Hi! You can definitely set it up at home, depending on where you live. I started in my garage.
Screen printing is quite versatile; you can use a small nook, a large art studio or a huge warehouse, depending on your desire and needs.
Your home screen making materials can be stored in a box and you can make a minimal single color press that attaches to a little table in a corner. You can even forgo the press and just place your screen on a table to print.
I’m working on this final tutorial right now. It has turned out to be more involved than the others, but I will post it soon.
Keep it real.
It’s as secure as a U-lock, but it expands to lock your frame and wheel, then folds to fit in your pocket.
On top of that, it’s made in Germany, a country that produces quality products and has adequate labor laws.
I’m in love.
Just discovered this guy last night at the Chillin 14th Anniversary Show at The Mezzanine in SF and (my aesthetically sound lover man) promptly purchased four prints. Beautiful colors, pleasing shapes, rad old photos, all rolled into one. Check it out. velvetjetpack.com
How to burn your screen
You will need:
· An exposure unit and lamp. You can hang a 500 watt hallogen light 16 inches over the floor, make a pvc structure for it, or buy one from silkscreeningsupplies.com
· A yellow safe light - This turns your bathroom into a darkroom. A red safe light is used for developing photos, but emulsion is not as sensitive, so the yellow light is still safe, while enabling better visibility.
· Your dried, coated screen (see the previous tutorials)
· Your completed artwork on transparency (see the previous tutorials, once again)
· A piece of glass large enough to cover your artwork (there should have been one in the the picture frame you bought to make your screen)
· A garden hose and nozzle with the “jet” setting
· Safety glasses
· Ear plugs (optional, you only need these if you have a large, tightly stretched screen and sensitive ears)
· A timer
Gather your materials.
First, you must set up your dark room. I always use my bathroom. If you have a window and it is near a hose spigot, you can feed the garden hose in through the window. If you don’t have a window or the spigot is far away, buy a handy connector to fit your garden hose onto your shower pipe.
Block out any bathroom windows you may have (unless it is night time) and check the darkness by closing the door. It should be very dark. Make sure your hose is on the “jet” setting and that it sprays properly.
Bring in your exposure unit, safe light, safety glasses, ear plugs, piece of glass, artwork and timer. Set everything up in logical places. My set up looks like this.
Turn off the bathroom light and turn on the safe light. You should have romantic lighting now. Grab your coated and dried screen from the cardboard box and run it into the bathroom. It’s okay if the light touches it for a few seconds, just be quick. Place it print side up under the exposure unit so the light is centered. I lift my up on the spacers for air flow.
Place your artwork upside down on the screen. If you have text, it should be backwards. Place the glass over the top to hold it in place. Turn on the exposure light and set your timer right away for the appropriate time. I expose for 13 minutes. This is what is recommended for my unit. Yours may vary.
While your screen is exposing, place a towel on the floor in a room with light, on which to place your final (wet) screen.
When your timer goes off, turn your exposure unit off. The safe light should still be on. Place your screen in your bath tub and spray both sides with the hose then place it print side up. Wait one minute. You should be able to faintly see your design.
Apply your safety glasses and earplugs if you choose. Now spray out the design with the nozzle close to the screen, print side up, following the lines in your design. Leave the screen on the bottom of the tub while you’re spraying to reduce the likelihood of getting soaked. Hold it up to check that you got everything. Work as quickly as possible. Taking too long will cause unwanted sections to come off. When you’re satisfied, remove yourself and the screen to your prepared towel.
You’re finished! Yay! Turning your screen to the squeegee side will show the intended orientation of the design.
Let it dry completely.
The next (and last) tutorial will cover the actual printing process using water based ink.
How to Coat your Screen
You will need:
· Your stretched screen
· A cardboard box large enough to lay your screen flat inside
· Photo sensitive emulsion (you can get this from an art store or screen printing supplier)
· A cereal or cracker box (cut to fit inside your screen’s frame OR a scoop coater (also available from a screen printing supplier) This tutorial uses the cracker box, but a scoop coater can help tremendously in the future.
· Four spacers to hold your screen off the bottom of the box on all four corners (you can use so many things: spray paint can lids, itty bitty paper cups, folded paper, jar lids, etc.)
· Newspaper, unless you would like to permanently stain your floor
Prepare your emulsion according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I have to stir distilled water and the sensitizer in then let it sit for two hours. Plan ahead for the wait time.
Gather your materials.
Place your spacers and uncoated screen in your box to arrange the spacers for later.
Remove the screen and voila! they’re pre-positioned.
Put the remaining items on the newspaper.
Apply some emulsion to the “print side” of the screen.
Use the smooth edge of the cracker box to coat this side.
Repeat with the other side, the emulsion will travel through. Remove any excess. You want to have a thin layer of emulsion, almost translucent without having pin holes, so it will not drip while drying.
There you have it! The print side.
The squeegee side.
Now place it in your box with the print side down.
Depending on your climate, it can take a day or two to dry. If it is no longer sticky to the touch, it is dry!
The next tutorial will cover exposing your screen.