DIY Silk Screen Printing
Ever wonder where to buy t-shirts in bulk for your new start-up company? Or where to get funky fonts that aren't available on Microsoft Word? Here is a short list of resources that we here at EZScreenPrint have found essential for creating and screen printing t-shirts.
Alpha Broder - This company has a HUGE selection of not only t-shirts, but pants, bags, infant clothing and more (a wholesale account is required to purchase from them). They provide over 50 brands of t-shirts including the ever so popular Gildan, Hanes, American Apparel and Bella + Canvas. They ship out of warehouses closest to your location, so you always receive your orders quickly. Check out their online eCatalog here
American Apparel - The extremely trendy clothing company provides all the latest styles in t-shirts and clothing. While a wholesale account is not required to purchase, it's ideal to get the best prices and bulk quantities. American Apparel shirts are available on Alpha Broder, but extensive styles are only available directly through them.
VECTOR IMAGES & DESIGNS
123RF - This website is a great resource for thousands of black & white, screen print appropriate, images and designs. A small fee is required to purchase an image, but it's to hand over the rights for you to use an image created by an artist. Of course, you can take images from Google, but doing so is taking images without consent of the owner. 123RF is a great place to find designs, quotes, and images to use for screen printing (legally, yay!). We recommend selecting "Vector Illustrations" when searching for an image.
iStock - iStock is another online image website that requires "credits" or a one time fee to purchase an image. A great backup or secondary image website to 123RF. Select "Illustrations" when searching for a design to use for screen printing.
Dafont - Dafont has thousands of free fonts that you can search by style, theme, or even holiday. With a PC, simply select your font and click "Download." Open the download which will show all available versions of the font. Click out of the download so you can see the folder itself (folder name will be the font name) and right click the folder; select Extract All. Select the box that says "Show extracted files when complete" and click Extract. After a few seconds, the download will pop back up, and the font will show an icon with "A" in the corner. The font is now ready to be copied. Click the start menu in the left hand corner of your screen, highlight Control Panel and open the Fonts folder. Drag the recently extracted font file and paste/drop it into the Fonts folder. Once it has copied over, the font will be available to use in Microsoft Word.
- Sloane Garwood
St. Patrick's Day Wood Greeting Sign 0
St. Patrick's Day Wood Greeting Sign
I'm excited to show you a St. Patrick's Day project "how-to" tutorial!
Firstly, I created a design based on a St. Patrick's Day blessing using Microsoft Word. Once I formatted it to fit the wood surface it would be transferred on, I printed it on transparency film and made the stencil. While the stencil was soaking in water, I prepped my area and started painting the piece of wood.
I covered my work area with brown protective paper. I gathered Speedball green screen printing ink, blue painters tape, and a foam brush.
I applied blue painters tape to the twine to protect it from getting painted green. (This step is not necessary if the wood piece did not include a twine hanger)
Using the foam brush and green Speedball ink, I painted the piece of wood.
Using the roll of blue painters tape as a prop, I painted all 4 sides of the wood piece. I allowed the ink to dry for about 30 minutes.
Here is a look at the stencil I created. I actually put two different designs on one 8.5"x11" EZScreen stencil.
I then cut the stencil to make two different screen print stencils.
I aligned the stencil on top of the wood piece.
I loaded the squeegee with white ink, and spread it evenly over the stencil.
I lifted the corners to make sure the ink went all the way through the stencil. If there were any voids, I would lay the stencil back down and go over that area again with ink.
I removed the stencil and washed it off immediately with water. I noticed the surface of the wood was very textured, so the words did not come out as crisp as I had hoped.
With a fine artist brush, I went over the design with green ink, to clean up any rough edges.
Wallah! I hung the sign by the front door as a St. Patrick's Day greeting sign! Thanks for reading :)
- Lana Simmons
St. Patrick's Day! 0
The fun drinking holiday is right around the corner! Make your own St. Patrick's Day t-shirts, beer mugs, wood signs, and more! Here are two designs that will be finished in the next few days:
How-To tutorials and photos coming soon!
- Lana Simmons
Techniques for Screen Printing on Wood 1
EZScreen stencils can be used for screen printing on wood. Personalized wooden signs are extremely popular, and now you can make your own! The techniques for screen printing wood are very similar to screen printing t-shirts, but here are some things we recommend if you are planning on making your own wood projects:
1 - Use Speedball screen printing inks
- Although Speedball inks are primarily used for fabric, they can work on most porous surfaces (that means wood, cardboard, and even paper!). You can screen print Speedball inks right onto untreated wood, or paint the wood using Speedball ink (allow to dry) and then screen print your design in a different color. Here’s an example:
This wood sign was painted with Speedball Opaque Raspberry ink, then screen printed with Speedball Opaque Pearly White ink.
2 - Don’t use a plastic frame
- Plastic frames are great when screen printing onto fabric and t-shirts, but there’s no need when printing on wood. We typically use a strip of blue painters tape on the top edge of the stencil, and apply screen printing ink in a downwards motion.
These wood coasters were screen printed with Speedball Black ink then sprayed with a waterproof polyurethane clear top coat.
3 - Use a brush to apply ink
- Larger designs can be printed easily using a squeegee, like the Valentine's Day sign, but we recommend using an artist brush when working with smaller designs. The wood coasters pictured above were screen printed using an artist brush.
4 - Standard EZScreen stencils
For most wood projects, Standard emulsion stencils will work just fine. Choose between our Basic Starter Kit with Standard stencils, or our Complete Starter Kits which include your choice of Speedball screen printing inks.
- Lana Simmons
Common Mistakes 1
Here is a list of common mistakes when making DIY EZScreen silk screen stencils and their solutions:
1 - Gray or color artwork
- It is critical to print opaque black artwork onto the transparency film. Color artwork or gray tones will cause the stencil to be over-exposed, as UV will pass right through and expose areas where it should be blocked. Only opaque black designs will result in a proper stencil.
2 - Printing artwork on paper
- Firstly, there are different types of paper and they will all require different exposure times. Because it is difficult to determine the exact exposure time depending on the paper that is being used, we do not recommend using it at all. Secondly, some paper will block UV exposure entirely and will not work to burn an EZScreen stencil. Use transparency film only.
3 - Not using the exposure unit provided on our website
- Many customers will try to save money by making their own exposure unit, however, this will create several problems. The clear exposure board in our exposure unit is made of non-UV blocking materials. Many pieces of glass or plexi contain UV blocking agents and will prevent the EZScreen stencil from being properly exposed. Also, a black board is required to be placed underneath the stencil during exposure to prevent any additional sunlight from exposing the underside.
4 - Not peeling the clear protective plastic from the stencil before exposure
- EZScreen stencils have a clear plastic attached to protect the emulsion. It is important to remove this plastic before burning to sunlight as it will prevent the emulsion from rinsing off during the soak process and block paint from passing through the stencil.
5 - Exposing the stencils on a cloudy day
- Yes, you can still get a tan when it's cloudy outside, however, clouds will prevent the EZScreen stencil from being properly exposed. Exposing the stencils in cloudy weather, in shady areas or inside through a window will result in under-exposure and the emulsion washing off in the soak process.
6 - Using artificial lights
- Some artificial lights will work to properly burn EZScreen DIY stencils. We have extensively tested two lights that are sold on our website and come with full exposure instructions. However, using your own artificial light may cause problems. We do not have exposure instructions for every light that is on the market. Because of this, the exposure time and distance from the stencil during exposure will need to be experimented by the customer. This will cause frustration if the perfect exposure time/distance is not figured out. We recommend using only direct sunlight or one of our tested artificial lights if sunlight is not obtainable.
7 - Not hardening the stencil
- After the EZScreen stencil has been exposed in direct sunlight and soaked in water for 10-15 minutes, make sure all the emulsion is removed in the design area (use a brush for any stubborn residue). After this process, it is important to lay the stencil back outside (shiny, emulsion side up facing the sun) to harden the stencil. This will make the emulsion permanent on the silk screen mesh. Blow drying the stencil is not equivalent to hardening it in the sun. When this step is skipped, the emulsion may peel or scratch off when it is being used with screen print ink or washed.
Note: We recommend using the small test pieces provided in every black bag before using an entire stencil. Print out your artwork onto transparency film, and place the small test piece over the most detailed part of the design. After the stencil has been burned, soaked, rinsed, and hardened, test it with ink/paint onto paper or a surface that can be discarded.
- Lana Simmons
Creating New Projects for the Website 0
It has been a BLAST making new projects to showcase on our new website! There are still some pages that are under construction, so we thank you for being patient.
- Sloane Garwood