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By moonlady On 04/17/02  

I saw some shirts that had been done using silk screen printing and they looked great . Does anyone know how to do it and do you need any special equipment? thanx

By oldskoolgeek On 04/18/02  

10 Steps to silk screening:

1. First you need to buy a press. A press is fairly cheap, about 20-30 bucks, you can get a simple kit with some textile inks (that would work on fabrics) for about 30-40 bucks. Ink is cheap, about 5 bucks for 8 oz. And the actual screen is about 5 bucks as well.

2. There are several ways to print. You can either cut out a stencil from a simple picture or text and use that to block out the ink. thats the easiest way. The principle of screenprinting is just to find ways to block out ink so that it comes out in a picture or form or whatever you want. I use a techique called photoemulsion -- sounds hard, but its not. you need to buy some photoemulsion and sensitizer, a lamp with a 200W light blub, a black piece of cardboard paper and some patience.

3. First, mix the photoemuslions with the sensitizer in a ratio of 4:1. Then coat the mix onto the back of the press, applying evenly (thats very important, it HAS to be even and thin or else it'll turn out fucked up).

4. then flip the press over and swipe some more and try to get the excess crap off of it.

5. Let it sit for about 3-4 hours to let it completely dry in the dark, no light whatsoever.

6. In the meantime you can print off of your computer the stencil you want onto a clear piece of transparency paper. The way photoemulsion works is this: the green shit that you coat the press with is light sensitive but water soluble. when exposed to light it hardens. So you use a stencil that blocks out the light. This way when you expose the section with a light bulb and your stencil, the parts not covered by the stencil will harden and your stencil part will stay water soluble. So then you can just wash out the exposed emulsion and you have a very detailed stencil ready for multiple ink runnings. Simple!

Back to the lesson

7. After the stuff has dried, tape your stencil down with scotch tape or something and expose it with a light. keep the light about 12" above the press, its different for every person you will have to play with it. Expose it for about 40-45 minutes. After that, take the press to a hose and hose it off , this will take out the exposed emulsion.

(now, here is a trick I learned. If the emulsin doesn't wash out complete don't worry, you can still salvage the project. set the press down on a table and take a small paintbrush, dip it in ink and trace over very carefully the parts of the emulsion that you want to come out [because bleach will remove emulsion]. then take a small piece of toilet paper and run it over the part you put bleach on, if you did it correctly the emulsion will still come out and you will have a perfect stencil!)

8. Now just put your press onto the stand it came with, put some ink at the top, your fabric underneath it and swipe. Voila! You have a shirt or patch or whatever you wanted!

9. After you've done all this, let the ink dry on the fabric and then take an iron on the highest setting and iron both sides of the fabric for about 3-5 minutes, this will set the ink so that it doesn't wash out when you wash it.

10. After all that, you're finally done.

By XoeCraft On 04/18/02  

My boyfriend and I do a lot of screenprinting at home, and it's also what he does at work. Actually, most shirts are silk-screened. I'm just going to add a little bit to what the previous respondent posted.

1) If you're doing a bunch of one thing. (Which is the point of the printing process.) Sometimes your image will start to get screwed up.
a)If there is ink coming through in places
where you don't want ink to come through,
put a piece of masking tape on the
underside of the screen to stop the ink
from coming through.
b)If you're starting to lose parts of your
image, take a piece of masking tape. A big
piece. Rub it on the underside of the
image, and then rip it off. Like a bandaid.
Do it a few times, with a new piece of tape
each time. This should clear up any cloggy
2) Don't screenprint towels. It doesn't work.
3) If you're doing paper, do it fast. 'Cause it
dries quicker.
4) Don't get stressed out about it.
5) Make sure you have plenty of space to hang
your newly printed items.
6) If you're doing more than one color, you'll
need more than one screen. One screen for each
color. And getting everything in registration
can be quite difficult.

That's about it. I would definitely get a kit the first time doing it. Let us know if you have any more questions.


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