mix it yourself but it’s easy to use, can be exposed with sun, and is low quantity/price. So you won’t go bankrupt using it and can always change to a different emulsion w/o worrying about wasting a lot.

Kim Frey

Kim Frey

Did you ever get an answer to this?? I’d like to know too.

Kaila Green

Kaila Green

Hello! I am slowly making the switch to screen printing from vinyls. I plan to use an exposure unit in the future but for now I’d like to start out with just sun exposure. I have a mix of multiple screens, mostly 110 & 120 though that I would be using. I’ll be starting out with water based inks. What would you suggest as far as emulsion?

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