How (Not) To Screenprint At Home
Lets be honest, I'm lazy, cheap and I cut corners, but I do manage to screenprint at home with some success. If you are nothing like me, this isn't for you, I'd recommend maybe reading Ella's post on home screenprinting and following her advice over mine. If though, you're as lazy as I am, come along for the ride, it could be fun.
- Get a screen, I have one System 3 one and two from Hunt The Moon. I want to say I'm rocking the 120T mesh, but actually it might be 77T. The higher the T number the finer the image you're going to get.
- Get your draw on. I find it easy enough to draw straight onto the screen with a pencil, if I can find one. Otherwise I'll use pen or even, in a bind, eyeliner. (I told you I'm lazy didn't I?).
Anything you paint with screen filler will not print. As demonstrated in the images I'm only printing a background, my lines are painted immediately with screen filler.
IF I wanted to print the lines I could use screen drawing fluid to paint on my design, let that dry and then use screen filler. When I remember to take photographs of this process I'll possibly write another blog post, until then, go look at Ella's post. Yo.
- Get busy with that screen filler, experiment with line, texture, go on, have fun. See if you can get different tonal qualities, you might like it.
- Dry the screen on a flat surface, not on it's end. Drying the screen flat will stop the wet filler from running. (If you have wooden frames like I do, not the best idea to put frames against the radiator either, warps the wood a bit, ho hum).
While waiting for screens to dry may I suggest you do something productive? If not, go watch The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst and then come talk to me on twitter. Pls.
- Pick your colours! When mixing up screen printing ink I generally try to go to 50% acrylic paint and 50% Paint retarder. I am coming to the end of my system 3 acrylic painting medium tub, but it's lasted me well.
- Tape that screen up. I like to make sure any gaps are sufficiently covered with extra wide sellotape. In a pinch, brown packing tape will do, but I like to see through the sneaky sod.
- For my first print I normally print black on white, it allows me to see if there is anything I need to change or adapt. And I always have too much black ink lying about.
- Smother the top of the screen with ink, you can always scrape off the excess and save for later.
- Lift the screen up slightly and pull that ink across with the squeegee. Once the screen is flooded gently place it down on what-ever-it-is you're printing onto.
- With one hand hold the screen steady (or better yet, FIND A FRIEND TO DO IT) and with the other move the squeegee back up the screen at an angle applying even pressure.
- Lift screen, remove print, discard or keep.
- If you aren't doing a print, this is where you can scrape off all that excess ink.
- Next comes cleaning that screen. Gonna print that design again? Just some cold water from the shower head should be enough to remove the last of the ink.
- If you want to clean the screen down completely, you can buy special screen filler remover or screen cleaner, but remember, I am cheap, and you know what I've found just as well? Cif Cream Cleaner. Available from all good corner shops this GEM magically removes that screen filler. What's even better is that even the unbranded even cheaper version works just as well. Added bonus - bathroom smells like lemooooons after.
- Rinse that screen. Let it dry, watch it dry, look at your prints, watch them dry too.
- Pat yourself on the back, champion, fellow adventurer of at home screen printing, you got this.
n.b This post has not been endorsed by Daler Rowney, Hunt The Moon or Ella Masters