We promised you more top tips and handy hints so here they are.
Screen Exposure is the next step after printing with stencils. So in this blog we are going to cover a few of the most common questions we get asked.
Making great screens isn't rocket science, or expensive.
Getting great results and perfect prints comes down to following procedures, proper preparation, set up and limiting variables.
Have all the right equipment and materials ready to use. Do procedures in the right order and everything will come together.
Preparing and coating screens.
A smooth blemish free emulsion coating makes for much easier exposure and wash out. Details will hold better and prints will be sharper as the coating will be more even.
If you are having problems with your Photo Emulsion such as it not coating well on the screen, fish eyes and blemishes in the coat then it is most likely a badly prepared screen.
Degreasing your screen is really important!
A clean degreased screen means the emulsion will adhere to the mesh better.
This means it will not break down as easily and ultimately last longer. Using a Mesh Prep / Degrease before you start is the answer. Mesh Prep will remove any grease, dust and dirt that may be on the screen. Its surprising how dirty the cleanest looking screen can be!
Use a soft sponge and a bit of mesh prep and wipe it all over both sides of the screen. (even new ones)
Rinse off really well and leave to dry. Dry flat where possible with the print side facing down.
A nice smoothly coated Screen.
Scoop Coaters / Trough
Scoop coaters are the easiest way of getting the emulsion on to your screen.
Evenly applied emulsion will be smoother, expose evenly and cut down on wastage. You can save the excess and put it back in the pot.
Tip: Keep the edge of your scoop coater in good condition for a nice even application, its stops the emulsion being streaky on the screen and protects the mesh. Wipe it out soon after using so you don't have to scrub it later on.
Extra tips and trouble shooting.
Post exposure. After exposing your well prepared screen you will need to wash it out.
If too much emulsion washes out these might be the problems:
- Not exposed the screen for long enough.
- Used a water pressure that was too forceful.
- The screen was not dry before exposing.
If the emulsion does not wash out:
- Artwork was not opaque on the acetate.
- The screen was exposed too long. (emulsion baked on)
- Image was not completely flat against the screen.
- The screen was placed on a reflective surface while exposing. (a foam block is ideal)
- The screen was exposed to too much light and /or heat before exposure with artwork.
- wash out was incomplete.
What's next? How to clean screen printing frames