22 December 2011

How to screen print at home.

So after a few request from my readers and a friend on facebook, here is how i use my screen print kit at home. First off there is no exposing the screen, which would be alot quicker but i can't afford that type of equipment right now. So i bought this system 3 Acrylic screen print and i often buy extra screens off ebay.
this is what comes in the kit, 
1 Screen
Acrylic Printing medium
textile Medium
5 acrylic paints
Screen blocker 
A squeegee
screen drawing fluid
Apron
How to book
You can buy all these separately but as this was on sale & my first time printing at home i wanted to get the kit so i could follow instructions and get it right. I have screen-printed before, I did it whilst on my Fine Art degree at Falmouth you can see the work here and here oh and by no means am I an expert.

So heres the process i go through when screen printing.
I make sure the screen is clean and ready for the screen drawing fluid to be added to the screen. Also make sure there are no holes in the screen.
Please wear an apron, it might get messy.
Now you will need to add the image to the screen this is pretty simple take the drawing fluid, start drawing directly onto the mesh. The best images to use are simple bold images, mines a little detailed but I've use this process before its really a trial and error.  If you do get the kit that I have, it tells you to water down the fluid...Don't! I did this before and it ruined a screen that i spent two days on, because  it was too fine you need it to be thick, be confident with application.
Once you have drawn out your image remember what ever you paint blue will be washed off later and it will be the image you will print. This process can take a while but i love doing it all by hand, this will take about 30 minutes to dry.
Once this has dried you will need to take the Removable Screen Block, i don't actually have a picture of me doing this as it can be very messy, Take a stiff piece of card and spread it across the entirety of the screen.
Now you have to leave the Screen block to dry, depending on the fineness of the mesh this may take 30 minutes to 3 hours. I leave mine in a warm room, DO NOT use a hair dryer yo speed up the drying process this could ruin the screen.
NOW TO WASH OFF THE DRAWING FLUID.
Once your screen block has dried you will need to wash off the drawing fluid that is your image, I do mine in the bath, just use cold water NOT hot because this will get rid of the screen block, also DON'T use any shampoos or soap on the image to wash it, because this also removes the screen block.
Your screen should look like this. The screen block will block out the ink when you go to print it.
Now time for the fun bit.
Now depending if you are printing on fabric or paper use the specific medium as i am printing on fabric i used the textile medium, take what ever colour you have chosen (paint) put a good dollop on a mixing pallet  then put the same amount of medium in as well so 50% paint 50% medium mix together
The paint will just be a normal acrylic paint you add the medium so the paint doesn't dry quickly.
Normally you would lay the line of ink along the top and go downwards, but my squeegee doesn't fit that way so i am going right to left. Put a substantial amount on the screen i use a cotton but for this.
I your not sure just follow the image bellow.
You are now ready to print (remember if you are printing on fabric put some paper under the fabric) take your squeegee and flood the image, this mean cover the image with the ink, do it in one motion you can do this slowly if you want. Once you have flooded the image, i normally run the squeegee across 3-4 times.
I normally double check to see if the ink has covered the entire image. You don't have to use all the ink on the screen. Now slowly take the screen off. You can re-use the ink left on the sides for your next print. You will have to iron the image once its dry to set the image so its ok to wash.
And there you go its pretty simple, but please remember to wash your screen (with cold water) so not to clog up your image so you can re-use it over and over again.
I hope you find this tutorial simple to understand.
Tote bags & Prints will be available to buy later today or tomorrow.
I have added a bit of the music i was listening to whilst printing. Enjoy.

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17 comments

  1. I would love to try this. Maybe one day! I LOVE the finished product :D x

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  2. This takes me back to my uni printing days, well it was only 3 and half years ago. Eek must get back into it, I am a qualified printer and it sucks not having all the facilities to hand as I also used to print devore (burnout) and discharge. I think I have told you this before. Thank you for sharing this. Where did you get your kit from?

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  3. Thank you for posting this, I have been wanting to do this at home for ages, but didn't know of a decent kit. I used to do screen printing at uni and loved it.

    CJW x

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  4. great post ella, thank you! i never knew you could do screen printing without exposing the screen and all that faff, so i'm seriously getting one of the kits you've got! love the tattoo'd man too! hehe xx

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  5. Thanks so much for this. I've always wanted to try it at home as I could never afford the machines we have at uni! Looks wonderful x

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  6. Yay thanks Ella! I have the same kit as you but the screen block actually HATES me! I think I'll power wash my screen at the weekend and give it another go :) x

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  7. Hiya this is great! was wondering if you could tell me where you got your screen print kit from?x

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  8. I love this post, again like the other comments thank you! I used to do this waaay back in college and think I might give it a go again in the new year!

    Lisamello xx

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  9. Great tutorial! I used to love screen printing whilst doing my art foundation and I even bought a screen to use at home. I tended to use my own stencils but had no idea I could do it this way as well! Will have to get back into it!

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  10. Brilliant work, I like to do a bit of screen printing in my spare time.

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  11. Could you tell me where you got your kit from - lovely work and great tutorial.

    Thanks - Annette

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  12. I wish I had read this before I started! I got this kit for christmas and finally got round to trying it out but watered down the fluid so the image didn' come out and now I can get the screen block to wash off, any tips, how do others clean the screen?!
    Jackie

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  13. Hey! I know this post is a couple of years old, but I'd like to say thank you! I was looking for a way to screen print without emulsion when I stumbled upon your post here, and I have to say it helped out so much! AND it's so inspiring.
    Thank you!

    P.s. I love the music :D

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  14. Hi Ella, this is a great post. Makes it seem very doable. I wanted to get a starter kit for xmas and I think I will now! Thanks! Xx

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  15. This is really an awesome work,I must say.For some more good work in t shirts stuff,I must recommend

    http://www.apparelnbags.com/custom-screen-printing.aspx

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  16. This is a really lovely and informative post. I hope it inspires more people to have a go. Have u tried using water based inks for a more ecological approach? That's what I use at my studio.
    Www.annaprints.co.uk

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Thank you for leaving a comment, i read every single one. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask, i will endeavor to answer them in the same comment box. So remember to check back for an answer to your question....
thank you

Ella
x

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