Did you know you can do your own screen printing? In fact, you can buy an affordable Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Kit and it comes with everything you need. However, it’s important to know a few things before you begin and these tips can speed up the learning process.
What is Screen Printing?
Screen printing has been with us for more than a thousand years, and it involves forcing ink through a screen and onto the material. The first screen was believed to be used by the Chinese and it was made from human hair which was stretched onto a wooden frame.
Later, the Japanese made screens from silk and this is where the term “silk screen printing” originated. Screens have advanced a great deal from human hair to Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Kit products designed for the “do it yourselfer”.
To screen print, one needs a screen (which acts as a stencil) artwork, printing ink, a squeegee and material to print on. The process is not complicated but requires some skill and knowledge to avoid common problems.
Keep your first project rather simple to facilitate the process. Once your artwork is completed it should be placed on material called a “transparency”. You can have this done at a copying shop and it will make your job easier.
Be sure your material is clean. You should perform a test print first on a piece of scrap fabric or material. This will keep you from ruining your new shirts or other materials.
Burning the Image
Your image needs to be burned onto your screen. This is what creates your stencil, and black paper is a good choice. You then need to apply emulsion (which is photosensitive) and activator together. Be sure you have enough to cover the whole screen surface. Let the screen sit long enough for the mixture to harden. This could take a few hours.
Lay the screen on a cloth, apply the template and then expose the screen to light for at least 10 minutes. You can use a 200 watt bulb or special screen printing lamp. Next, rinse the screen until you can see the template design in it. Now it’s time to apply ink and then squeegee it onto the material. You may want to cure the fabric in an oven (400 degrees) for about half a minute.
These steps should give you a good idea of the process. Of course, many first time printers choose to use products like the Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Kit. This will give you a good idea how screen printing works and removes a lot of the hard work.
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