In this paper we present the design and test of printed strain sensors, which can be integrated in light-weight structures for monitoring purposes. We focus on composite structures consisting of metal substrate as well as insulating and conductive ink layers for sensing normal strain at the surface. Both, inkjet and screen printing technology are used to realize resistive topologies that can be evaluated using a Wheatstone bridge configuration. In a first step, we analyze electrical properties of functional inks: electrical impedance and breakdown electrical field strength in case of insulation inks, resistance in case of conducting inks. Silver and PEDOT:PSS based suspensions are printed as sensing layer. To determine the resistance change due to plastic deformation of the metal substrate, tensile tests are performed up to 30% strain and subsequent resistance change is measured. In a second step, the sensing effect of printed conductive structures is investigated. Resistive sensing topologies are designed for detecting longitudinal and transversal normal strain. Meander structures, which form single resistors as well as bridge configurations, are printed on test specimens and analyzed in a four-point bending set up. Performing loading and unloading cycles, gauge factor, cross sensitivity, nonlinearity and hysteresis error of the sensors are measured.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.