Repost: Screen Printing–Part 2–Screens

Bringing back some old stuff  from the deep web after talking with designer/screen printer extraordinaire Jon Johnson last week. This post was pre-kwartzlab, back when we were nomadic makers, building the community, under the temporary MakeKW banner.  So cool to see the same spirit in action today, six years later, at kwartzlab and in the broader community.  Proud?  Yer damned right I am.  -DW







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I did up my shirt designs in Illustrator and printed them out on transparencies. With materials gathered and time short, it was time to make the screens.

Continuing from Part 1…

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I ripped the gessoed canvas off the $2 frames from the dollar store…

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Then rough cut the polyester fabric with a healthy margin around the frame.

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I wet the fabric, which maybe wasn’t strictly necessary/helpful and started stretching and stapling it across the frame just like in the old art school days in Zavitz Hall when we built our own stretchers for painting classes. You start at the middle of each side, alternately stapling opposite sides, and work toward the corners.

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Aaaand, failure. As the fabric tightened up nicely as stretching progressed, the staples also not-so-nicely ripped through the fabric.  Opportunity For Learning (OFL, say AW-ful).

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After some thinking about how this gets solved in other applications, I reasoned that smearing some carpenter’s glue into the fabric around the staples would make a much stronger anchor, but the question was what would happen first: the strengthening or the ripping. Well, the experimentation is all…

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So the smearing began and happily it worked very well.

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Screens tight as a drum and mechanically robust.

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Since I was doing multiple screens, I wanted to separate but also stack them, so I jammed a push pin into each corner…

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So they just kind of floated over each other…

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in their light-tight box.

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I set up another box and the materials for treating the screens with the photo-sensitive mask emulsion. No further photos here as I had to do this step in near total darkness so as not to prematurely activate the mask. Foreshadowing: painting this stuff on in the dark using The Force led to unexpected results.


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