Last week I shared Estelle's results from screen printing day. Today I'll share mine. I don't really have any "end results" but I got to do what I wanted to do and that was learning how to use Speedball Diazo Photoemulsion to make my own screens. Dharma Trading has links to several video tutorials for using Photoemulsion at the bottom of this page. I was going to take photos of the process but those videos are better than anything I would be able to put together.
I am so glad that I took this time to finally learn how to make these screens. It wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done. It is now that I know how to do it but, for me, it had a 1 bottle learning curve! I didn't have successful screens until the second bottle. But that's OK, it's much less expensive than the EZScreens and the Photoemulsion Remover works great!
My objective was to get good screen images with thick and thin lines. You really have to learn this by doing. It takes practice to learn how thick to apply the Photoemulsion. After the screen is covered you have to let it dry thoroughly in the dark. I prepared my images in transparency the same as for the EZScreen sheets. I eventually learned that I had to have acrylic glass to make sure that the transparency image stays in contact with the Photoemulsion surface during exposure. If the transparency does not stay in contact with the screen, the image will not burn clear.
I also learned that, for my screens, the exposure time in full sun is EXACTLY 1 minute. Any longer and the image will not release from the screen. The screens can handle pretty rough scrubbing to clear but it really takes several minutes of spraying water to get the image to release.
Here's an example of overexposure. Focus on that big area in the middle. Only the spots where you can see the bright white are the spots that released. The rest may look like it's OK, but it's not.
Here are the 3 screens that I created. The 2 on the left are from Dover book images. The one on the right is a photoshopped image that I took of tree bark.
The big screen in the back is this texture. After 3 tries I finally got the image to burn correctly. I will likely clear this (and the front screen). They did eventually burn well but I don't need to have wood frame screens dedicated to these designs. Besides, I have the transparencies and can always create them again.
I'll probably keep the tree bark because I think it will make a great background for lots of things.
Here's part of the tree bark image printed. I like it.
I also wanted to see if I could create my own screen frame. I really like the thermofax screens that I get from Lynn Krawczyk and love that she has them "loose" framed in duct tape. It makes them very easy to store and clean. I want to be able to make these screens, remove them from the frames and store them the way my thermofax screens are stored.
I created the duct tape frame from an old book binding. The book board is very sturdy and I covered it in duct tape to make it water resistant. I taped the screen to it with more duct tape making sure the screen was taught. After the Photoemulsion dried I burned it with this little skull image. After the image was bured I removed the screen fro the frame, trimmed it up and taped the edges.
It was the perfect tacky ending to these perfectly tacky cards that I will never send to anyone! But the point is that the impromptu screen framed worked great.
It may not seem like I accomplished much. I sort of didn't. But I finally used that 12 month old bottle of Photoemulsion! Now I know how to do it and will not be hesitant to creat my own screens in the future. I love it.