Screen-printing is one of the most versatile print mediums available. From the home innovations of the DIY printer to applications in the computer-circuit-board industry, screen-printing can be beautifully simple or endlessly subtle and complex depending on one’s own depth of interest. It’s basic elements are a stencil, medium (ink usually), a substrate (what you print on), and a way of pushing ink through the stencil onto the substrate (usually a squeegee). The advantage of using a screen with a stencil, instead of just a paper stencil, is the level of detail that can be achieved, indeed photo-realism can be screen-printed. But even the highly detailed screen-print is as simple in concept as a cardboard stencil and spray-paint.
The way we make our screens is with a photo-emulsion stencil, which is commonly used in graphics and textile screen-printing. This involves coating the screen on both sides with a photo-sensitive emulsion. Printing off a computer or drawing a transparency (like an overhead projector). Once the screen dries, you place the transparency on the screen and the screen on some glass, and you zap it with some sort of UV light source. We use the sun or a light table with fluorescent unfiltered UV lights. The parts of the screen that are under the ink or toner from the transparency will remain unexposed and will washout with water. Once it dries, the stencil is prepared. The screen-printing ink is pushed through the open parts of the stencil on to substrate.
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