- Mrs. Lollipop
- 9 years ago
- Wedding: September 2007 - The PPG Aquarium at the Pittsburgh Zoo
Screen-printing is one of my absolute favorite hobbies. I think I’veburned close to 100 screens in the last two years alone. It’s a littlecheaper than buying a print Gocco, and you’ll be able to print in alarger format. You’ll just need to buy a screen, some photo emulsion, asqueegee, and print out a transparency of what you want to print. In all, it will set you back about $40 if you order from Dick Blick.
First, you’re going to prepare your screen. I used a Speedball kitand squeegeed a thin layer of emulsion onto my screen, covering bothsides evenly. We have a completely dark room under our porch where Ileave most of my screens overnight. We seal it up during to winter tosave money on heating costs, so I left my screens in a large cardboardbox. I elevated the corners of the screen slightly with tiles forcirculation, and covered the whole box with a black cloth. From thispoint on, you’ll want to expose the screen to as little light aspossible until you make your exposure.
Once the screen was dry (~18 hours later) I used the same box to help make an exposure.
First, keeping the lights as low as possible, I removed the tiles andchecked to make sure the screen was dry. Next, I arranged thetransparencies of the images I wanted to print on the screen. Then Ioverlaid the transparencies with a piece of glass from a picture frameto keep the film settled and flush against the screen fabric. I coveredall of this with an opaque piece of vinyl and closed the box.
I very gingerly carried the box with the screen inside to a sunnyspot of the yard. I then opened the box and uncovered the screen andtransparencies, exposing them to sunlight. I waited about 10 secondsand then turned the box a quarter turn to eliminate the shadow theglass edges cast. I waited five more seconds and then coveredeverything back up.
I took the box to a shady part of the yard and turned on the hose.Moving quickly, I grabbed the screen, threw off the transparencies andimmediately soaked the screen on both sides with the hose. This willset your images and you won’t have to worry about overexposing thescreen anymore. If your exposure was successful, you’ll see a slightshadow corresponding with your transparencies.
Now blast the screen with the hose at the highest pressure possible.You’ll start to see the bits of the unexposed emulsion wash away. Ifyou put the emulsion on thickly, this might take some time, but a closeup blast of the hose will usually take care of it. The picture aboveshows an area with most of the unexposed emulsion removed, but with afew light green bits left behind. This part of the process is likely toget you pretty wet, so wait for a warm day.
Hold your screen up to the light to see if you completely washedaway the areas you want to print. Once the screen reaches yoursatisfaction, wipe it off gently and let it dry. Use the screen as soonas possible because a screen that gets too dry will be difficult toclean and reset for the next set of images.
Tomorrow, I’ll post about some simple, multi-color printing techniques.
If you live in Pittsburgh and don’t want to bother with photo emulsion or buying your own equipment, try visiting AIRon Tuesdays during open studio. There are a lot of helpful people andlots of studio space. It’s a good way to pick up new techniques and getstarted. It only costs $5 for a screen and you get free access to theexposure unit and studio space.
Are there any screen printers out there? Share your techniques for creating screens with the hive!
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