Archives for posts with tag: screen printing

In my last post, I started to describe the screen printing process that I learned in a class I took this winter. In that post, I described how I picked out an idea and transferred it to the screen. Here, I talk about the printing and end result….

As you can see, there are two images on the same screen – you can utilize your screen to maximum capacity, as long as you leave enough room at the edges to press the ink in. I taped over one image while printing the other, and then vice versa. Then I mounted the screen onto the work surface, which has two clamps with hinges, allowing the screen to be lifted up to place paper underneath.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures while I was actually printing, so I’ll just have to describe it. Basically, you put a decent amount of ink at the top of the screen (from this perspective, above the right image), and then use a squeegie to “pull” the ink across the screen. Anywhere that is open (in the image above, anywhere that is white), the ink will go through.

I did several variations of color, one was yellow for the right side image, and blue for the left side image (reversing the whole process: cleaning the screen, taping over the right side, and pulling the ink across the left side). I printed a run of the right side first, then I let them dry, reversed the setup, registered the paper, and did the other.

Here’s the resulting print – I’m pretty happy with it, for a first try.

I had some trouble leaning onto the squeegie while pulling the ink, because of my broken rib, so I’m going to create my own screen printing surface with clamps and try the whole thing again here in my studio. And, as I mentioned in my last post, I made a mistake when initially prepping the screen and I didn’t get all of the polymer out – you can see an imperfection in the top left corner of this image where the yellow doesn’t fill in the corner all the way. In the future, I’ll have to fix that by hand every time I print this – live and learn! That’s what this blog is all about….

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One of my goals this year is to learn new printing techniques, so I signed up for a screen printing class at the Art Students League of Denver, with my friend Theresa Haberkorn. Side note: one ulterior motive was to check out the League and see how it felt to drive to Denver for a class. I love the building and the atmosphere, and the instructor, Mark Friday, was super knowledgeable, clearly a professional. I’ll definitely take a class there again.

Here’s what I ended up doing:

First, In class we “prepped” the screen (wood frame with mesh) by applying a photo-sensitive emulsion. In a dark room, we applied several coats and let it dry. From this point forward, the screen had to be kept “in the dark” (haha) until it was time to expose it.

Then, at home, I created transparencies of the image I wanted to print out. On a road trip last fall, I took this picture of a truck carrying a huge load of pipes. I love it!!

So I altered the picture to give it more contrast (remove detail) using <unpaid plug> Adobe Photoshop products, and then I created another copy of the image and reversed the black and white, to create a negative. I asked Kinkos to print both images onto transparency paper. (If you want to draw, you can also use a Sharpie on the transparency, but I don’t think it works to run transparency paper through most home printers.)

So now I was ready to “expose” the screen. I placed both transparancies onto the screen, and put it under a super strong photo light (500W, I think), for about 20 minutes. Trust me, you didn’t want me to take the picture with the light on – it’s like looking into the sun!

After 20 minutes, the “pink” emulsion that was exposed to the light hardens, and everything underneath the black areas stays unexposed. You have to wash out the unexposed area as soon as possible, and thoroughly – something I didn’t quite achieve, as you’ll see in the finished product.

This is what the screen looks like when it’s done exposing and washed out. All of the white areas will allow ink through, and the pink areas are all blocked. And now the screen can be in full sunlight and it won’t get damaged, in fact I think it can stay this way for years, for future use.

The screen is now ready to be printed! Stay tuned for my next post, where I show you how to screen print (and with a cracked rib no less!)…

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