Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner

1104 posts

Comments - Embrace Photo Silkscreen Printing for under $75!

Richard May on May 15, 2011:

Silkscreening changes very little from the process used by the amatuer enthusiast to that employed by the professional printer. This inexpensive do-it-yourself project is therefore a good introduction to the intracacies of professional silk screen printing.


Selvage on Apr 11, 2010:

Where can I buy the screen and does the basic Dye work instead of ink? for example, self mixed tie Dyes?


blue feather on Feb 24, 2010:

I have been doing home silkscreening for years and I would recommend sunlight for exposing the screen. its cheaper and uses less energy!


The steps


1)in a dark room tape your transparency (i do a double transparency layer to block light) on a sheet of glass or plexi-glass and then put the glass onto the screen so the glass holds the transparency onto your screen so it doesn't come up (make sure the image is facing the right way for printing)


2) put a dark surface on the underside of the screen to prevent light from bouncing off the ground and hitting the under side of the screen (i use an old canvas covered in black poster board, you can use cardboard & dark fabric, whatever- as long as it covers the back of the screen)


3) put a towel over the top of the screen so light doesn't get to it while you are carrying it outside. 


4) so outside, take towel off top and expose for 2-3 min (we live at 5200 ft, so it might be longer at sea level)...i sometime I set screen ensemble on the sidewalk, if the glass holding the transparency is smaller than screen, sometimes I hold facing the screen at the sun, knowing where my fingers were will cause holes i will have to patch later)


5) recover with towel, so that if the transparency moves on your way back inside it won't effect your imagine. 


6) carefully and quickly remove the glass (i just turn frame over on a table to get it out) and then rinse with warm water as indicated above...


once you start doing sunlight exposures its great!!! its very easy and quick..just have to live somewhere with frequent enough sunlight :)


Ann E. on Dec 05, 2009:

Spending $75 is way too much to get started.  I teach a class called Impromptu Screenprinting where your initial investment is about $10, if that much.  You won't make hundreds of imprints with this method but who wants to make hundreds anyway!  


Looks like I need to make a tutorial......


UpStateSCSilkScreen on Feb 11, 2008:

One of the best ways to stop pin holes from messing up your shirts is to tape the whole screen up on the botton side around the image with 3" paper tape .. pin holes can pop up at any time .. this will prevent ink from getting on the printed work ...  also if you see small pin holes around the emage after you've burned the image you can use finger nail polish to stop up the holes in your screen  this works great .. We use Red finger nail polish because it's easler to see .. We don't reclaim our screens we just tare them out, save the frames and put new mesh in ..   One more little hint .. Try pushing the screen across the image instead of pulling it .. its less work on the fingers .. use your thumbs to push the squeeage  its a more natual feel ..   try scooping the ink taking it over the print then push the squeeage across the image the print looks way more cleaner  ..  one more hint .. White ink is very thick push your squeeage across your print twice .. Once youve printed your image on your shirt dry the print then print it again it makes the print look better on darker items .. I know a lot of people may already know this  but i was trying to help the first time people more .. I know it was hard to get help when i first started out ..


Chris Gardner on Nov 24, 2007:

Just go to a copy shop and ask them to copy your art onto an overhead transparency. You can also print at home if you have a laser printer and the appropriate sheets.

The problem with this method is, of course, your art can only be 8 1/2 x 11. To get it bigger, you could take your art and screen to a screenprinting shop and ask them to blow it up and expose it for you. 


KidDestrukt on Nov 23, 2007:

how do i photocopy onto acetate?


shalanah on Sep 28, 2007:

I've just done a test strip of my first photo emulsion in a long time... i'm having difficulties with the emulsion though.  when i hold my finished screen up to the light small holes appear in the hard (suppose to be resist areas) emulsion.  i'm not sure if this is due to my squeegee technique or if i used too warm of water to wash.  do you have any tips on applying emulsion to the screen?  when do you know you have a good coat?


Chris Gardner on Apr 01, 2007:

None of the literature I read made the distinction. Mine was blue- 48,000 Kelvin, but I wouldn't go out an buy a blue one if you already have a white one. The high wattage matters most. Cheers.


blisskitty on Mar 31, 2007:

is there a preference between the blue or white photo flood bulb for exposing the screens?


TheHomeWorksCo on Mar 16, 2007:

If you plan to use the screen again, make sure you wash out the screen AS SOON AS YOU ARE DONE WITH IT! I used to do this in school and had no problems getting the emulsion out of my screen (I don't know if the cleaning chemicals were stronger or what) But if I let my screen sit out in the garage for a while with emulsion still on it, that stuff never comes out again.


el_wombato on Mar 15, 2007:

I'm too lazy to type up the steps myself, but this guide should explain how to create a halftone bitmap - just ignore the stuff about multiple screens.

Be aware that the halftone dots have to be fairly large, so don't expect a lot of detail to survive.


badbadivy on Mar 15, 2007:

Wow, Chris. I swear, man, you are constantly posting things I really want to know! Thank you!!


bruno on Mar 15, 2007:

Awesome walk-through. Thanks Chris! Now if I could just find the time to use the screen that has been sitting in my garage for two years...


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