The screen printing technique is widely used because it produces vivid colors, even on darker fabrics. The ink or paint also lies in layers on the fabric’s surface.
Different methods of screen printing, but they all involve the same basic technique. The form of printing we’ll talk about below uses a special light-reactive emulsion to create a custom stencil.
Silk-screen printing seems to be frightening at the start. But it is much easier than it looks. The good news is that it can launch a screen-printing business at home. It is not very expensive. We are here with this guide on efficiently using your silk screen printing machine at your home. This step-by-step guide will instruct you on how you can run a screen printing job with the least amount of money and materials.
The primary idea behind silk screen printing is straightforward. It works as similarly as a stencil does. You do not need to cut out structures individually. You cover a screen in photo emulsion instead. After that, cut a design or logo out with a bright light.
Now we walk through the process in more detail. Let’s go…
Set Up a Silk Screen Printing Machine at Home
Step 0: Arrange Silk Screen Printing Supplies
First, ensure you already get all the silk screen printing supplies you need through the process. Here is a list of silk-screen supplies for the silk-screen printing machine in order:
- Frame and screen
- Photo emulsion and sensitizer
- One 250-watt bulb
- Latex gloves
- Plain t-shirts on which you want to print
- A pitch-dark room
- Silk fabric ink
- Cardboard to fit inside the t-shirt
Step 3: Expose Your Design on the Screen
Now, you will need to expose your screen to the light. Still, do not switch lights on in your previously arranged pitch-black room. Then, put a dark cloth or board down. Lay down your screen and framework using the screen side down on the pick of the black surface. Now, put the transparent sheet with your design on your screen where there is your photo emulsion. Hook up the transparency sheet using scotch tape or put a piece of glass on it.
Move your lamp approximately 2-3 feet above the screen. Angle the lamp using a 250-watt bulb on the transparent sheet with your design. Go out of the room. Here it would help if you chose a desk lamp that suits you best. If you cannot arrange a desk lamp, you can make a reflector with tin foil and put it above the lamp to reflect the light down. Wait. Do not switch any lights on. After about 15 minutes, enter the room and pull up the transparency sheet. You will see the designed image is burnt into your screen and faint blue lines there as well. If you like this, then clean it off. If you don’t like this, leave this and wait for a while and check again. But be aware of overexposure. It can make your design bleed.
Step 4: Clean Your Screen
It is time to clean your screen. Keep the screen under a hose, sink, or showerhead, and splash it with cold water. Carefully notice if your image flakes off or not. Only when you can watch your image well, do you stop spraying. Grip the screen against the light to ensure it looks like you are transparent. Wait until the screen is dry. After it is dry, coat the exposed portion of the screen with scotch tape.
Step 5: Finally, Print It
Put your cloth on a flat surface—stuff square-sized cardboard on the inner side of the t-shirt where you want to print. Lay down the screen on the t-shirt with the image where it will be printed.
Spill a little amount of ink horizontally over the top of the screen. Move your squeegee smoothly down the screen. Exert pressure gradually. It is good to run a test print on scrap paper instead of using your target garments. Move your squeegee up-down and left-right a couple of times. It pushes the inks through onto the clothes.
You are almost finished. Pull your screen up and cardboard out. It is a good idea to send your t-shirt into the oven and keep it at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. It will ensure that the design sticks to the shirt for a long time.
Step 6: Wash and Clean-up
As the screen printing inks dry soon, you can wash the inks just after printing is done. Clean your screen well as you can use it further. If you intend to print a completely different design, clean the screen with an emulsion remover.
Manual screen printing is time-consuming and complicated, with many automatic digital screen printing machines available on the market. As it is an entirely manual process, it creates risk and difficulty at every step. After all, it will be easier once you get used to this method. Despite this, digital screen printing machines that range from lower to higher prices would be a better option for your size of business. Today we investigate some t-shirt printing machines at a reasonable price for your business.
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