To ensure I get the most from my time at the college and to expand my skills wherever possible I took advantage of a screen printing induction that was being held in the print room. Surprisingly I was the only one that showed up but decided this was only a good thing, enabling me to ask as many questions and to take as many photos as I wanted.
The introduction talked us through how to strip a screen, making it ready to use for printing.
- To begin with use the mask, gloves and apron provided as the chemicals used may be harmful to your skin.
- Next use the small bucket provided along with a sponge to gather the screen stripping solution and use it to wipe down the screen.
- You should be able to see the emulsion breaking down almost instantly and after 3/4 mins it will be complete.
- Make sure the blue light on the wall is off before turning on the switch of the power hose.
- Use the power hose to wash down the screen
And now your screen is reclaimed and after being left to dry is ready to have your chosen image that you want to print transferred onto it.
Applying Your Image
I chose to use an image of my company logo which I wanted to screen print onto some canvas bags as well as boxes used to sell my products in. The logo itself, which I created through photoshop, is quite simple which I thought was a good place to start whilst I’m still getting used to screen printing.
So I went to the print room with two versions of my image, one large one small, printed off onto some plain paper. The first step was to photocopy the images onto acetate.
Once they were on the acetate it was time to transfer it onto my screen which had already been coated in the chemical solution, needed to burn the image, by the technician. I placed the screen with the acetate laid on top on the self contained exposure unit. It is important to make sure the side of the screen that would face the material intended for printing is facing downwards whilst being exposed.
Then I closed the lid and used the clips to lock it…
And pressed the ‘vacuum’ button to start the process…
You can then see it creates a vacuum around the screen…
And then you just need to wait for the counter to count down to 50.
Once the screen has been exposed it’s important to take it directly to the sink to be rinsed so it’s best to leave it in the exposure unit until the sinks are free to be used.
So when at the sink it needs to be washed down to reveal the image…
Then once it’s nice and dry it’s ready to be used.
Using the Screen to Print
I was really nervous about printing with my screen as I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be, especially getting the image central, luckily with a little bit of measuring I managed to line everything up.
Then I used the squeegee to apply the dye, holding it at an angle as I firmly pulled it towards me and over my screen.
There were some casualties along the way, the longer I was printing for the more dye got everywhere which resulted in one or two smudges but overall it was really successful. I did manage to get into a routine though which meant I achieved a lot (20 bags and 15 boxes) within my allocated time slot.
I feel far more confident now and am eager to try more complicated designs and to experiment with different colours.