#1 Create a Design
Using Adobe Illustrator or other vector based program design your design. Then print your design on transparencies suitable for inkjet printers. For 2 colors, you will have 2 different documents and transparencies.
#2 Coat the Screen
Coat the screen in emulsion using the scoop coater. Fill the tray with the emulsion then put the tray at the base of the screen (not directly against the frame). Next, tilt the scooper so the emulsion is touching the screen. Then pull the scooper up, while placing a little bit of presssure to leave a thin coat of emulsion. When you get to the top of the screen, tilt the scooper back so the emulsion falls back into the scooper. Continue this across the screen making a thin even layer. Repeat these steps on the back side of the screen.
Once the screen is coated, leave it to dry in a dark area! You do not want to start the emulsion reaction early.
Dry Time: 45min - 2hr
#3 Burning the Screen
Using a UV light table, take your transparency image place on top of light table glass. Prior to activating UV light on table, place coated screen face down onto transparency image. Place blockout board on top of screen. This prevents outside light hitting the screen. Activate the UV light for 2-4 minutes. Once time is up remove the screen and if necessary repeat for additional screens.
#4 Wash out Emulsion
Everywhere the light has hit the emulsion (everywhere that wasn't black on the transparency) has hardened. Now you need to wash the screen to clean out the remaining, un hardened, emulsion. This will leave the silk of your design open for ink to come through. **Make sure screen is completely dry before starting the next step.**
Dry Time: 30min - 1hr
#5 Register the Screen
Now you will need to line up your t-shirt, or other medium you want to print on with the screen. Typically, you put the transparency design underneath the screen, and line up the registration marks. Once the transparency is lined up, tape down pieces of chipboard on the top and left side near the corner. This way, you can line up the product to those pieces of chipboard to ensure a straight print every time.
#6 Tape Off Screen
Before inking the screen, you will need to tape off all the extra areas that weren't covered with emulsion. Specificially the edges. You may also need to cover the registration mark(s). You will want to tape those on the back side of the screen so it doesn't get pulled up by the squeege.
#7 Preparing the Platen & Screen for Printing
Now that you have the screen taped off you can add the ink color of your choice to the screen. Depending on the amount of shirts or garments to be printed place the amount of ink according to this amount. You may end up needing more depending so make sure you have the proper amount in stock.
The platen is the wooden board that your garment is to be placed on. Most screen printing machines have between 4 and 8 platens. First take platen tape which is tape normally the size of the platen and cover each one completely. Next take some platen glue and generously coat the platen so that when you place your garment down it wont lift back up when you press in the ink.
Glue Dry Time: 5min - 15min
Total Preparation Time before Printing: 30min - 1 1/2hrs
#8 Printing the Image
Place your t-shirt, onto the wooden platen. Then put the squeege at the top of the screen. Keep it at about a 45 degree angle and while pushing down with some pressure, pull it towards you. This will push the ink through the screen and onto your paper. You can also use the method of pushing away from you to push the ink through the screen.
#9 Lift and Repeat
Lift the screen and pull out your printed piece! Some workstations have a vaccum underneath to hold down the garment while you lift the screen, in case the screen wants to stick to the shirt.
Now just repeat for as many pieces as you want.
#10 Cleaning and Reclaiming
Once you are done with your pieces, scrape all the remaining ink back into the container. Remove the tape, and wash all the ink out of the screen. Apply the emulsion remover, and scrub the screen clean of all the emulsion.
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