Screenprinting At Home

I learned how to screen print in a printing class earlier this summer, and I did a lot of research on my own to figure out how to do this at home. Some of you asked for more information about this process, so I thought it might be fun to share the basic steps with you of how I did it.

First, I put photo emulsion on the two screens I have.

I didn’t do as good an application on that screen because the coverage was a little spotty. But I kept going to see how it would come out. (came out fine, by the way) Note: at this point, this coating makes the screen light-sensitive so it’s best to keep it in a dark place (such as a box) until you’re ready to burn your image into it.

Next, I had my graphics printed onto a transparency film. Then I laid that transparency directly onto the screen and put a piece of glass over it for a tighter seal. Now I’m ready to burn my graphics onto the screen.

Next I put a photo-light over the screen (in a dark room) to burn my image into the emulsion, creating a stencil.

Here’s what the screen looks like when the image is burned into the emulsion, but before I rinsed out the emulsion where the image is.

Here’s what the screen looks like after it’s been rinsed, revealing a stencil that will allow ink to pass through. It’s very helpful to have a utility sink next to our laundry area, and right next to my screen printing corner, so I can rinse off my screens so easily.

Now I’m ready to pull ink over my screens. I used black screenprinting ink because I love the black and white look right now. I put ink on the left side of this smaller screen because my squeegee doesn’t fit the other way. That red squeegee is what I used to pull ink across the screen. (I’ve also seen people use an old credit card or stiff piece of cardboard.) The ink goes through the holes of the stencil of my image that I created above. I started out on scrap paper to make sure the ink was going through the stencil evenly.

Then I switched to some textured notepaper that I’m planning to write letters on.

I also printed on white canvas and cotton fabrics. I’m going to sew these fabric pieces into something, most likely my favorite things to make, a sketchbook cover, zipper bag or tote bag like I did last time.

I also added a couple more butterflies to the back and side of the two tshirts I did in class this summer.

After rinsing the ink off my screens, I cleaned off the stencils using a photo emulsion remover to get that blue coating off the screens, which is another reason why it’s nice to have a utility sink in our laundry area in the basement.

I’m already looking forward to my next screen printing experiment, with some new artwork to try, and some different ink colors too. Might be fun to do more fabrics and share them in my shop. What a great experiment this was for my first time screen printing by myself and at home!

Thanks for stopping by!

Learning How to Screen Print

For one of my final projects for my interim summer class, we got the opportunity to learn how to do screen printing. I decided to capitalize on my current butterfly theme and try screen printing one of my other butterfly sketches –  this one is a swallow tail. I liked the idea of doing just black ink to make the butterfly look skeletal or like a silhouette.

I went a little crazy, trying it on all sorts of different papers. I also tried a few pieces of fabrics, thinking I could figure out what to make with them at a later date, maybe a shopping tote bag or a sketchbook cover.

I found a couple t-shirts I never wear, so I screen printed a butterfly in a random place on the back. Love how that turned out! Now I have two new t-shirts.

I do believe I have discovered a new art medium I could get obsessed with. I bought the supplies to do my own screen printing at home. Have I mentioned lately that I love graphic design? Oh yeah, I think I have.

PS – There’s a Summer Sale going on at my Patchwork Trails Etsy shop! Use the coupon code SUMMER40 to save 40% off everything currently listed.