DIY Silk Screen Printing
EZScreen FAQ 1
View our most frequently asked questions.
Q: What are EZScreen Stencils?
A: EZScreen Stencil is a material for creating custom stencils without the tedious process of cutting your own. Instead, it uses black and white images on transparency, sunlight and tap water to develop. And because it's based on silkscreen with a light sensitive coating, you can create very intricate designs that are virtually impossible with traditional stencils. Plus, no expensive equipment or toxic chemicals are required. EZScreen Stencils are reusable. Clean with plain tap water, latex paint remover, paint thinner or oil based paint remover; let dry and reuse. Glass etching creams won't harm EZScreen Stencil. Etch glass with the same stencil over and over again. When etching glass, be sure to use a light coating of stencil adhesive spray, tape, or slightly dampen the stencil. EZScreen Stencil becomes tacky when damp and will adhere to glass or hard surfaces.
- Learn more about EZScreen Stencils
- Click here for step-by-step instructions for creating your own screen print stencils.
Q: How do I know which EZScreen Stencil to use, Standard or HiDef?
A: There are a few things to consider when choosing Standard or HiDef.
Standard is typically used for fabric such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other porous surfaces. Standard is easier to clean after exposure to light source, easier to use when applying ink or paint, and is more suited for multiple printing. Standard is appropriate for most projects and can achieve incredible details. However, a mesh pattern transferred to the paint may be more visible, and the edges may not be as sharp on hard surfaces. Applying paint or ink to fabric or other types of porous surfaces will not have this problem.
HiDef is intended for artwork with smaller details or halftones. Typically used for hard surfaces such as glass and metal. HiDef has a higher thread count so the green residue may cling to the mesh making it harder to clean after exposure to light source. More pressure may be needed when applying paint or ink. Not all paints are suitable for HiDef, such as ceramic or metallic paints; the pigments may be too large and may not go through the mesh. It is important to test the paint first. You can achieve superb details with HiDef and the mesh transferred to the paint is less visible on hard surfaces.
Q: How long will the stencil last and how many times can it be used?
A: With proper care, EZScreen Silk Screen Stencils will last a long time and can be used over and over again. After applying ink or paint immediately clean the stencil, let it completely dry then use it again and again. Do not allow paint to dry on stencil.
Q: Can EZScreen Stencil be exposed on a cloudy or overcast day?
A: No. Exposure time may vary too much if it’s cloudy or overcast, therefore, we DO NOT recommend exposing on a cloudy or overcast day as it may filter the UV at different levels. Expose EZScreen Stencil in DIRECT SUNLIGHT only. You can expose EZScreen Stencil anytime day or night with our exposure light units.
Q: Can EZScreen Stencil print in multiple colors?
A: Typically no. EZScreen stencil is intended for one color printing. The color separation is a challenge. The silkscreen mesh will shift and will not align properly for the next layer of color. However, you can achieve simple multi color application that does not require precision registration, such as a heart on an "I heart New York" t-shirt.
Q: Can EZScreen Stencils be cut to the size I need?
A: Yes, you can cut EZScreen Stencil to the size you need. Allow at least a half-inch border all around the artwork.
Q: What can I use to hold the stencil in place?
A: Use tape or try stencil adhesive spray. Just a light spray will do the job. The stencil will remain tacky even after cleaning it. For hard surfaces, wet the stencil, then blot on paper towels. The stencil becomes tacky when wet and adheres to hard surfaces like glass, plastic, and metal. Make sure the stencil is not too wet otherwise the paint will bleed.
Q: How large are the EZScreen Stencil sheets?
A: Our regular sheets are 8.5"x11". Mini kits comes in smaller sheets 4.25"x5.5". Our largest size is the EZScreen Large Stencil, 11"x17", to be used with the large exposure frame 13"x19" sold separately.
Q: Will EZScreen Stencil work with printed circuit board (PCB)?
A: In theory it should, however, since printed circuit boards require precise alignment, it is not recommended. The fact that EZScreen Stencil comes in sheets can cause it to deform beyond the ability to make a good circuit board.
Q: Can I make EZScreen Stencil with halftones?
A: Yes. Unlike traditional plastic stencils that are essentially silhouettes, our stencils can do halftones and line art and even contain floaters. Test out a small piece first before committing to a larger piece of EZScreen Stencil. Use larger dot per inch halftones. For best results use transparency printed on the best print quality and heavy ink. EZScreen HiDef Stencil is recommended for more detailed images and halftones.
Q: How do I clean the EZScreen Stencil?
A: EZScreen Stencil typically cleans with regular tap water, soap and water, latex paint remover, acetone or paint thinner. Type of cleaner depends on the paint being removed. Test small area before cleaning. Although EZScreen silk screening stencils are fairly rugged, do not scrub film side, fold or ring out to dry. After cleaning, place on flat surface on top of paper towels for drying or plastic canvas. Lay stencil with shiny (tacky) side facing up. Note: Never place shiny side of EZScreen silks creen on any surface while drying. Doing so will cause the stencil to stick to the surface. If this happens, re-soak the silk screen stencil until it releases.
Q: Do I need a photographic dark room to develop EZScreen Stencils?
A: No. EZScreen Stencils can tolerate a few minutes of exposure to light levels found in typical homes as long as it is kept several feet away from artificial light sources and is protected from direct sunlight. Minimize exposure to florescent tubes; they emit more UV energy then incandescent bulbs. Illuminate work area with yellow bug lights (60 watts or less) if additional lighting/working time is desired. Fully developed EZScreen silk screen stencils do not require protection from light. Do not remove protective clear backing until ready for use. Once backing is removed, handle EZScreen silk screen stencil from edges only. Avoid putting fingerprints or scratching surface of photosensitive film.
Q: How should I store EZScreen Stencils?
A: Keep undeveloped EZScreen Stencils in black bag and store in refrigerator. Protect from freezing and high humidity. Ideal temperature range is 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. EZScreen Stencils degrades quickly above 110 degrees.
Q: Does EZScreen Stencils have a shelf life?
A: Yes. We recommend you use it within six months of purchase. Shelf life can be dramatically affected by temperature conditions while storing. For longer shelf life, store undeveloped EZScreen Screen Printing Stencil in your refrigerator.
Note: Once the stencil has been developed there is NO longer a shelf life. Be sure to store the stencil flat such as in a folder or sheet protector in a binder.
Q: Can I use my own artificial light source to expose EZScreen Stencil?
A: Many artificial light sources may work. However, there are too many to know what the individual exposure time would be or if it will work properly at all. Therefore, we do not support alternative light sources, other than our own exposure light unit. If you choose to use your own artificial light source, you will need to experiment with the exposure time using small test pieces. Halogen and blue lights do not work. Use direct sunlight if possible, or our own exposure light unit.
Q: What do I need to get started?
A: If you are new to EZScreen Stencils, view our Help Guide - Getting Started page.
- Lana Simmons
National Mom & Pop Business Owner's Day 0
Every year on March 29th, we celebrate National Mom & Pop Business Owner's Day. As a small, family owned and operated company, we work hard to provide our customers with quality products and exceptional customer service! Thank you for choosing us for your DIY screen printing needs and for your continued business over the years.
"National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day celebrates small business owners. These individuals spend countless hours nurturing and growing their young enterprises. The workload demands, and lack of a hired staff, often translates into long and late hours, and many missed family and personal events. But, all in all, they love what they do. After all, they are their own boss.
New businesses have always been a vital, yet not fully appreciated, part of the U.S. economy. On the retail side, they bring different and unique products to the marketplace. They provide stellar and personal service support. When you call, you are more likely to get a real, live person. And unlike big national chains, they know their products. They are outstanding performers in niche markets. In manufacturing, they create many new concepts and ideas, making them creators of new products.
Celebrate National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day by showing your support....shop their stores today, and everyday." - HolidayInsights.com
Lana started EZScreenPrint back in 2004. After years of living in the Bay Area and commuting 4 hours to work each day, she realized something needed to change. But, as a single mom to a teenage daughter, it wasn't going to be easy. After a trial and error period, EZScreenPrint was born, and Lana was able to dedicate her time to growing a new business. A few years later, I was asked to help run and manage the company. Working along side my mom since 2008 has grown my appreciation for her and all her years of hard work. I am so proud to be her daughter, and to work with such an amazing woman everyday.
We hope our dedication to this company creates trust with our customers, and future customers to come.
- Lana Simmons
DIY Screen Printed Wedding Coasters 9
Spring is in the air! No really, today marks the first day of Spring, which means it's wedding season!
I am recently engaged and I couldn't be any happier! Until, I realized how expensive weddings are. Yikes! Of course I want the big white wedding, but at what cost? I will definitely be cutting corners and "DIYing" any aspect of my wedding as I can, to save as much mullah as possible. So, I started with coaster designs. I have created one so far that will be screen printed onto wood coasters. The process is SUPER easy, I don't know who wouldn't DIY their wedding!
I searched online for design references. Using a WordDoc, I created my own custom wedding design and picked out a simple 4"x4" wood coaster. Blank coasters can be found at several sources, including online retailers and local craft supply stores. Once I made the stencil (Look here to see a tutorial on making an EZScreen stencil) I screen printed 10 coasters in a row using Speedball white screen printing ink and Standard EZScreen stencils.
I will also be screen printing mason jars to use as drinking glasses and also as flower vases. A "screen printed mason jar" tutorial will be coming soon!
- Sloane Garwood
DIY Alfred Hitchcock Screen Printed T-Shirt - Part 2 1
The DIY screen print stencil has been made, so now it's time to make the t-shirt!
Click this link to view DIY Alfred Hitchcock Screen Printed T-Shirt - Part 1
I inserted a piece of cardboard into the shirt, to prevent screen printing ink from seeping to the back. Using blue painters tape, I attached the stencil to a plastic frame.
Then adjusted the stencil on top of the shirt.
Using a wooden stick, I loaded a 4 inch squeegee with black Speedball screen printing ink.
In a downwards motion, I silk screened the EZScreen stencil with the ink, making sure I covered the entire design.
After lifting up a corner or two to make sure the ink went all the way through, I lifted the stencil off and submerged it immediately in water. (You can remove the frame before soaking in water or after).
And Wallah! A finished t-shirt! Allow the Speedball ink to air dry for at least an hour before handling the t-shirt.
- Sloane Garwood
DIY Alfred Hitchcock Screen Printed T-Shirt - Part 1 0
This last Saturday, March 12th was National Alfred Hitchcock Day. In light of this unusual but marvelous holiday, I decided to make my own custom Hitchcock t-shirt. Here is my process, starting with the artwork:I started by converting this side profile silhouette image into black and white on Paint Shop Pro version 7 (super old, I need a more recent version!) using the "Threshold" method.
Once the image was edited, I opened it on a WordDoc, and created some text to make it more custom.
I loaded the transparency into my printer, making sure the image would print on the textured side which allows the printer ink to dry and remain permanent.
After the silk screen stencil and transparency were put in between the clear and black board, I secured all sides with clips.
Follow this link to view complete How-To Make a Stencil instructions.I exposed the screen print stencil in direct sunlight for 1 minute. If applicable, angle the stencil so it is perpendicular with the sun.
After exposure, I submerged the stencil in water and allowed to soak for 10 minutes.
Most of the emulsion will lift off while soaking in water, but some extra TLC will be needed to remove any excess.
Once the emulsion has been washed off and the stencil patted dry, let it cure under sunlight for 5-10 minutes (emulsion side facing up).
After the stencil has completely dried, it's ready for screen printing! View Alfred Hitchcock T-Shirt Part 2
- Sloane Garwood
St. Patrick's Day Projects 0
I created two St. Patrick's Day projects in spirit of the holiday, so I definitely will not be getting pinched this year!
The first project was a custom t-shirt. I found this great design on www.123rf.com and created a stencil. You can make it even more custom by creating your own design, and picking your own font using a Word Doc.
After the stencil was created (click this link to view our How-To Make an EZScreen Stencil tutorial) I used white Speedball ink to screen print the t-shirt.
My second project was a wood sign that I will use to display during my St. Patty's Day party. How cool is this calendar design? It was also found on www.123rf.com and I plan to make some other cool projects with the same design.
I purchased a wood block at Michaels, and painted it with green Speedball ink. After the ink dried and I made my EZScreen stencil, I printed it with white Speedball ink. It's really that easy!
- Sloane Garwood