ScreenPrinting Basics: How-To

1. Make sure screen is clean & free of emulsion/ink residue
a. If emulsion left over, use a little emulsion remover, scrub around with brush, then take to rinse immediately after. This may take some time depending on how thick the emulsion is and how long it’s been on the screen.
2. Take screen to UV-free room and coat with emulsion
a. Use trough and coat screen evenly with as few sweeps as possible
b. Use a very thin coat to prevent deformities later
c. Place screen on drying rack until completely dry
d. Empty excess emulsion back into emulsion jar (as long as no foreign objects in are in it)
3. Take dry screen w/ emulsion into lightbox room with transparencies (NO UV!)
a. Turn on safety lights to line everything up
b. Place transparencies the way you want the finished product to face (no inverses, etc.)
c. Place screen face-down on top of the transparencies
d. Place foamboard layers and weight layer on top of screen
e. Lower lightbox lid and latch down
f. ‘Cook’ emulsion for 1.5-2 minutes, depending on level of detail of the image
4. Take ‘cooked’ screen to wash station (with light on behind it to see detail better)
a. Wash out image with light-to-medium pressure water (be sure to start light, so you don’t blow out the image)
b. If image will not wash out, the screen was cooked too long and the process must start over.
c. Continue to wash out until screen is completely transparent where the image is. Even tiny bits of residue will result in a bad print.
5. Take finished screen out into the light and set aside (under a fan) to dry completely
6. Get out supplies needed to print: ink, squeegee (big enough to cover entire image plus some), paper, tape, large popsicle sticks
7. Take screen over to work station and screw down clamps to hold screen in place (these allow the screen to swing up and go back down in the same place for multiple prints).
8. Place a sheet of paper down on the table under the screen in the desired spot and tape large popsicle sticks to the table on two sides of the paper (this creates a lip so paper can be quickly placed under the screen)
9. Begin screenprinting!

a. (If symbols for aligning are on the edges of the image, place a piece of clear packing tape in the underside of the screen to prevent these from being printed on your work)
b. Pour desired color ink in a line above the image – use plenty, the excess can be saved
c. Place squeegee in ink (move slightly from side to side to make sure its all coated) in the middle of the ink line (so you pull about 1/3 to ½ of the ink)
d. Tilt squeegee at about a 45 degree angle and pull straight down with a smooth, evenly pressured stroke.
e. Lift screen and scrape the ink you just pulled back to the top of the image with the same 45-degree sweep (just the opposite way)
f. Checkout your print!
g. Set print aside to dry and put in new sheet of paper. Print again!
10. Wash out ink from your screen immediately after finishing with water, this should not damage your image if you use low-to-medium pressure water.
11. If you have mroe than one screen or don’t need to do another image, it is advised you leave the image on the screen until the project is complete. This will save you a lot of time if more prints are needed!
12. It is wise to do anywhere from 15 to 50 prints of the same image at once, as this will save time in the long run (MOST of your prints will not turn out). And remember – do things right the first time, if you get in a hurry and do something incorrectly, it will waste even more time going back to fix it.

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