Friday, February 3, 2012

A bit about screen printing

  Scott and I got lucky and were offered the press we have for a song so we jumped on the offer. I had been around a screen printer a few times but we really had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into so I spent the first month literally throwing myself into learning screen printing from the ground up. Things that you see us do may very well be wrong, it is just how we evolved what works for us and we are always more then happy to listen to hints or tips of any kind you may have.

  Now, I do plan to use this blog to do tutorials on the many things we create but screen printing is best not learned from me as I am a beginner at best. I literally have been doing this all of 6 months. I will be more then happy to point you in the right direction if you would like to learn yourself and tell you about mistakes I have made but screen printing is actually quite a lengthy process and each step needs to be it's own tutorial. When I panic I go to youtube and start watching videos. There is more available there then I could ever produce for you done by professionals.

Why I will not draw you then print you on a shirt. This comes up from time to time and it is nothing personal it just tells me most people do not know what all is entailed in creating a single color print.

for me since I am starting with old screens I first have to remove all the old ink
wet the screen
spray it with emulsion stripper
let it sit
scrub on it
power wash it off
degrease it
let it dry
coat the screen with emulsion
let it dry again at least an hour till the screen is dry all the way thru both sides
convert and print images in black and white onto transparency paper
tape images to screen
burn the screen meaning exposing it to bright light, in my case 13 minutes
remove transparencies
power wash screen to remove part of the image where ink will come out
let it dry
tape up all the edges and check for holes or emulsion drop out and tape that up
on a good day all of that still takes me about 4 hours not including material cost for reclaiming and emulsion
then I can start printing 

so all that has to happen way before I get to actually printing

to be fair that would make that a 50 buck tshirt and in my opinion, that is not fair, it would be easier to take the image to cafepress or get yourself a descent printer and some iron on transfer paper. I usually try to only burn screens that I intend to keep around or use quite a few times.