Screen printing

Screen printing is essentially when you push ink through a mesh stencil to create a pattern onto a textile.

The process of screen printing

first you have to create your stencil a good programme would be illustrator which is vector based to create you design. then you want to print it onto a transparency. you want to print 1-3 times to create a complete black out or in other words sure its is true black as normally when you print onto a transparency it isn’t true black. you can then stack them together and keep it in place with tape etc. The screen is usually made from a fine mesh material which will be fixed to a wooden frame.

You then haver to cover the screen with emulsion but as evenly as possible to do this you use a squeegee screenor something similar. you then have to flip it over and do it again so you cover both sides and keep spreading till you have a thing layer of emulsion. after you have done that place your finished screen right side up (adding pushpins will serve as little legs) in a cool dark place for a few hours or overnight to let it dry.

once the emulsion has dried you need to place the transparency on the screen and expose the screen to light (to uv light) there are multiple ways to do so. an easy way is to take the screen out the dark room and with the transparency placed on it place under a lamp for 15 minutes. by exposing the image you burn the emulsion covered image is and you will end up with the image clear on the screen. then you need to spray your screen down with cold water from a hose, sink, or shower head and continue spraying it until you can see through your image clearly. Hold the screen up to the light to make sure it looks exactly like your transparency. Let the screen dry. Once it’s dry, cover any exposed parts of the screen (where there is no photo emulsion or your image) with tape.

once all of that is done you can start printing. Lay your shirt out on a flat surface. Stuff a square piece of cardboard inside the shirt underneath the area you want to print on. Lay the screen over the shirt with the design where you want to print it. Pour a small amount of ink horizontally across the top of the screen. Take your squeegee and make one smooth movement down the screen, exerting strong pressure. Run the squeegee up, down, left, and right a couple times to push all the ink through onto the shirt.

one you are finished to make sure the image sticks on the shirt for a long time, put the shirt in the oven on 400 degree for about 30 seconds.

Screen printing ink dries really quick, so as soon as you’re done printing shirts, wash the ink off the screen so you can use it again in the future.

 

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