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Preparing a picture

Original print

There are two ways of making a picture for silk screening:

1# Draw a picture by hand with East-Indian inkt on 'kalkpapier'(the milky white paper).

2# Make a picture in Illustrator or Photoshop. Make sure you picture is eventually saved into an Photoshop file and that it is in Grayscale. You can print the picture onto special paper called Hypertension on the printer in the Publication Station (not bigger than A3).

Preparing the screen

Step 1. Take a clean screen. There are two different types of screens. If you are going to print on paper you can use a fine screen. For textiles you need a rougher screen. You can feel the difference, but if you're not sure you can always ask Wilko or Kim.

Step 2. Spread the special light sensitive emulsion onto the screen. There is an special iron tool you use for spreading the emulsion.

Step 3. After the screen is fully covered in emulsion you have to let it dry. The emulsion is still beige/brownish of colour when it is fully dried. To let it dry quicker you have to put the screen into the drying drawing underneath the light table.

Step 4. Put the screen, when fully dried, into the vacuum table/light table with the flat sight up. Put your picture directly onto the screen. If you have any text in your picture don't forget to mirror the image, otherwise you're text will be mirrored when printing it. Close the table and close the curtains. Choose program no. 1, push the start button, and wait until the machine did his job.

Step 5. When the machine is finished you open the vacuum table and get your screen out of it. Now you will see that there is a difference in colour developed into the emulsion. Where the UV light has hit the emulsion it became purple. This means the emulsion became hard. The part that is yellow is still soft and you have to rinse is out with water to clear up your print. You have to work really neatly when rinsing the screen. All the yellow emulsion needs to be cleaned out of the screen, otherwise you will get a messy, grungy end result. When it is fully cleaned you can put the screen again in the drying drawer to let it dry.

Now the fun part can start!

When your screen is fully dried you can start printing.
First you have to tape the sides of your print with special brown coloured tape. This tape doesn't stick onto the screen and doesn't leave any glue residue on it.

You have to choose a 'rakel' (the iron strip with the orange rubber strip attached to it) that is the right size for your print

It depends on the paint you choose, but if you are going to use acrylic paint you have to mix it 1:1 with silkscreen emulsion (you can buy it in the shop or at Harrolds) and a splash of water. The silkscreen emulsion makes the paint a bid thinner and it doesn't dry that fast. If you use a different kind of paint or ink you have to ask the experts.

Have you taped your screen? Have you chose a rakel? Have you mixed your paint? Good, now you can finally print!

If you want to change colours during printing, you first have to rinse your screen and let it dry again.

Finished printing for today, but want to print again next week?
Put your screen back on its place and register yourself on the list

Finished printing and don't want to use your screen again?
Well, this is even more fun!
You have to smear your screen, back and front, with special solution.
It's in a little black cup in the cleaning booth.

!!! WARNING !!!
Now before you even touch the highpressure cleaner, you have to put on a plastic apron, safety glasses and safety headphones.

When you're dressed up, you can start cleaning the screen. Put the screen with the flat side in front of you (don't start cleaning on the hollow side, because the screen can get ruined in this way. Hold the highpressure cleaner around 15 cm form the screen and start cleaning. You will immediately see the purple emulsion disappear. Keep cleaning it until the whole screen is clean, or until all the purple is gone ;)

Article by | Jessica de Troije Pictures by | Roza Schous