DIY Silk Screen Printing

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Making a Custom Silk Screen Stencil 0

If you don't want to make your own stencils, we'll do it for you! EZScreen Custom Made Stencils are pre-burned with YOUR artwork and are ready to use! 

Our custom pre-burned stencils are made with EZScreen Standard stencils with 110 mesh. Silk screen stencils are durable and re-usable on different surfaces and with different paints. You can use screen printing inks, ceramic paints or under-glazes, acrylic and glass paint, and so on. Be sure to use an ink/paint with a thick or pudding-like consistency to prevent bleeding. EZScreen Custom Stencils are typically used for fabric such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags and other porous surfaces like ceramics, wood, cardboard, and paper. 

Choose between a custom silkscreen stencil only, or unattached with a plastic frame (recommended for multiple printing).

YOUR ARTWORK:

  • MUST BE APPROVED BEFORE PURCHASE 
  • A PURE BLACK design on a white background only 
  • High quality; no pixilation or jagged edges
  • PDF or JPEG format only - Artwork must be PRINT READY and ACTUAL size 
  • Minimum 1/2" to 1" border around artwork
  • Can be horizontal or vertical
  • Upon artwork approval, an image/design that requires simple editing will have an additional fee

SIMPLE EDITING INCLUDES:

  • Converting to a pure black image from gray-scale
  • Down-sizing a high resolution image to appropriate stencil size
  • Minimum $10 for artwork fees

The degree of editing and labor time will result in individualized artwork fees (minimum $10). All fees will be discussed with the customer prior to completion.

      Custom images can include text, clipart, logos, images, or a combination of all these. Script or thin fonts will have to be larger, as very fine lines may not come out well. No fonts smaller than 20 pt typed on a WordDoc. 

      Important Note: Custom silkscreen stencils can take up to 3 days to complete in addition to our regular 1-2 business days for processing.

      Because custom stencils cannot be resold, we do not accept returns or refunds.

      Click here to purchase your custom made stencil!

      • Sloane Garwood

      How to Make an EZScreen DIY Silk Screen Stencil Tutorial 2

      Making an EZScreen Stencil
      Detailed instructions are included in all kits and refill packs.

       

      DIY Screen Printing - Printing the Transparency Artwork
      Start by printing your artwork on either the Ink Jet or Laser/Copier transparency provided in the EZScreen Basic or Complete Kit. View detailed instructions of printing your artwork if you need further assistance or tips. 

       

      DIY Screen Printing - Peel Backing on Clear Board
      Peel off the protective backing on both sides of the clear board (part of the exposure board unit).

       

      DIY Screen Printing - Center the Transparency on Clear Board
      Center artwork on the clear board so it is legible if there is wording.

       

      DIY Screen Printing - Peel Clear Backing from Stencil
      Peel clear protective backing from EZScreen Stencil. Discard clear backing.

       

      DIY Screen Printing - Center Stencil on Transparency
      Place EZScreen Stencil on artwork, shiny (emulsion) side down.

       

      DIY Silk Screen Printing - Add Black Felt Board
      Add black board (part of the exposure board unit) felt side down.

       

      DIY Screen Printing - Add Clips to Exposure Unit
      DIY Screen Printing - Be Sure Clips do Not Cover Stencil
      Add Clips. Flip over to be sure the clips do not cover the stencil and artwork during exposure. Your artwork will appear reversed. 

       

      DIY Silk Screen Printing - Cover Stencil
      Cover the stencil with something opaque, like the chipboard provided in the stencil packs. Keep the stencil covered to prevent additional light from pre-exposing the stencil until you are ready to expose to light source.

       

      DIY Silk Screen Printing - Expose the Stencil
      Remove the cover and expose outside in direct sunlight for 1 minute. Use something to prop the exposure unit perpendicular to the sun if necessary. After one minute, cover exposure unit again with chipboard to prevent over exposure.
      Temperature does not matter; however, summer months may take less time to expose than winter months. Exposure time may vary per location, time of day, etc.
      If sunlight is not available, we strongly recommend using one of our tested artificial lights to expose the stencils. Using your own light may result in over or under exposed stencils.

       

      DIY Screen Printing - Soak the Stencil
      Soak in a sink or bucket of tap water for a minimum of 15 minutes. A ghost image will appear.

       

      DIY Screen Print - Rinse the Stencil
      Use a plastic canvas to support the EZScreen stencil during rinsing. Rinse with cold or lukewarm tap water. A kitchen sprayer works great. If needed, use a soft brush to remove excess residue on the emulsion side of the stencil (reversed side). Be sure all the emulsion residue is completely rinsed off otherwise the ink will not go through the silkscreen.

       

      DIY Silk Screen Printing - Cure the Stencil
      Cure the stencil in sunlight. This process solidifies the emulsion to the silk screen mesh, making it permanent and reusable.
      Emulsion side should be facing up towards sunlight (5-10 minutes). If it's windy, place weights on the stencil like tiles from a hardware store. Rotate the tiles so the stencil cures evenly.

       

      Custom DIY Silk Screen Printing Stencil
      Now your EZScreen DIY screen print stencil is ready to use!

       

      DIY Screen Printing - Test the Exposure Process
      We strongly recommend testing this process first with the small EZScreen test piece provided in every black bag. Do not print a different transparency or design for this step as you want to test the desired artwork. Place the small test piece over the most detailed portion of the design and follow the steps above. If you encounter any problems with the test piece, view our Troubleshooting page for help or contact us right away for assistance.

       

      View our How-To Make a DIY Screen Printing Stencil video:

       

      • Sloane Garwood

      Screen Printing on Wet / Leather-hard Clay Tutorial 0

      Screen Printing on Clay Process by Edie Marie Ceramics
      View her step-by-step process full of helpful tips

       

      There are many different techniques for transferring images onto clay. EZScreen provides a low cost and low barrier of entry method to transferring images to clay through screen printing. The following text details the process I have learned and developed for using EZScreen with wet/leather hard clay. You can follow me on Instagram @ediemarieceramics to see more process photos and examples of using EZScreen on clay!

      Please note: My process is not the only process for using EZScreen with clay. Far from it! Like with all of ceramics, it is only through experimentation with and application to your specific work that you will discover what works best for you.

      Step 1: Preparing the Printing Medium

      Slip, engobes, or underglaze can all be used for screen printing. Personally, I like using underglaze because the particles are very fine, pass through the screen easily, and result in a very clean, crisp print. Regardless of the material you choose, the preparation is similar.

      1a. Thickening the Underglaze

      Straight out of the can, underglaze is the perfect viscosity for painting, but not for printing on wet/leather hard clay. For screen printing the viscosity should be thick and smooth, not watery and runny.

      In order to thicken the underglaze, water needs to be evaporated from the underglaze. Transfer the underglaze to a wide mouth container, and let it sit out for several days (the actual length of time depends on the underglaze and your climate). The more surface area exposed to air, the quicker it will dry and thicken. As the underglaze dries out, a thick skin and dried edges will develop.

       

      Drying Ceramic Underglaze for DIY Screen Printing Process
      Underglaze drying in a wide mouth container. A thick skin of underglaze has developed and dried at the edges.

       

      Incorporate the skin and dried edges by stirring the underglaze. Repeat this drying out process until the underglaze is thickened. Just how “thick” is difficult to describe exactly. Some points of reference: 1) It should stay on a spoon/mixer when lifted from the container; and 2) It should also be thicker than the acrylic screen printing medium that is added in the next step. When in doubt, let the underglaze dry out and thicken more than you think it needs to. Adding a little bit of water later is an easy adjustment to make. If you’re mixing slip or engobe to print with, simply make a thicker batch by adding less water.

       

      Thickening Ceramic Underglaze for Screen Printing
      Thickened underglaze ready for transparent acrylic screen printing medium to be added. Notice that the underglaze is thick enough that it is clumped on the palette knife.

       

      The next step is to add transparent acrylic screen printing medium. SpeedballⓇ has a transparent base that works well for this application. This will burn off in the firing and has no effect on color. Adding the acrylic medium prevents the underglaze from drying too quickly in the screen and adds to the “ink-like” quality you’re looking for. When printing multiple registrations in a row, it is important that the screen not get clogged. If the acrylic medium was not added to the underglaze, it would dry quickly, clog the screen, and require the screen to be washed in-between prints. This is time consuming. You do not want to do this.

      For a full 16oz. jar of underglaze, I add about 7 spoonfuls of the acrylic medium. I wish I had an exact ratio to give you, but I don’t. Every underglaze pigment is a little different and requires a different amount. Be wary of adding too much, though! Too much acrylic medium will turn the underglaze into a watery soup and will result in messy registrations. So, go slow, experiment, and add little by little, until you like what you’re working with.

       

      Speedball Transparent Base Ceramic Underglaze Screen Print Process
      A) Speedball transparent screen printing base.
      B) Adding the transparent base to the thickened underglaze. Notice the viscosity of the acrylic medium compared to the previous photo of the thickened underglaze. It is smoother and thinner than the thickened underglaze.
      C) Mixing the transparent base with the underglaze.
      D) Fully incorporated transparent base. The result is a thick, smooth, almost paste-like medium perfect for printing. Also, notice how the underglaze stays on the palette knife compared to before the acrylic medium was added (see the previous photo). The contrast in viscosity will help you determine when you have added enough. Be careful to not add too much acrylic medium! It will make the underglaze too thin which could result in messy registrations.

       

      Step 2: Printing on Wet/Leather Hard Clay

      The reason I love using EZScreen is because it allows me to print directly onto clay. Because the screens are unbound by a frame and flexible, they conform to slightly irregular and rounded surfaces. There are limitations, however, to how the screen can bend and still produce a crisp registration when applied directly to clay. And so, printing first onto newsprint and then transfering is always an option. The method you choose is up to you! If printing onto newsprint, I would reference the EZScreen printing instructions for other flat surfaces (like paper or fabric). If you would like to try printing directly onto wet/leather hard clay, the following text includes some tips and tricks.

      2a. Soak the Screen

      Before printing, the screen needs to be soaked in water. This makes the screen flexible, so that it can wrap around curved surfaces and conform to irregular surfaces. It also gives the screen a bit of “tack” to help keep it in place when printing.

      After the screen has soaked and is flexible, remove the screen from the water and place in-between two towels to soak up excess water.

       

      Custom Silk Screen Stencils for Clay Printing
      Screens soaking in preparation for use and towels used to dry excess water from the screen before being used.

       

      The towels will do a good job getting most of the water off of the screen, but some water will remain trapped in the screen’s mesh. Printing while this water is still in the screen will result in a messy registration. Anything that makes the underglaze you’ve prepared more watery will tend to make it ooze out from under the screen. Breaking the surface tension of this trapped water with your fingers, blowing on it, or letting it sit out a bit longer to dry are all ways to get this last bit of water out of the screen.

       

      DIY Silk Screen Stencils for Ceramic Clay Screen Printing
      Left: Water still trapped in the mesh of the screen. Right: Water completely removed and ready for printing.

       

      2b. Preparing the Clay

      Like the rest of the ceramic process, there is a sweet spot for when it is best to print directly onto clay. When you choose to screen print onto the clay depends, in part, on your desired outcome for the surface of your form. In my experience, you want to print while the clay has a good amount of moisture still in it. When the clay is close to or completely bone dry, it quickly sucks up the moisture in the underglaze you have prepared and will result in a spotty registration and an instantly clogged screen.

      2c. Printing Directly onto Wet/Leather Hard Clay

      Traditional screen printing involves loading the screen with ink, placing the screen on the printing surface, and then pressing a squeegee down the screen to push the ink through the screen and onto the printing surface. When printing directly onto clay, I have found that a crisp registration requires a similar approach.

      After placing the screen on the form where I want it to go, I use a sponge to transfer the underglaze onto the screen. This step loads the screen with underglaze, but it does not adequately distribute the underglaze through the screen and onto the form. To push the underglaze through the screen and onto the form, I prefer to use my finger to rub down the entire printing area. This way I can feel any areas that may need a bit more underglaze, press into an irregular part of the surface, or even print around a curve. If you are printing onto a flat surface, such as a slab before you alter it, you can choose to use a rib like a squeegee to push the underglaze through.

      Before taking the screen off the form, I lift an edge to reveal the registration below to make sure it is a clean and crisp registration. More times than not, there will be a spot that needs a bit more underglaze pushed through the screen. To remedy this, I simply lay the screen edge that I have lifted back down and use my finger to push a little more underglaze over that area.

       

      Screen Printing on Leatherhard Wet Clay
      A) Placing the screen on the form where I want the pattern to be transferred.
      B) Loading the screen with undergalze using a sponge.
      C) Pushing the undergalze through the screen using my finger to capture all the details and conform to the irregular surface and curved edges.
      D) Lifting the edge of the screen to reveal the registration to see if any areas need more undergalze pushed through the screen.

       

      Below is a set of screen printed rainbow mugs made by me that were screen printed while leather hard. The EZScreen was wrapped around the curved form, and my finger was used to apply the multiple underglaze colors. The options for using EZScreen on clay are countless. Start experimenting today to develop your own unique technique!

      DIY Screen Printed Ceramic Mugs
      Screen printed rainbow mugs by @ediemarieceramics.

      • Sloane Garwood

      Custom Made Silkscreen Stencils 0

      Introducing Custom Made Silkscreens

      We now offer 3 unique DIY screen printing products so there is something for everyone!

      1- Our original product, the DIY screen print kit, allows customers to make their own custom stencils using our pre-coated silkscreens in a compact, easy to use package. Choose between our Basic Kit (best seller), the Complete t-shirt screen printing kit, or the Mini kit, which is great for small prints or testing out our products.

      DIY Screen Printing Basic Starter Kit

      Basic DIY Screen Printing Starter Kit

       

      Complete T-Shirt Screen Printing Kit

      Complete DIY T-Shirt Screen Printing Kit

       

      Mini Introductory DIY Screen Printing Kit

      Mini (Introductory) DIY Screen Printing Kit

       

      2- Now, we have introduced our line of Ready-To-Use silkscreen stencils that come in a variety of designs and sizes. These stencils can be used just like the stencils included in our DIY kits. Use them on t-shirts, pillows, wood, glass, ceramic, polymer clay, tile, and more. We are continuously adding new designs to suit a wide range of customers.

      Ready to Use Silkscreen Printing Stencils

      Ready-To-Use Silk Screen Stencils

       

      3- If you would like to skip doing it yourself completely, email us a JPEG or PDF copy of your artwork and we will make your silkscreen stencil for you! 

      Custom Made Silk Screen Stencil

      Custom Made to Order Silk Screen Stencil

      • Sloane Garwood

      About EZScreen: DIY Screen Printing Kits & Stencils 0

      EZScreen precoated silk screen emulsion stencils are a user-friendly product for creating custom stencils to use on fabric, t-shirts, metal, wood, paper, glass, ceramic, plastic, cardboard, tile, polymer clay and more! EZScreen stencils are a unique material made from fine silkscreen mesh coated with light sensitive, water-soluble emulsion. It uses black designs printed on transparency film, sunlight, and tap water to develop.

      Take your traditional silk screen, remove the metal or wooden frame, do away with all those nasty chemicals, liquid emulsion and solvents. What do you end up with? EZScreen; a simple yet innovative product for creating custom screen printing stencils without cutting. And because it's based on the old tried and true method of screen printing and photography, it's much more versatile than plastic stencils.   

      However, unlike conventional screen-printing that relies on complicated chemicals and block-out paint, our mesh is already coated with a light-sensitive emulsion that only requires sunlight and plain tap water to develop. This allows you to create custom screenprinting stencils with amazing details, plus, no expensive and bulky equipment or liquid emulsions are required. EZScreen stencils are flexible and can be used on a number of surfaces with a large variety of paints.

      EZScreen stencils are reusable clean up with tap water.

      Anyone can use EZScreen Stencils

      You don't need to be a skilled artist to use EZScreen emulsion stencils; anyone can screen print with professional results. Use it on fabric to create your own custom t shirts – just like the t-shirt printing shops. Design funny t-shirts for friends. Amaze your family members with family reunion t-shirts. Screen print custom polo shirts for club members, personalized t-shirts for your Internet business, or for school fund raising and other types of charity organizations.   

      EZScreen stencils are not limited to t-shirt screen printing; try our screen printing kit to start your own screen printing business. EZScreen stencils are ideal for DIY screen printing decorative dishware, personalized coffee mugs, silk screen printing ceramic tiles; practically all ceramic or pottery projects. EZScreen stencils are very popular with polymer clay artists and particularly suited to polymer clay jewelry. They also work great on natural and coated wood; perfect for creating custom wood signs!

      Create lasting memories with beautiful wedding albums or photo album covers and inserts for your baby memory books. Build creative memories with custom scrap booking pages. Use it with your rubber stamps to add a custom touch to your paper art projects. Create unique professional looking artwork with custom silk screening designs. From t-shirt screen printing, to adding a custom design on ceramic plates, let your imagination go wild!

      • Sloane Garwood