Screen Printing

We have a four color two station screen printing press. We keep supplies and materials in stock for printing with plastisol and water based inks onto t-shirts, tote bags, and posters. The vinyl cutter offers another method for making screens. Below are step-by-step instructions, but we recommend watching a few videos to see the process as well.

Making Screens (Emulsion Method)

- Emulsion should be fresh (mixed within the last three months)
- Use scoop coater to apply a thin, even coat of emulsion to a clean, blank screen in a dark place. Let dry (3-6 hours) in the dark.
- Meanwhile, prepare design by printing a mirror image onto a clear transparency sheet (use ink jet printer).
- Tape transparency to screen, taking care to center your work, and lay print-side down onto exposure table. Expose for 5 1/2 minutes.
- Wash screen out using garden hose attachment under utility sink (take screen outside garage door to rinse).

Making Screens (Vinyl Method)

- Determine whether you will apply vinyl to ink or print side of screen
- Cut design on vinyl cutter to size (mirror the design if you have decided to apply the vinyl to the print side of the screen)
- Weed vinyl and then apply carefully to screen. Your screen is now your "negative"

Printing (Both methods)

- Tape around any exposed edges between your design and the edge of the screen. Painters tape or masking tape work well.
- Secure screen into raised arm of the printer; tighten down
- Place the item you're printing onto the platen arm. Use spray adhesive to gently secure it in place
- Apply ink in a line across the far edge of the screen. If using water based ink, flood the screen (pull ink through the design without printing onto anything)
- Lower the printing arm and use a squeegee to pull ink towards yourself and through the screen. Repeat the motion in reverse, pushing the squeegee away from you
- Raise the screen to view your design; if satisfied then remove the item to dry/cure. If there are missing elements or the ink is too thick, lower the arm back down and repeat squeegee motion until ink is uniformly applied
- Water based ink can air dry (a dryer will speed this along). Plastisol inks need to be cured to ~330 degrees F. There is a flash curer and heat guns available. Be sure not to burn your printed item or melt the ink by over-curing.

You're done! You screen printed something! Now post a photo in Slack so we can all see :)

Troubleshooting

- Coming soon

Tags: