For the past three weeks we’ve been blazing through a workshop on the basics of screen printing. This past session we got our hands dirty going through the process start to finish in preparation to print our posters this Thursday. Below are some pics from our workshop paired with an explanation of the process in case you need a refresher.
First off, here’s a shot of Cady and I coating screens. The scoop coater (the magical piece of golden metal in the picture below) is used to apply an even coat of light sensitive emulsion to a screen.
Once the emulsion has dried evenly you place your artwork (in the form of a film positive) over top and expose it to light. But before we get too ahead of ourselves we’ve gotta make sure the film positive is ready. Below students use Sharpie paint pens to trace their artwork onto acetate (a clear sheet of plastic).
Once the artwork is done we register where they want it to print on the paper and adhere it to the emulsion coated screen. You can either use clear tape or a super light misting of spray adhesive. As you can see below, the artwork on the film positive (black drawings in the middle of the pink screen) is super opaque so no light can get through to the emulsion beneath.
Once your film positive is placed appropriately on the screen you “burn” the image using either a machine seen below or a variety of other UV sources. The opaque artwork keeps the uv rays from reacting with the emulsion underneath leaving those areas uncured. After 12-15 minutes (this time varies pending on your light source) you remove your artwork and wash out the unexposed emulsion using water.
Here’s Brenna showing us her original film positive and its production-ready-counterpart.
Now we’re in the home stretch. Below, René uses a light table to check for pin-holes, little holes in the emulsion that washed out in the spray booth. Once they’re eliminated you can sleep easy knowing ink won’t print where it’s not supposed to.
What a good looking bunch, huh? After two hours of controlled chaos we had eight screens ready for small run production heaven. Everybody’s artwork transferred well and I’m pumped for this Thursday when we print them up and bask in the power of tight mesh, emulsion, light, squeegees and ink.