A Simple Guide to Screen Printing Your Own Shirts

Screen printing is a bit intimidating at first, but it’s easier than it looks and you can set a print area at home for cheap. We will show you how you can do it with a minimal amount of materials.

The basic idea behind silk research is quite simple and works similarly to a model. Instead of cutting the shapes individually, a screen in the photographic emulsion is coated, then cut an image with a bright light. The video above guides you through the process, but we will go into more detail, starting with the supplies you need.

Set up a silk shop at home

Step 0: Get Your Supplies
First, you need to get your sources in order. Here’s what you need:

(You can buy these separately at a local arts store or buy a frame and screen like this for $ 14).
Photo Emulsion and Sensitizer ($ 20).
A 250 watt bulb ($ 4)
Latex gloves.
A darkroom (wardrobes work well).
A shirt.
Raclette ($ 14).
Ink silk cloth ($ 5).
Small piece of cardboard (which can fit inside the shirt).
Step 1: Create your image
For your first try, start with something simple, without many fine lines. A standard silhouette with Photoshop is an easy way to go. You need a solid black image because its only real purpose is to block the light. The selected image will be burned in the emulsion in step four. Once they have set up a printed image on a paper transparency of the laser printer (if you do not want to buy a box of transparencies most copy copy shops on a transparency of about a dollar ).

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Step 2: Cover the screen emulsion
The emulsion is in two parts: the sensitizer and the emulsion. Mix according to directions on bottle. Put your screen in a garbage bag. Pour a little of the emulsion mixture onto the screen and spread it on the screen with the brush. The emulsion should cover an area slightly larger than the image you want to print. If necessary, repeat the process until the screen is covered and can not see through. You want a thin and uniform across the screen.

Leave the screen in a dark room slot for two hours until it is completely dry.

Step 3: Exposing the image on the screen
It’s time to expose the screen to light. In this same black room (do not light the light yet), place a black cloth or board. Place the screen and frame with the screen facing down on top of the black surface. Next, place the transparency with its image on the screen where the emulsion photo is. Tape the transparency down with duct tape or place a piece of glass on it.

Move your lamp so that is about one to two feet above the screen. Angle a lamp 250 watt bulb on transparency with its image on it and leave the room. A desk lamp works best for this, but if you do not have it, create a reflector sheet and place it over the lamp to reflect the light down. Do not put on any other light. Wait about 10-15 minutes. Return to the room and gently pull transparency. You should see pale blue lines where the image is burned on the screen. If it sounds good, it’s time to clean it up. Otherwise, leave a few minutes and check again. Overexposure will bleed the picture, so be careful.

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Step 4: Clean the screen
Spray the screen with cold water from a hose, sink or showerhead. Notice how the section where the image starts to detach? Continue spraying until you can see through the picture clearly. Keep the screen in the light to make sure it looks exactly like its transparency. Allow the display to dry. Once dry, cover the exposed parts of the screen (where no image or emulsion resemblance) with duct tape.

Step 5: Print!
Place your shirt on a flat surface. Fill a square piece of cardboard inside the shirt underneath the area you want to print. Place the screen on the shirt with the design where you want to print.

Pour a small amount of ink horizontally across the top of the screen. Take your scraper and make a smooth motion towards the bottom of the screen, exerting strong pressure (if this is your first time it is a good idea to try this on a draft paper before printing it on your shirt ). Run the scraper up, down, left and right a few times to push all the ink through the shirt.