Okay so you have an idea and want to print it all over the place. Here’s a lil help getting started.
Screen Printing Tutorial
Below are step-by-step instructions for 2 popular methods used to prepare a screen for screen printing–Drawing Fluid/Screen Filler Method and the Water Based Emulsion Method.
MATERIALS 10″ × 14″ Wooden Screen 9″ Plastic Squeegee Fabric Screen Printing Inks Screen Filler, 4 oz Drawing Fluid, 4 oz Photo Emulsion, 4 oz Photo Emulsion Remover, 4 oz Sensitizer, 0.5 g #6 Round Brush Mixing Sticks Iron
DRAWING FLUID/SCREEN FILLER METHOD
Step 1 on a sheet of plain paper, make up the illustrations or message you wish to print with your screen. Place this layout on a table top or other flat surface. Place your screen over this layout, top side up. Trace your design directly on the screen with a soft lead pencil.
Step 2 Select an appropriate brush. This will be determined by the type of line or texture that you want to be produced. You can work using either side of the screen. Remember that your printing will be done from the top (or “ink-fill”) side of the screen.
Step 3 Be certain that the screen is elevated–not touching the table. Paint the Drawing Fluid over those areas of your layout that you want to print. Leave the screen to dry in a level, flat position. Make sure nothing touches the areas covered with Drawing Fluid.
Step 4 After the drawing fluid is completely dry, open the screen filler and mix it thoroughly to a smooth consistency. Spoon it onto the screen fabric on the same side of the screen used for the application of Drawing Fluid. Use the squeegee or the plastic spreader to apply an evenly smooth coating over the entire screen. One pass over the screen should be sufficient. Multiple passes of screen filler will dissolve the Drawing Fluid and prevent character (image) washout.
Step 5 Again, put the screen to dry in a horizontal position making sure nothing touches the fabric. It is important that the Screen Filler dry completely.
Step 6 When the Screen Filler has dried thoroughly, spray cold water on both sides of the screen. Concentrate the spray on the areas where Drawing Fluid was applied. These areas will dissolve and the screen will become open at those points so that ink can flow through them.
Step 7 If some areas remain slightly blocked, scrub them lightly with a small stiff brush on both sides of the screen (an old toothbrush will do a good job). DO NOT USE HOT WATER DURING THIS STAGE. Allow your screen to dry in a level (horizontal) position, bottom-side up. Drying time may be accelerated by using a hair dryer or fan.
MAKING PRINTS: PRINTING WITH TEXTILE INKS
NOTE: When screen printing on fabrics, use only fabrics that can be subjected to temperatures of at least 275-375 degrees Farentheit. Do not use on nonporous fabrics such as nylon. Pre-test all fabrics. Fabrics with sizing must be washed prior to printing. This will assure proper adhesion of the textile ink to the fabric.
The screen frame is usually detached from the base and used by itself. Usually two people should work on the printing process-one holding the screen frame tightly against the fabric, and the other doing the printing. On articles like T-shirts, a piece of cardboard or paper must be put inside each garment to act as a barrier. This guarantees only one thickness of material will be printed by the ink.
Step 8 To transparentize or to improve the lubricity (slipperiness) of the ink, you may add the Transparent Base. To slow drying or to prevent screen clogging, add the Retarder Base.
Step 9 Wash-up of screens and tools must be done immediately after use. If they are allowed to dry on your screen or tools, they are difficult or impossible to remove. After the textile ink dries on the fabric, set a household iron at the highest heat that will not scorch the fabric and with a cloth or paper between the iron and printed material, iron on each side for 3 to 5 minutes. This will make the ink withstand repeated washings.
Step 10 Multi-color signs can be achieved easily by making one screen with the entire message on it. Prepare the screen by any method you prefer.
Once the screen is ready, simply block the words you do not want to print with your first color by putting masking tape or paper on the bottom side of the screen fabric.After you have made your first run of prints, wash the ink from the screen and let it dry. Follow this by blocking out the words you just printed and unblocking words you want to print with your second run of color. After you have made this second run, again wash the screen and let it dry.
NOW YOU’VE MADE YOUR OWN SCREEN PRINTED TEES! GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN!