Jump to content
DüM

Screen Printing

Recommended Posts

we probably already have a thread for this, but I think I'm going to get back into fucking with it. It's fun. Probably just simple t-shirts and posters with phrases and symbols and stupid shit.

I've done it a bunch. I can be mildly helpful if anyone else has questions. I have a few though

T-shirt recs? We have whole threads for this too, but anything besides AAA, Kirkland, Gildan, AA that maybe is worth checking out.

What paper do I fuck with for posters. This is something I have 0 knowledge of.

Also, ink? I haven't messed with many different inks at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

aye, school me. i gots a pic, i wanna put on a t, now what?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to print something, at the very least, you'll need a good screen (mesh count matters here, you can find more info on that online as I cant help too much here) a squeegee, the emulsion and some way to expose the screen and finally the ink.

If you're doing a bunch of shit or more than one color you'll probably want some sort of machine or bracket for your screen so you can register shit correctly every time with no hassle.

So, if you want to print a photograph you could go full color cmyk. So you'll be separating the image into cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (photoshop). Then printing fine halftones of those and you've got a photo on your tee (like sid's westside tee)

Four colors is four screens though and this isn't something you'd prob wanna fuck with in your garage.

If you wanna simplify it you can just print a one-color halftone of the image. There are programs specifically for this I'm assuming. But I think I remember doing it in PS like

Image > Mode > Grayscale

then

Image > Mode > Bitmap

pick 'Halftone Screen' and mess with the frequency and size of the dots. I don't know a shit ton about this though, there are people that do here I'm sure. You'll just have to know that the finer the halftone the finer screen mesh you'll need. You'll also need to be exposing the screens a lot more carefully than with big spot-color stuff.

So, say you've got that all done up. You will print your image on a transparency (or multiple and place them together). I couldn't find any places that printed larger ones so I would get something printed on cheap white paper at Kinkos and then coat the paper in olive oil to make it pretty translucent. I'm not sure if this is good enough for fine halftone shit, probably not.

Then, you coat your screen with the emulsion in a dark room. Let it dry and then place your artwork over the screen and use whatever strong lightsource you have to expose the emulsion. Then rinse the bitch off and you're ready to print.

this is super-simplified but hopefully that helps you to get the basic idea

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^Always one of the most helpful/innovative users on da sufu, wish I could rep.

Anyone know of a place to get high quality digital prints and/or all over prints done in small quantities?

I wanna make some shirts/sweatshirts like these...

http://badsmellingboy.com/

Thanks in advance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hope this is the right place to ask, otherwise i'm sry.

I was wondering which of the anti aliasing settings for text in ps will give the best result when printed.

Also what should the file be saved as?

I'd assume that as a pdf the typo would maintain its vector information. Is this the best way to print posters?

If that's the case, anti aliasing might as well stay 'none' right?

I just don't understand why PS cant display text as illustrator does (since text in PS is vector based too), while I know that after rasterizing there will be quality loss.

any help is much appreciated!

thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

at 300 dpi which you'll want to save the image as (so full-size, 300 dpi) anti-aliasing isnt a huge issue. at 'None' though you'll get some jagged edges, try Sharp or Smooth.

File doesn't matter a great deal either as long ad it's printed full size, 300 dpi. Obviously vectors are good because they be edited / sized easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

first if you're going to be printing make sure you start at 300DPI, i used to be the designer at a screenprinter back in the day, there are several photoshop plugins that will automate the separation process and create halftones for one color designs, for me i finalize any images with halftones in photoshop, then import that into illustrator and do whatever text you need to, export the final product back to a PSD at 300DPI then separate/print, but like jermaine said i wouldn't try to fuck with 4 color prints on your own unless you have a press, registration is key especially with multiple screens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for the fast reply.

I guess I ended up in the wrong thread after all.. (I only read 'printing' and my question was more about regular printing/photoshop issues)

still, why does ps behave differently regarding text than illustrator does?

sry for messing up this thread, is there a better place to talk about this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

because they are for different things completely. Same reason they treat lots of things differently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What paper do I fuck with for posters. This is something I have 0 knowledge of.

Also, ink? I haven't messed with many different inks at all.

I dunno if it's the same as using a printing press, but Crane Lettra is common (100% cotton). But people like that cause its soft and takes impression better.

Letterpress ink (rubber based over soy and other shit) works well but depending on what you're printing size wise/text you may need to stiffen with magnesium powder?

I don't know anything about screen printing, just letterpress printing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been screen printing mostly posters and vinyl stickers in a home studio for over 5 years. I've had really good results for the most part. I can add some advice.

As far as mesh goes, the more fine your mesh is, the less amount of ink will be deposited. So for t-shirts and thick inks like opaques and whites, you'll likely be better with a bit larger mesh.

As far as registration goes, doing posters and anything else on flat media is super easy. Just go to the hardware store and get a piece of ply-wood that you can clamp to a table. Screw some screen printer's hinge clamps in and use masking tape to register. Make sure you use aerosol glue to stick stuff down.

Doing anything more than one-off single layer t-shirts is going to require some kind of t-shirt specific printing table, otherwise forget printing runs of shirts or registering multiple layers accurately.

As far as inks go, water based is the home printers standard, though more difficult to work with and doesn't hold up as well on clothing that will be washed frequently. It sets with a hot iron and is non-toxic. Most inks you see on store t-shirts require higher temperature ink drying heaters and release pretty nasty vapors. If you're not doing clothing though, the best advice I can give is to start collecting the "oops paint mixes" for cheap from the hardware store, but make sure you only get acrylic latex. You won't be able to clean anything oil based out of your screens.

I can't give any advice on poster paper, as I've mostly printed on cheap newsprint for paste-ups. I would imagine you'd want something acid free and thicker. The gigposters.com forum has a wealth of information on poster printing and screenprinting in general.

As far as a screen burning set-up goes, I use a 500 watt halogen shop lamp like this

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_SPM1393537901P?prdNo=6&blockNo=6&blockType=G6

with the safety cage taken off and rigged up to a clamp so I can clamp it to a table a point it straight down at the floor. It gives relatively short exposure times (around 18 minutes with Ulano TZ emulsion). And you don't really need to expose it in a dark room. Just pull down the shades and you'll be fine. Just make sure that when you're done exposing, you let it dry in a pitch black room. I'd usually put a fan on it to speed up the drying.

My last piece of advice for now is to use a proper emulsion scoop coater to put emulsion on your screens. I've seen people just pour it on and spread it around with a plastic gift card or something and it just makes a mess and leaves an inconsistent coating. One of the most difficult parts of home screen printing isn't doing the printing it's self. It's getting your screens to burn properly, rinse out properly and hold up well. It takes a lot of trial and error through the whole process with a lot of small factors involved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

great advice, thanks.

I tried exposing with the sun a few days ago, but I understimated how well it would work (it was cloudy and I used oiled paper instead of transparency but 4 minutes was still too long). The screen is usable, but the letters' edges are not perfect as some bits wouldn't wash out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you know any screenprinters in your area i would send them the artwork if it's b&w, have them print it out on vellum and expose it in a exposure unit using your screen if you have one, they could probably do it for cheap and you could print as many as you want from it then, well until the emulsion starts to break down

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
if you know any screenprinters in your area i would send them the artwork if it's b&w, have them print it out on vellum and expose it in a exposure unit using your screen if you have one, they could probably do it for cheap and you could print as many as you want from it then, well until the emulsion starts to break down

That's probably the best advice. If you want to skip the hassle leave the difficult part to the pros who already have the system down. Once you have a good working screen, doing the printing is the easy part. I've never worked with half-tone or photo realistic stuff though, so I guess that could be a headache.

And yeah, it seems like exposing in the sun would be way too unpredictable to do at home. The only time I've seen pros do that is when they have an electronic light meter and are calculating the exposure time on the fly based on the current conditions.

I've never used oiled laserjet prints. I've always printed transparencies at Kinkos and doubled them up. There's actually some kind of spray that you put on freshly printed transparency sheets that's supposed to make the ink more uniform and darker...... I actually just did a search and found it. I've never used it though, so I can't say if it's worth using.

http://www.silkscreeningsupplies.com/product/S208

Another thing that ended up saving me a bunch of money was getting the supplies to stretch my own screens. If you're like me and only really have access to a hand held massaging shower head to spray screens, stuff will build up and you'll go through screens quickly if you're reclaiming them for different designs. It's always best to wash out and reclaim screens with a pressure washer like at a car wash, but even then over time you'll still get stuff left behind. It's cheaper to buy rolls of mesh than a fully assembled screen. Just find someone with a table saw who will cut a groove around all sides of your wood screens, then go to the hardware store and buy some rubber screen door gasket cord and a gasket pusher wheel to press it down in the groove. They look like this.

6149159132_10dc6ccf77.jpg270660_front200.jpg

BTW, If you're ordering screens/mesh online, this site has the best deals that I've found. http://www.rhinotoughgraphics.com/

I ordered many other supplies from this site as well. http://www.poconoscreen.com/index.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just copped some ink (union aerotex, water-based and comes w/ a catalyst that makes it air-dry) and a bit of nice paper to mess with (frenchpaper.com).

going to print on tees too probably. just trying to get into the flow of it and see if it's something I want to keep playing with. It might be wise to outsource the screen exposure as you guys said if I can't perfect that soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if it fits in here but I do enjoy linotype printing. I recently made my face into a sugar skull haha I've messed with screen printing a few years back and it was fun for the most part but I had to weed out too many hobbies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just copped some ink (union aerotex, water-based and comes w/ a catalyst that makes it air-dry) and a bit of nice paper to mess with (frenchpaper.com).

going to print on tees too probably. just trying to get into the flow of it and see if it's something I want to keep playing with. It might be wise to outsource the screen exposure as you guys said if I can't perfect that soon.

It's not that difficult to burn a working screen. There's a good deal of wiggle room as far as that goes.

The more difficult part is getting/keeping really fine detail and minimizing blocky step patterns on angled & curved edges. Depending on your design and intentions, you may not even care much about that stuff. I didn't have any problems until I started trying to do stuff like 10pt text.

I'd say at least try for the full process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I did and only slightly messed up. though I did end up with the blocky text (and it's def bigger than 10pt). My screen is 110 I think and on fabric it may not even show up but it was noticeable on paper. I'll try a slightly higher screen mesh I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DUM post pics of the redo

Edit: Also, anyone have any pics of their setups?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just saw a poster for a screen printing class at my college, its an 8 week course so it starts in a bit still. im really considering signing up for it, only thing is its saturdays 9am-3pm.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

for my diy set up I used those circle things you put decorative embroideries on the wall and stuff. Then I forget the material but it was really close weaved fabric..then stretched it on the circle and tightened it down..you draw on what you want to put on the shirt,hats,whatever and use modge podge glue to fill in the negative space..after that you let it dry and you essentially have it set up to use multiple times..just lay it on the fabric and apply ink in even strokes then carefully pull it off the fabric and voila

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took a screen printing class back in high school. I haven't screen printed a shirt since then but I remember really enjoying the experience and the ability to customize everything.

I wanna start making my own shirts again though but I'm pretty broke right now so I was just wondering what your guy's DIY set-up at home's like? And how much do you guys spend on the frames/mesh/squeegees/ inks/films/emulsion and just all the stuff you need. And where you get all your supplies from...

Thanks in advanced. ^_^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After I have converted my photos into half-tones. Is there anything I need to do in photoshop before I print it on a transparency? Also, what mesh size should I buy for a black and white photo? Another thing is if you have any recommended emulsions? What is the burn time for a photo as well because I know generally text based work is 3 minutes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if your halftone is good you can go ahead and print it. The mesh depends on what you're printing on (tee/paper). Google is your friend here, but I have a 110 mesh screen that works well on fabric, but I can't get super detailed with it. I actually noticed some jagged edges (as if it had bad antaliasing or something) on some things I printed. A higher mesh would prob serve me better.

The burn time is completely dependent on your emulsion / light source / setup. There are charts that can help.

Edited by DÃœM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OT, but is there a thread for discussing printing (anything paper related)? Found a dead link from pre-5.0. Would be nice to get a solid list going of places that do specialized stuff (foil, etc.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now