Seeing as the summer has been filled with printing - it seems that a post about the process is in order. For any of you folks out there that are interested in further discussion regarding the process please feel free to ask any questions and I can follow up in the comments section of the post…
PREP AND REGISTRATION
Stretched drop cloth and fabric on table. Helps to keep the table in the studio clean but most importantly a nice flat surface gets that clean, crisp image.
Registration is key! The T-Bar registration uses measurements to fill the width of the fabric. While printing the T-Bar is moved down the table and acts as a straight edge that squares the screen with the printing tables edge. This controls the correct placement of the printed image on the fabrics surface.
Registration down the edge of the table uses your measurements for the length of the image that is being printed.
When printing a repeat image on yardage I print the between images down the length of the fabric. This helps prevent ghost images showing up through transferred ink, either from the T-Bar or the print side of the screen. So in order to keep track of this on the T-Bar I’ll put numbers for each placement of the screen, for example 1/2/3. Then on the length of the table I’ll put A/B. This also helps keep track of my printing plan.
I try to keep my work area as clean as possible so I put a towel down. All my tools for printing get placed here if they have ink on them. That way it lowers the chances of me transferring ink or getting it somewhere I don’t want it.
Between every repeat I clean the screen and let it dry. This just gives a little time for the ink to dry between each repeat. Again this helps with ghost images and also smudging the ink when moving the T-Bar. I’m sure anyone that has experience printing will think that this is a little excessive and a waste of time. AGREED! I might be a bit anal at the moment about all these little things because I really don’t want to lose fabric through human error. Another way I prevent wasting time - I work on more than one piece.
I’m sure everyone that has silkscreen printed, has their own method. I think that when you get into it, you figure out what works best for you. For me to get the clearest image I flood the screen first, pushing the ink away from me. Basically this means pushing the ink across the screen without putting pressure on the surface of the fabric, then one even pull of the ink towards me while applying pressure onto the print surface. At this point I leave the ink on the edge of the screen closes to me, lift up the squeegee and place it on the far side of the screen. I’ll do another pull with no ink. It just picks up all the bits of ink left over on the other side of the screen and moves them across.
This process is repeated until the surface is completely printed.