While pre-made screens can be purchased, creating your own DIY screen can be a cost-effective and rewarding option. Here's how to do it:
- Choose your screen. A simple and inexpensive option is to use a wood screen, or aluminum screens for more longevity. Choose a mesh with a low count, such as 110, which will allow ink to pass through easily.
- Create the stencil. Design your image and print it onto a transparency film, or use a vinyl cutter to punch out the stencil.
- If you’re using vinyl, apply the stencil to the screen and tape off unused portions of the screen. You’re ready to print!
- When burning your own screen, next apply the emulsion. Apply a layer of photosensitive emulsion onto the mesh screen, following the instructions on the emulsion bottle. Be sure to apply the emulsion evenly and cover the entire screen.
- Expose the screen. Place the transparency film onto the emulsion-coated screen and secure it in place with a sheet of glass. Expose the screen to UV light for the recommended amount of time, depending on the emulsion used.
- Wash the screen. Once exposed, wash the screen with water, removing the emulsion from the areas where the light was blocked by the stencil.
- Dry the screen. Allow the screen to dry completely before using it for printing.
Creating your own DIY screen for screen printing is a cost-effective and fun way to experiment with the process. With a few simple materials and some patience, you can create a custom screen that will allow you to produce high-quality prints on a variety of materials.