Silk screen printing may be the oldest and most practical printing technique dating back to ancient times. The history of silk screen printing has been traced back to China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD). This method first appeared in a recognizable form in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD). Japan took hold of the idea to use silk as a mesh, and advanced the process for many years. At this time stencils were cut out of paper and the mesh was woven from human hair. Stiff brushes were used to force ink through the mesh onto the fabric. Due to the scarcity and expense of silk in the rest of the world though, screen printing took a while to find its feet, until more readily available silk mesh was available in the 1700s, and interest in Western Europe began to get established.
In the 17th century silk screens were being used in France as a way of printing onto fabric. Stiff brushes were still being used as a way to push ink through the mesh. It was here that the practice of stretching silk over a frame to support stencils was initiated but it is now known by whom.