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:

  1. 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.
  2. Create the stencil. Design your image and print it onto a transparency film, or use a vinyl cutter to punch out the stencil. 
  3. If you’re using vinyl, apply the stencil to the screen and tape off unused portions of the screen. You’re ready to print!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Wash the screen. Once exposed, wash the screen with water, removing the emulsion from the areas where the light was blocked by the stencil.
  7. 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.