Pictures are to follow. Since I'm doing this at work obviously I can't be taking pictures of the screening process. Keep in mind there are very many ways to do this. I'm just going to show you exactly how I did mine. First off: Be prepared to get frustrated. It can be a very easy process, or a very difficult one, depending on if you do everything correctly. Also, you're GOING to have mistakes. It's inevitable, on your first couple runs. Even after that, mistakes are still pretty common, even when I'm being careful. Embrace your errors, because a lot of times it will still look perfectly acceptable. The D.I.Y look is nothing to be afraid of. What you need: Blank T-Shirt - Apparel Agents, American Apparel, Alternative Apparel are all my favorites. The first 8 words of that sentence all started out with a. Also, Canvas makes side-seamed shirts that I think are pretty nice, though I don't own any nor have I printed on them. Workspace - the most basic requirement. A workspace for me is simply two stools with a piece of plywood resting on top. As long as you have a flat surface that isn't very thick, you'll be okay. I mention thickness because you'll have to clamp down your shirts and screens onto the board later on, so make sure it isn't more than 2 inches thick. The plywood that I use works just fine, it's maybe .25" thick. As for size, if you rest it on a table, just make sure that it's large enough so that you can move it a little off the edge and have access to 2-5" inches of the flat board, so that you have room on the edges to clamp shit down. Also, do this in a place where it doesn't matter if you get ink or emulsion on the floor. Put down newspapers all over the place if you have to do it inside. Hose Screen - You can buy these at art stores. A common brand is Speedball. If you happen to live in San Diego or LA, look for a store called McLogan. They will have what you need there, and it will be less than half the price as a Speedball, plus you have other options as well when selecting it. If you are near a McLogan, or another screenprinting supply store, make sure to get a screen with around 120 - 160 mesh. The higher the number, the tighter and more accurate the final print will come out, but also less ink goes through. Since we'll be using water-based ink which goes through screens very easily, it doesn't really matter what mesh you do. I've gone up to 160 with no problems but haven't experimented (or needed to experiment) past that. Up to 160 will get you pretty much perfect representation down to font sizes of maybe 7 or 8 pt. Screens at McLogan are around $15. Screens from Speedball are $30-45. Getting a screen with metal bars instead of wood will last longer because wood eventually warps, but you can't use metal-barred screens with my method. Emulsion - Screenprinting supply stores will have this, as well as art stores. At art stores, if you get the Speedball stuff, you have to mix it yourself. I highly suggest you get the same brand of emulsion as your screen. I've done it both ways (used Speedball emulsion on a non-speedball screen, and used non-speedball emulsion on a Speedball screen) and had shitty results. If you go to a screenprinting supplier, ask them what emulsion to use for that screen. Textile Screenprinting Ink - They have this at art stores as well. My favorite brand is Versatex, but there are many. Make sure you're getting water-based ink. Design - Of course this part is important. You need to make a design that is printable in two colors: black and white (NO GREYSCALES). I cant go through instruction on this part. If you know basic Photoshop, you can turn any photo into a black/white bitmap. You need one design for each color you're going to print Spoon - For putting ink and emulsion onto the screen Squeegee - I use the speedball squeegee found at art stores in the screen printing section. It works well for me. You can get other squeegees that I'm sure work just fine. Clamps - You need 3 or 4 clamps to clamp the shirt and the screen onto the board. 300W Lightbulb - Self-explanatory Vegetable Oil - You need this for when you burn the design into the screen. Fan - I always have a fan running in the workspace to keep it nice and dry and side. Its a necessity for the air to circulate so it doesnt become moist, because that can really mess up your prints. ----- More to come later! Gotta get back to work.
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4/19/06 at 8:20pm