The art of screen printing has undoubtedly stood the test of time. Screen printing has been timeless, from the ancient intricately painted and inscribed hieroglyphics to the funkiest graphic tees trending worldwide today. This art form has spanned across cultures, countries, and centuries and still has a firm grip on the world. However, this art form was only done by a specific group of professionals for the longest time. In this generation, that has become history as well.
In today’s world, anyone can do screen printing with quite ease! One needs a bit of determination, some essential supplies that are very much accessible, and a splash of creativity to start with screen printing. Anyone would be able to create their very own unique and exciting prints from the comfort of their own house. Why not get to know how to embark on this creative journey? This article will be a guide to take you through the entire process of screen printing.
What Are The Essentials You Need For Screen Printing?
For any artistic pursuit, supplies are necessary. It is no different for screen printing. There are certain supplies one needs to be ready with before one initiates their creative endeavor. However, before purchasing what you need, always ensure you acquire the materials from a reputed screen printing supply store. This way, you would rest assured that the materials are of good quality, and hence the quality of your work would be automatically enhanced.
Here are a few necessities for screen printing:
- Screen printing frame: This item is a simple frame or stands made of wood or metal to hold the screen. The frame has a mesh screen stretched across it. Always consider buying a frame that is sturdy enough and durable.
- Screen printing ink: Not all inks would work in the screen printing process. Specific ink quality is required, and readily available at the screen printing supply stores. Moreover, one must select the type of screen printing ink that suits their work.
- A squeegee: When the prints are being done, a small tool pushes the ink through the mesh screen onto the canvas the person is working on. This item is called a squeegee. This tool is essential no matter which kind of screen printing a person does.
- An emulsion: To form the design, a stencil is required. The emulsion is used to make the stencil. It is a liquid that hardens very fast when exposed to light.
- A light source: A light source is required to harden the emulsion so to create the stencil 500-watt halogen bulb would work perfectly.
- Transparency film: This is a transparent film you’ll use to print your design.
- Water: After exposing the screen, it must be washed with water.
How Do You Make The Screen For Screen Printing?
The very first step in screen printing is making the screen. How can you screen print without a screen?
Here are a few easy steps to create the screen for printing:
- Choose the screen printing frame on which you would be working. Select a frame according to the dimensions of the pattern or design you would be creating.
- Cover the screen with the emulsion. The squeegee can be used, and it is essential that the screen is coated with the emulsion and that the entire layer is very even. More than one layer is required at times.
- The emulsion is to be dried completely. Keep the screen in the darkroom to set it to dry. A light-blocking sheet can also be used for this purpose.
- The screen must be exposed to light after the emulsion dries in the dark. Place your design on transparency film, and then place the film on top of the dried emulsion-covered screen. The time taken by this process depends on some factors, like the kind of emulsion used and the strength of the light source.
- As a final step, the screen needs to be washed. It often happens that some unhardened emulsion remains on the screen. That needs to be washed off before you start printing.
How To Print With The DIY Screen Printing Kit
The last two paragraphs comprehensively explained how one would create a DIY kit to start their journey in screen printing. Now for the fun part! The following points will explain how to print using the screen and frame. Time to start printing!
- The fabric or canvas you want to get the print must be placed on a flat surface. Anything like cloth, shirt, t-shirt, paper, or even cardboard, can be used to get the print.
- The screen should be placed precisely where you want the print on the cloth or paper. It is always easier to align it in the center, and the print looks more precise.
- Add the ink at the top of the screen, then use the squeegee to spread it evenly. The whole point can become messy if the layer of ink is not even. Pull the squeegee over the screen while holding it at a 45-degree angle to force ink through the mesh onto the cloth or paper below. Apply enough pressure to guarantee that the ink is distributed evenly.
- Very carefully lift the screen. This way, it avoids any mess or spill to keep the print intact. Once the screen is lifted, you will be revealed and able to see how good it looks!
- Always wash off the screen with clean water before going for the next set of prints. This is essential so that the color of the old print does not get transferred to the new one.
Self-made screen printing is a talent that takes time to master. Each stage demands close attention to detail, from selecting the appropriate screen mesh size to establishing the proper ink consistency. But with time and effort, you’ll soon produce your creations with screen printing.
The whole art form needs patience to get a hold of. The greatest thing, though? DIY screen printing is adaptable and may be used in various materials, including paper and cloth. You may print your designs on tote bags or tea towels, create bespoke T-shirts for your band or sports team, or create posters for your upcoming event.
Hence, DIY screen printing is a fun and gratifying method to make your unique graphics, whether you’re an experienced artist or just searching for a new pastime. You’ll be astounded by what you can make with patience. Now go ahead, get going, and let your imagination soar!