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How to Silk Screen T-Shirts - A Step by Step Guide

Fri, Nov. 03, 2017 Posted: 08:48 AM

Silk screening is a t-shirt printing technique that is basically using a stencil and paint to print a design on a shirt. The silkscreen is burned with a design on a mesh screen in a pattern creating open areas and blocked areas. Ink is run over the screen mesh and it transfers ink to the material except in areas that have been blocked making it impossible for ink to pass through, thus making an ink pattern.

Silk screen printing is a technique that has been used since early 1960’s. If you are a beginner, silk screening may look like a difficult task at first however, when you master the art you will come discover that is actually a very simple technique that is very similar to stencil.

Do you want to silkscreen your own t shirts? Yes? Then today you are in the right place. In this article, we are going to give you a step by step guide on how to silk screen t-shirts.

Step 1: Order all Necessary Equipment

The first thing that you need to do before you start silkscreen printing your t shirt is to ensure that you have all the necessary supplies. The silk screening process can only be successful if you have all necessary equipment listed below:

● A Frame and a Screen
● Sensitizer and Photo Emulsion
● 250 Watts Light Bulb
● Latex Gloves
● T-Shirt
● Squeegee
● Silk Screen Fabric Ink
● Small Piece of Cardboard

Step 2: Create Your Image

This is a very crucial stage because what you do at this particular stage will determine the final design. Because you’re doing this for the first time, it’s advised that you create a simple image. Experts recommend that for your first time you should create a black image because it will help to block the light and burn the screen properly. Once you have picked the right image, print it using a laser printer to a transparency paper.

Step 3: Coat the Screen

Once you have printed the image on a laser printer, the next step is to coat the screen in emulsion. The emulsion usually comes in two parts. They include the emulsion itself and the sensitizer. Gently mix the two solutions together by following direction that the manufacturer has put in place then pour the mixture gently on the screen before spreading it on the screen using the squeegee. To get better print, experts advise that the emulsion should cover a larger area than the image to be printed. If you have to, repeat the process again until the screen is well coated to a point where you cannot see through it. Once you are done, take the screen to pitch black room and allow it to dry completely.

Step 4: Take the Image to the Screen

Before you expose the screen to light, lay down a blackboard then lay down the frame and the screen. Gently lay the transparency with the image to the screen where photo emulsion is located. Lay a small piece of glass over it to hold it tight. Gently move the lamp to a point where it is about two feet above the screen. Position the lamp together with a 250 watts bulb on the transparency with the image intact then leave the room. Make sure you don’t switch on any other light for about 15 minutes. Go back to the room then slowly pull the transparency up. At this point, you should be able to see faint blue blurred image on the screen. If the image looks good, then it is definitely time to clean it. On the other, if it does not look good, leave it intact for a few minutes then return back to the room to see the progress. You need to be very careful because if you over expose it to light then the image will bleed.

Step 5: Clean the Screen

Gently spray the screen with cold water then carefully observe when the image starts to flake off. Continue spraying on the screen until when you are able to see the image clearly. Hold the image on the light and observe to see if it looks exactly as the transparency. Once you have confirmed, allow the screen to dry.

Step 6: Print

Put your shirt of a flat surface then place a cardboard on the area that you want to print. Gently lay the screen on the t shirt and ensure that the design is exactly where you want to print. Pour ink gently across the screen’s top then use the squeegee to make smooth movement across the screen so as to exert a strong pressure. Repeat the process by running the squeegee down, up, left and right and ensure that you have used all ink on the t shirt. Gently lift the screen up then carefully pull the cardboard to complete the process.

Silk screening is not difficult as many people think it is. By following the steps mentioned above, you will be able to print custom t-shirts for yourself, friends, and family in any design you like.

Rob williams