DIY Silk Screen Printing
St. Patrick's Day! 0
The fun drinking holiday is right around the corner! Make your own St. Patrick's Day t-shirts, beer mugs, wood signs, and more! Here are two designs that will be finished in the next few days:
How-To tutorials and photos coming soon!
- Lana Simmons
Techniques for Screen Printing on Wood 1
EZScreen stencils can be used for screen printing on wood. Personalized wooden signs are extremely popular, and now you can make your own! The techniques for screen printing wood are very similar to screen printing t-shirts, but here are some things we recommend if you are planning on making your own wood projects:
1 - Use Speedball screen printing inks
- Although Speedball inks are primarily used for fabric, they can work on most porous surfaces (that means wood, cardboard, and even paper!). You can screen print Speedball inks right onto untreated wood, or paint the wood using Speedball ink (allow to dry) and then screen print your design in a different color. Here’s an example:
This wood sign was painted with Speedball Opaque Raspberry ink, then screen printed with Speedball Opaque Pearly White ink.
2 - Don’t use a plastic frame
- Plastic frames are great when screen printing onto fabric and t-shirts, but there’s no need when printing on wood. We typically use a strip of blue painters tape on the top edge of the stencil, and apply screen printing ink in a downwards motion.
These wood coasters were screen printed with Speedball Black ink then sprayed with a waterproof polyurethane clear top coat.
3 - Use a brush to apply ink
- Larger designs can be printed easily using a squeegee, like the Valentine's Day sign, but we recommend using an artist brush when working with smaller designs. The wood coasters pictured above were screen printed using an artist brush.
4 - Standard EZScreen stencils
For most wood projects, Standard emulsion stencils will work just fine. Choose between our Basic Starter Kit with Standard stencils, or our Complete Starter Kits which include your choice of Speedball screen printing inks.
- Lana Simmons
Common Mistakes 1
Here is a list of common mistakes when making DIY EZScreen silk screen stencils and their solutions:
1 - Gray or color artwork
- It is critical to print opaque black artwork onto the transparency film. Color artwork or gray tones will cause the stencil to be over-exposed, as UV will pass right through and expose areas where it should be blocked. Only opaque black designs will result in a proper stencil.
2 - Printing artwork on paper
- Firstly, there are different types of paper and they will all require different exposure times. Because it is difficult to determine the exact exposure time depending on the paper that is being used, we do not recommend using it at all. Secondly, some paper will block UV exposure entirely and will not work to burn an EZScreen stencil. Use transparency film only.
3 - Not using the exposure unit provided on our website
- Many customers will try to save money by making their own exposure unit, however, this will create several problems. The clear exposure board in our exposure unit is made of non-UV blocking materials. Many pieces of glass or plexi contain UV blocking agents and will prevent the EZScreen stencil from being properly exposed. Also, a black board is required to be placed underneath the stencil during exposure to prevent any additional sunlight from exposing the underside.
4 - Not peeling the clear protective plastic from the stencil before exposure
- EZScreen stencils have a clear plastic attached to protect the emulsion. It is important to remove this plastic before burning to sunlight as it will prevent the emulsion from rinsing off during the soak process and block paint from passing through the stencil.
5 - Exposing the stencils on a cloudy day
- Yes, you can still get a tan when it's cloudy outside, however, clouds will prevent the EZScreen stencil from being properly exposed. Exposing the stencils in cloudy weather, in shady areas or inside through a window will result in under-exposure and the emulsion washing off in the soak process.
6 - Using artificial lights
- Some artificial lights will work to properly burn EZScreen DIY stencils. We have extensively tested two lights that are sold on our website and come with full exposure instructions. However, using your own artificial light may cause problems. We do not have exposure instructions for every light that is on the market. Because of this, the exposure time and distance from the stencil during exposure will need to be experimented by the customer. This will cause frustration if the perfect exposure time/distance is not figured out. We recommend using only direct sunlight or one of our tested artificial lights if sunlight is not obtainable.
7 - Not hardening the stencil
- After the EZScreen stencil has been exposed in direct sunlight and soaked in water for 10-15 minutes, make sure all the emulsion is removed in the design area (use a brush for any stubborn residue). After this process, it is important to lay the stencil back outside (shiny, emulsion side up facing the sun) to harden the stencil. This will make the emulsion permanent on the silk screen mesh. Blow drying the stencil is not equivalent to hardening it in the sun. When this step is skipped, the emulsion may peel or scratch off when it is being used with screen print ink or washed.
Note: We recommend using the small test pieces provided in every black bag before using an entire stencil. Print out your artwork onto transparency film, and place the small test piece over the most detailed part of the design. After the stencil has been burned, soaked, rinsed, and hardened, test it with ink/paint onto paper or a surface that can be discarded.
- Lana Simmons
Creating New Projects for the Website 0
It has been a BLAST making new projects to showcase on our new website! There are still some pages that are under construction, so we thank you for being patient.
- Sloane Garwood
Welcome to Our New Website! 0
The EZScreen team would like to welcome you to our new and improved website! Thank you for taking the time to browse the new site that is still being updated. Please contact us if you see any improvements that we can make, or if you have any questions about our products or processes :)
- Lana Simmons