Thinking about trying out your trade on wood? Here’s a step by step guide to getting the best quality print possible.
Step 1: Choose a High-Quality Water-Based Ink
Water-based inks have gotten better and better over the years, and offer an eco-friendly option over plastisol inks. Ryonet’s Green Galaxy HSA Water Based Ink is friendly to the environment, stays wet in the screen longer, requires little or no chemicals for clean up, and looks and feels great on garments. Combine it with Green Galaxy Warp Drive and cure your prints without the need for a conveyor dryer.
Step 2: Decide How Much Detail You Want to Print
The level of detail in your design will determine your ideal screen mesh and the kind of wood grain you should screen print on. If you have a highly detailed print, you’ll need to use a higher mesh screen and a smooth grained piece of wood. Make sure you have about 1/8th of off-contact space between your screen and the wood. Now with highly detailed prints, you only have one shot to get the print. Make sure that your screen won’t move, it is actually a good idea to have someone hold it firmly in place while you print. Before you print make sure the screen is flooded and then make one solid pass with your squeegee.
If your print has less detail, such as a text, you can use a lower mesh screen and a rough grained piece of wood. Keep in mind, the wood grain will affect the appearance of your final piece. A smoother grain will give you a smoother print, whereas a rough grain will cause the print to look more “distressed”. Printing on rough wood is basically the same as with smooth wood, it is still screen printing on wood, except the number of passes increases with the texture of the wood. Make sure to pass over the print several times to be sure the ink clears the screen. Pull your print directly up from your design and you will have a awesome creative screen print on wood!
Step 3: Cure Your Print with a Convection Dryer or Warp Drive
To cure your wooden prints, you can run them through a conveyer dryer at 270 degrees a few times, or if you don’t have access to a conveyor dryer, simply add 1.5% Green Galaxy Warp Drive to your water based ink before printing. This will allow the ink to fully cure in about 1-2 days just from air-drying.
Ready to get started? Check out the video below for a step by step demo with Ryan.