So you've finally decided to become a screen printer, and screen print your own apparel, cards, signs, or art. The easiest way to begin your journey is to pickup a screen printing kit, which will have more than enough of the tools you will need to start your endeavor.
To begin any project, you will need a design that you will transfer on to the silkscreen. There are a few methods to this approach, and depending on the screen printing kit you purchased, you would either be drawing directly on the silkscreen using a drawing fluid, or you will generate a film positive that will be exposed onto your emulsified silkscreen frame.
Photo emulsion will generate the most detail, and is preferred for intricate detail other than block lettering.
6 Steps to Using a Screen Printing Kit Easily
- Step 1: Take your silkscreen and coat it with photo emulsion. Generally two coats on the printable side, also know as the front, (and the location you apply your film positive), should be enough to give a decent buildup and uniform coverage of your emulsion.
- Step 2: Expose your silkscreen to light in order to harden the emulsion for the printing process. Depending on your light source, light table, you will need to experiment with timings.
- Step 3: Develop your silkscreen. Hopefully you will see a ghost of an image after you have exposed your silkscreen to light, and removed the film positive. You will then you water to remove the emulsion that has your image on it. Try to avoid using too much pressure, and anything abrasive.
- Step 4: Touch up. Once your silkscreen has dried, review your screen and apply sensitized emulsion to those parts that might have some pinholes (where light is coming through) that are not part of your design.
- Step 5: Print. Once your screen is fully dry, and touched up, begin printing. This requires the use of screen printing inks, and a squeegee to evenly apply the ink to your product.
- Step 6: Rinse Repeat. Clean the inks out of your silkscreen and store, or clean the inks out of your silkscreen, reclaim the image, and start over at Step 1.