deth502

screen printing for dummies.

59 posts in this topic

im kinda thinking maybe about looking into screen printing, but i know NOTHING about it.

how about a write up, or even an helpful link, to an idiots guide to it.

im not looking for just HOW to do it, but just more on what it is. what are the "screens" made of? where do you get them? how do you make them? ect...

i kinda get the put down ink, drag it across the screen, transfers to shirt, but its the rest of the process that alludes me.

is there any kind of tutorial that starts from a one color eps or jpeg image, to a screen, to application, to finished shirt?

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Try getting this book. It's like the Industry Bible:

Screen Printing for Fun & Profit. By, Fresner.

You'll never need another book. Also, google: How to Screen Print. You'll get a bunch of Youtube videos.

Where in PA do you live? I'm in NJ.

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thanks for the replies, ill look for that book.

im about smack dab in the middle of the state.

before i posted, i did a brief google search, and the first 2 i skimmed were very different, so i figured id post here for ppl in the know to point me towards the right videos to watch and not get off on the wrong foot.

conquest, the pic you posted has a transparency. ive seen the darkroom method mentioned with photosensitive .... ummm.. stuff, that you expose with transparencys. is this pretty much the standard method everyone uses? if i only have a laser printer and not an ink jet for transparencies, can i just cut a vinyl design and apply it to the screen?

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also, where to buy supplies??  im just looking to try this out right now, for small quantity stuff is any of this available in a local craft type store, like michales or ac moore, and if so, what should i be asking for?

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i use  ink jet transp. but there is also some for laser jet as far as vinyl i some times cut black vinyl and stick it to the transp.

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You want to shop at Screen Printing Supply Stores.

Michaels and A. C. Moore have limited products and they'll cost you an arm and a leg.

A. C. Moore discontinued all there YUDU supplies, but Michaels still has theirs. They'll work on your screens, but again more expensive.

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Inkjet printouts are best for complex registration jobs. Laser vellum warps.

This is the book I SWEAR by. I've read the book by Fresner. Old, outdated, and he's out of business.

It's true it will provide you with the skills, but this one's newer and honestly I have yet to find something Andy doesn't have the answer to.

http://www.squeegeeville.com/products-and-services/screenprinting-today/

Also, Victory Factory is here on the east coast. I think silkscreensupplies is on the west coast.

http://victoryfactory.com/

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thanks for the links, ive already checked a few of them out and im still going through them  :lol:

the reason i mentioned buying locally at a craft store, i do realize it will be more expensive in the long run, but im just thinking bare minimum just for me to try this out and determine the feasibility of me doing it. im thinking just a small piece of screen, and like a cup full of emulsion to do 1 screen, and a small bottle of ink to test the screen, maybe 4-5 shirts nothing big. the rest im sure i could make, or scrounge.

what for ink do you recommend? i see a lot of "water based" inks being listed, as well as plastisol, or plastiink, or something. im a firm believer in nothing "green" ie, waterbased, as it usually never works as good as the product it replaces.

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You might also want to try One Stop in Grand Rapids Mi. They are a little closer to your location. I use them primarily for ink and Squeegees. the hardest part in screen printing is the artwork. if you don't get that right the rest is not going to go well. After you have the ink on the shirt you still need to dry it. Start simple and work your way up. I'm getting the supplies next month to start 4 color process prints. The one thing that I would have done different is I would have gotten at least a 6 color 4 station press instead of the 4 color that I have now.

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sorry missed y our last post.

Yo might want to find a screen printer who is in your area and ask him if you could visit him. You will have a lot more questions after you see this done. I remember that I did.

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i dont think what i have in mind is too hard. ive been wanting to make a few, i even ordered some heat press vinyl to try one, but i think screening would be a lot better.

it is just a copy of benjamin franklins "join or die" block print with a quote from him on it. i already have an eps and have cut it in vinyl, so the artwork shouldnt be a problem.

and, amof, this whole idea came from a comment from the only local screen printer. he made a comment about being swamped and not eing able to keep up, then others, hearing that also, started egging me on. im not totally sold on wanting to do it, but id like to give it a try. so multiple colors is not even an option for me yet.

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Michaels and A.C. Moore use to have a kit by Speedball. You might want to try out their kit. It comes with one screen, ink, emulsion, spot remover, and a squeege.

After you try that you'll know whether you want to continue or not.

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exactly what im looking for!

so, what about the ink part? are the water based ones as good as the plastisol? or would shirts require something completely different?

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I use water based inks for my screenprinting and am very happpy. Of course that is what I started with so can't compare to plastisol. What I do know is that the water based inks will dry out if left on the screen so you need to back flood the screen in between, where as the plastisols don't dry out, so i'm told. You can get small containers of permaset, which is the ink I use, at dickblick.com. You can also use standard vinyl on the underside of a screen for small runs. Cut just like you would a decal, week, apply app tape and then rub, rub, rub onto the shirt side of the screen. Carefully peel off the app tape and you can then screen print. It holds best if you let it set on the screen for a while. I've also been able to reuse them if I wash out my ink with cool water instead of hot. Just thought I'd share, good luck to you in your new venture.

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I use both inks. Waterbase is a little bit of a headache if you ask me. Plastisol is nice going down, but very messy to clean up.

Like helping hands said, the waterbase dries out. You need to put a little Retarder in it. Speedball also sells that.

I think DickBlick.com sells the Retarder too. If you can't find it, buy some Liquid Laxitive from a drug store. I think it's called Glycin.

However, it cost around the same price. I believe Dickblick in in PA BTW.

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ooooook, so....

i was in billtown today cuz i had to pick up some dura-coat, and i stopped in acmoore and mike's while i was there.

spent more than i really wanted to for this initial experiment, but that photo emulsion wasnt cheap. the screen was upsettingly expensive as well. i ended up getting a "starter kit" for $60. included a screen, emulsion, a pos squeegee, and 3 inks. the emulsion separately was $30, as was the screen, so this worked out a little cheaper, and i got what amounted to "free" ink.

the cost of the premade screen was pretty crazy, imo. i found some sheer fabric for about 1% of the cost of the screen ($1.98 for 2'x4', compared to $27.98 for a 10"x14" premade) but i dont know how it will work. this is what we shall inevitably in the future refer to as "mistake #1", but im gonna see what happens.

i think im going to forgo my original idea and try something else. its prob going to be a little harder as it will be 2 colors. yeah, i know, wasnt it like 4 post ago i said i was never going to do more than one color? lol.

i think ill take some pics as i go and post them up here, so you all can get a good laugh at my stupidity, and hopefully, to help anyone else in my shoes starting from knowing pretty much nothing. at least i can probably serve as a good "what not to do" but hopefully ill have some good info in here too.

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so, heres the start to my journey.

2.jpg

the "starter kit", the sheer fabric, the white ink i will probably not be using now, since i changed my mind on what design to use on the way home, and a pack of 4 white shirts i got at walmart on the way home.

well see where this goes from here.

oh, and btw, what will in the future be referer to as "mistake #2", i AM NOT going to prewash these shirts as it says in the directions on the ink. i dont think its going to make that much difference, but i suppose we shall see.

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In some cases I use Speed Ball Ink. I never pre-wash.

Just keep in mind that it does dry in the screen. So, understand what Flooding means.

Place your ink in the back or front of the screen. Then swipe some ink across or toward you leaving ink in the exposed image. Then, place your screen on top of the t-shirts, tilt your squeege a tiny bit, and pull the rest of the ink. Some people put a line of ink in front then Push the ink away from them. Either one works.

I think the best think to do is try it. If you start in the back. Put a line of ink the width of the image in the back. First do a flood stroke to put ink in the image. Then slightly tilt the squeege, Pull the line of ink toward you across the image. Move your squeege on the other side of the ink you just pulled. Now, raise your squeege straight up and down (no tilt), and push the ink back to the other side, but while the screen is still on the t-shirt.

Two more things: One, use a tacky spray to keep the t-shirt down when you lift the screen. If you don't, and you lift the screen, and the ink looks faded on the image you need to put the screen back down and swipe again.

However, if you don't have a tacky spray (not glue from a tube called tacky. it should come in a can, and some craft stores call it, Re-positioning adhesive), when you put the screen back down and swipe again the image will have a ghost look or double image.

Also, with the tacky spray down first, then the t-shirt, and screen, and after the first swipe, if you need another swipe, take a Heat Gun or Hair Dryer on high, and semi dry the ink. Then put your screen down and swipe again.

If you get a Blochie look to the image or a few areas on the image. It's probably due to not doing the Stoke correctly. Remember, Flood the first time. Push or pull the ink with the squeege at a slight tilt. Then straighten the squeege and push the ink the other direction or back to the original spot. So it's Flood, Tilt, and Straighten while pushing or pulling the ink.

The last think, Cure the ink. and most of all, Practice, Practice, Practice.

P.S. Did I mention Practice?

P.S.S. Congratulations, you're now a screen printer.

P.S.S.S. Wal-mart sells little shop lights you can use with a yellow bulb to light your dark room. A Helogen shop light can be used to expose the image. Hang it 18 inches over the screen, and expose for 12.5 minutes. Too long and it'll harden to much. Lay the film (transparency) upside down on the flat side of the screen. If you have a piece of Non-UV glass put it on top of the film that's facing down.

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thanks for the great tips!

didnt know the shirt had to be secured down, that one will probably avert a disaster.

and i was going to buy a heat lamp to expose, never thought of a halogen, i already have that  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

so let me get this straight on the swipes.

1, OFF OF the shirt, pull half the ink to get it into the screen. (the "flood" part)

2. on the shirt, grab the rest of the ink, and in the same direction as the first, tilt and push the ink through the screen down onto the image as your dragging across. (the actual application)

3. still on the shirt, push the ink back across to the starting position to ready for the next one, and keep the screen wet so it dosent dry out. (the straighten part)

on holding the shirt down, i saw some presses where the shirt is stretched tight across a mounting board. is this for the same purpose as the tack spray, or in addition to it?

havent gotten to anything yet, and its going to be a busy weekend, but im anxious to at least get the emulsion down so my screens ready for the art.

im not getting too psyched about these first ones working, as i havent done the "practice" part yet, and i notice my art is larger than the included screen, so im going to try the other material on the trial run. im looking at this as a dry run practice. if it works, great, but if not, since im not expecting it to turn out well, it wont sour me on the whole process just yet  :thumbsup:

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Here are a few videos of me printing flatstock (paper).

In this video you can see the overall stroke/flood pattern. I pull a print, then lift the screen and flood back. Remove the media and begin again.

In this second one you can clearly see after pulling a print and lifting the screen, how the ink fills the open mesh. It also shows the "off-contact" which is a few pieces of cardboard taped to the front of the screen. When you put your screen down, you do not want the mesh to touch the paper (or shirt) until you pull the squeegee. If it does, you will get a blurred print.

I hope this helps. Youtube is your friend when it comes to learning how to screen print. Seeing the way different people work can teach you a lot of tricks.

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Hi, I am pretty new also, but for the money you can't go wrong on the class at Vastex with Doug Grigar. I don't know how far from Allentown you are, but it is very good class. I wish Doug issued diploma's it would be cool out in the shop! I would not recommend spending money on the stuff from a.c.mores or michelles save and get better start up equipment.

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