DIY Screenprinting Tutorial

RINSE EXPOSED SCREEN

After exposing the image, you will reveal the stencil by rinsing all with cold water. A detachable shower head with a jet setting will give you the pressure you need, and light rubbing with a toothbrush or pressing the screen with your finger is an acceptable way to get emulsion out of tricky areas if you have over or underexposed the screen. 

If the underside of the screen is soft and sticky, you may have underexposed the screen.  You can re-expose it by letting it sit in a bright area of your house for a day, but you’ll need to rinse off the film that is left behind before printing with the screen.  If the emulsion peels up and falls off the screen, you will have to start over and extend your exposure time the second time around. If your image will not rinse out after 5 minutes, you may have overexposed it.  You can scrub the screen with a soft brush and then clean with dishsoap and warm water to remove. 

Let your screen upside down on blocks to dry.  I like to wait a day before using my screen to give the emulsion a chance to harden and cure. This is probably because I underexpose all my screens in order to compensate for transparencies that are not dark enough! But I digress…

TIME TO PRINT!

There are three types of ink most commonly used in screenprinting.

– Acrylic is inexpensive, widely available and will not wash off your clothes. It cures by drying, and can be heat set with an iron and paper interface for three minutes to smooth out any roughness in the finished print.

– Screenprinting inks are not too much more expensive than medium quality acrylics and contain a fabric medium which helps them bond with fibres. They are more runny, which makes them pass more easily through a tighter mesh than a heavy bodied acrylic would. Do not confuse these with water soluble ink for paper.

-Plastisol is requires mineral spirits to clean, doesn’t dry unless heated, and is therefore not recommended by me for home applications.

Squeegees come in different forms, but the cheap option is the old cassette case, a squeegee like implement which is both disposable and almost always free.

Cover with tape any areas of your screen you do not wish ink to squeeze through, paying attention to borders, corners, & neighbouring images. Scoop a line of ink onto the screen just above your image. Hold your squeegee at a 45 degree angle and pull the ink lightly towards you, spreading it over the image but not applying any more pressure than you need to smooth the ink over the screen. Listen to the sound that makes. Now, holding your squeegee at the same angle, press the ink through the screen as you drag the squeegee along. Notice the difference in sound. Lift your screen up, and voila! You have printed your design. Contact me at epidemic613 hotmail com if you have questions or would like to arrange a printing class in Kingston!