As some of you have been wondering, the screenprinting evening last week went very well! Three women came over to learn how to apply the emulsion to the screen. We set up my tiny little bathroom as a dark room with trash bags over the window and the provided dark room light in the light fixture. It wasn’t a 100% light safe environment so next time I think I will stock up on heavier trash bags (or wait until we move at the end of June and can create a more permanent dark room set up).
Of course, I forgot to take photos of the fun evening because we were all so focused on screenprinting (and chatting and drinking wine)! Instead, I’ve taken photos of the actual printing process for you to look at instead :).
The screen required four hours of drying time after applying the emulsion so everyone went home and I set the alarm for the wee hours of Saturday morning so I could wake up before it became light out to pack the dry screen away in it’s trash bag.
After getting the screen ready to expose, the next step in the printing process was to create a “positive” of the eventual print on clear transfer paper. This held me up for a while because the transfer paper provided is for ink jet printers and we only have a laser printer in the Thread Theory studio. My parents have an ink jet but I kept forgetting one element or another each time I went to their place to print the transfer! I ended up just printing it on our laser printer which lead to okay results. I think the text would have been darker (and would have exposed better on the screen) if I had used the correct printer.
Last night I exposed the screen which was actually one of the easiest steps. I waited until it got dark and made my kitchen into a semi dark room by putting down all the blinds and installing the dark room light in here rather than the bathroom. The kit comes with a 500W bulb that installs onto the press so that the screen can be placed directly under it to expose. Easy peasy! My text didn’t end up perfectly clear of emulsion but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out based on all the iffy circumstances the screen had to go through (thin trash bag protection from light, not-very-dark dark rooms, time between applying the emulsion and exposing it…etc.).
This morning I made my first prints with mixed success. I’m glad that I didn’t invite the other ladies back for this first experience because, while my first print went wonderfully, my second and third became increasingly fuzzy. I would hate for this to have happened on their t-shirts or bags!
What ended up causing this fuzziness was that ink from the first application seeped through the clear text and onto the underside of the screen.
The first print (left) compared to the second (right):
The second print (left) compared to the third (right):
Any idea what could have caused this to happen? I think it could be due to several factors. I may have used too much ink, I may have pushed down too hard with my squeegee, or I may have run my squeegee over the screen too many times during each printing session (I was nervous about my imperfectly exposed text and how much ink it would allow to pass through the screen). I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this problem!