The first three weeks into my major project I took part in some printing workshops at University (yup there is a lot more to printing than just obvious click print on your computer screen and something comes out!)
I’ve always been interested in the age old technique of Screen Printing but have never had the opportunity until now to learn about the processes or the tools and materials needed for production. I always said to myself (even before my creative path days) that I would school myself in the art. Easier said than done!
I’ll take you through the process I learnt anyways:
First off I had design an image to go on a T-shirt (When designing I use photoshop mainly as I’m comfortable with the tools and interface). The design is used initially to be exposed onto a screen for screen printing. I wish I had taken images of my exposed screen to show you but I never… Sorry! Important note though anything designed to be exposed on to a screen has to be in BLACK&WHITE and is best being printed onto acetate or tracing paper for the best results.
A lot of printers won’t print onto acetate any bigger than A4 these days just due to the fact that it messes up mechanics on their larger format printers which I imagine is costly! So for bigger stuff, trace paper is probably your best bet.
So you know that you’ll need an exposed screen of your design (example above).
You’ll also need:
- Screen printing ink (emulsion or acrylic are two that I know of).
- Sensitiser gel to mix with the ink
- A squeegee
- Spoon or spatula
- Hose (to clean the screen)
I found a decent little video on you tube that explains the process pretty well:
I used the same screen to print two colours. Usually it is not advised and in industry two screens would be used, which leads me to another point:
The more colours there are Increases printing costs.
Just bear that in mind.