Thursday, 1 March 2012

A dreadful guide to screen printing.

Hoooray!! I've finally started screen printing again. Huzzah, lalala! I'm working on some ideas for tote bags, cushions and promo packs that I'll be sending out to agents soon.

I bloomin' love screen printing, it's excellent fun and quite simple really, so I thought I'd share my step by step guide. (There are other, better ways but this is how it worked for me.)

Step one - The most crucial stage - find a bloody lovely boyfriend to buy the equipment for your birthday. That step complete all you have to do is wait 7 years for him to feel particularly flush and then tah-dah.
Step two - procrastinate, prop up the equipment and admire it, put it somewhere safe, lose it, find it, prop it up again in a prominent place to remind you to DO SOMETHING WITH IT.
Step three - Apron on, ready to rumble, decide on your artwork, pow! Attempt to print it onto acetate. Fail. Have a little sulk. Try again, fail. At this point you must get very cross and swear at the printer and then (crucially) give it a good whack and retire for a while with a cup of tea and some biscuits.
Step four - The lovely boyfriend comes into play again here but you can use a friend, helpline, google, sock puppet etc. Have a good old rant about how everything is rubbish in the world and how it never ever works for you and then await the smug yet helpful response.
Step five - Manage to print onto the acetate, high five!!! Have a celebratory solo-disco and then print another copy as you need two for an opaque image. (I had another mini solo-disco here but it's not essential.)
Step six - Coat your screen with light sensitive emulsion and then keep it in a dark place to dry. *
Step seven - Using a chair, a clamp, and old frame, a black piece of fabric, a piece of glass, a 500W UV halogen lamp, an artistic license, some sticky back plastic and an old fairy liquid bottle cobble together something resembling an exposure unit set up.
Step eight - Arm yourself with the knowledge of exposure times that you have researched as you are obviously a very sensible person & pray that you don't burn the carpet. (Mine worked at about bulb 16 inches away for 12 mins.) This can take a few tries to get it right.
Step nine - Wash out your design using a shower head set to it's strongest setting. (*I put my screen in the coat cupboard and a few bits of dust and crap stuck to it and when I washed out my design they got blasted out leaving some annoying holes in the screen. Grr.)
Step ten - Print print print! Again you can have a celebratory disco for one but it's not essential.

Well there you have it, an absolutely dreadful guide to making your very own self sufficient screen printing get-up.
If you are thinking of starting screen printing.. probably ignore all of that and just google it, but have fun!


  1. This is a VERY similar step by step guide to my method as well! -Insert 'dad for Christmas' instead of boyfriend for birthday! I also left it about a year...! Well done!

  2. Haha yay I'm glad I'm not the only one who left it! Oops. Hope you're using yours now too :) x


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