Today we did some screen-printing too!
Instead of receiving pre-made Christmas cards, everyone printed their cards, learnt a new skill and took home a keepsake (another relic from a GM session ; this post goes out to my drawing learners as well).
On a side note: the fired uncollected ceramic pieces worked really well as paperweights! Spontaneous but ingenious way to hold down the printed cards while everyone helped to dry the works using the hairdryer.
Paper Stencil Silkscreen Printing Process
Step 1 :
A simple design was drawn on cartridge paper* (165gsm) , and then cut (papercut) and then adhered to the silkscreen** with masking tape.
The screen was then registered (positioned) on the desk, with hinges and markings made using masking tape.
The card was also registered under the screen with the design, using masking tape again.
Silkscreen ink*** was then placed above the design
Have a friend hold down the screen, then use a squeegee to push the ink through the screen, as you pull the squeegee towards you (don't push it away from you!)
Put the squeegee away (be careful of ink dripping), then lift up the screen
Reveal the print!
If you are not printing already, wash the screen. Protect the screen at all cost because ink gets clogged very easily when exposed to wind and if you take too long. Once it is clogged, your design may be affected.
*Cartridge paper - one time use stencil design, as the paper would disintegrate over time.
For more permanent stencils that you may want to use over a few printing durations, you could use waterproof material like thin plastic sticker paper or transparencies.
For more intricate designs like linework, photosilkscreen technique will be the next step to learn and test out, which is a dark room process.
**Silkscreen - in the past, the mesh was made from silk, these days it's still called the silkscreen even though nylon threads are used instead.
A silkscreen frame can be hand built, with the mesh (comes in different threadcounts for varied purposes) stapled/fixed onto a wooden frame - like that of a sieve.
The screens used today was actually picked up from a lasalle bin and another from the neighbourhood, but were bought from art friend. The mesh is coarse, suitable for flat simple designs, but unsuitable for fine work.
***Silkscreen Ink - the composite of what was used today contains 2 portions of acrylic paint + 2 portions of acrylic printing medium**** + 1 portion of water. The above composite is more cost efficient for projects that require many colours, especially if you already have acrylic paints at hand.
This composite can also be printed on fabrics, you will just need to iron it to set the print after it is dry before using and washing.
You could also purchase premixed inks from MICROSCREEN PRODUCTION PTE LTD, which sells inks in 1kg tubs. (Price gauge - Black ink $13/kg)
My advise is not to purchase inks from Art Friend as it is of low quality, diluted, which results in bubbling often seen during the printing process, which is highly undesirable.
Speedball glow in the dark inks work well and can be bought from Art Friend.
****Acrylic Printing Medium - (sold in art friend) acts as a retarder which prevents the screen from being clogged and allows for slower drying time.
On a side note, this was what I was doing over the past weekend (Watch timelapse by ANISE below)- advisor to singer-songwriter Anise, who is launching her solo album 'INWARD' on 6 Dec, in screen-printing her own merchandize for sale. Please support!