Exposing Screens with Photo Emulsion Guide

The Next Big Step ✨

The next big step in the world of Screen Printing is exposing your own screens! Whether you're a budding entrepreneur looking to start your own T-Shirt business or an inquisitive creative looking to express yourself in print, this is the blog for you.

Exposed screens offer numerous advantages, especially if you are coming from Screen Printing with Stencils. Exposed Screens allow for much more intricate and detailed designs that are highly durable, long-lasting and can withstand multiple print runs. Additionally, exposed screens are reusable, reducing long-term costs! 

Heard of our Screen Exposure Service?

Simply send us your artwork and we'll expose it onto a screen, simple. Learn more here.

A Handy Guide

Below we will cover the process of exposing your own screens, however many of these steps can be done by the Hunt The Moon team, through our Custom Screen Printing Exposure Service, from creating transparencies to even doing the whole thing in delivering you a fully exposed screen!

Step One: Artwork for Transparencies 🎨

First up is your artwork, aka what you'll expose onto your screens. This can be one screen, such as a company logo or simple design or several screens, such as a design with several coloured layers. This step is super important in the overall process because getting this step correct will speed up the whole process both for you and us if we create your transparencies. 

You can read our helpful blog on How To Prepare Artwork for Transparencies & Exposures here.

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Step Two: Printing your Transparencies 🖨️

To print you'll exposure at home, you'll need either a professional or home inkjet printer, otherwise, you can use our own Inkjet Transparency Film service.

Looking to pick up a printer? We have always used Epson printers and particually like their eco tank range, where there are no cartridges ands the inks are refillable. The Epson Eco Tank 14000 is a great choice for printing screen printing transparencies.

Inkjet Transparency Film A4 / A3

Step 3: Screen Preparation & Degreasing

Before exposing your screen with your new transparency, we need to prepare the screen. For this, you'll need some Photo Emulsion and a Scoop Coater that is the same size as your screen. Once applied, it becomes sensitive to light when the diazo sensitiser is added to it. You can read about this step in greater detail here.

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Step 4: Exposing your Screen

Next is exposing your screen with your new transparency. To do this at home, you'll need a few essential pieces of equipment notably an Exposure Kit. With this step, you need to find out your exposure time with a Step Test and a dimly lit room. You can read about this step in greater detail here.

Or alternatively, we offer our own Custom Screen Exposure Service where we will carry out all the above steps, excluding the artwork preparation step! 

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Step Five: Heat Curing

Whether you used our Custom Screen Exposure Service or have carried out the steps at home, you'll still be Screen Printing and therefore having to Heat Cure. Heat Curing is the method to secure a print that lasts forever, which of course, why wouldn't you? Well to make sure this happens, you need to "Cure" the print, not just dry it.

There are several ways to do this from; heat tunnels, heat guns, and using an iron...you can read more about this step here.

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Step 6: Clean and Reclaim your Screen Printing Screens

Now you have finished your first print with your new Exposed Screen, it's time to clean down. Doing several more prints with the screen? Grab some Screen Wash and give the screen a clean.

Done with the Screen? If you are looking to expose a new design, you can easily remove the photo emulsion off the screen and start again - it's worth noting it's easier to repeat this step with our Aluminium Screens as they are longer lasting and more durable.

Either way, proper screen maintenance and cleaning techniques help extend the lifespan of your screens, saving you money in the long run.

You can read more about removing emulsion off the screen here.

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It's that simple! ✨

In conclusion, Custom Screen Exposure is not only the next step in your printing journey but also incredibly fun! By taking control of this step in screen printing, you open up a world of possibilities for people of all abilities. So, grab your screen, go through each step, and enjoy the journey of creating Custom Exposed Prints!

Interested in us exposing your screen?

Simply send us your artwork and we'll expose it onto a screen, simple. Learn more here.