My local surface design group met this past Friday and we made EZ Screens for screen printing. My friend Bunny has a Yudu that is used to “burn” the screens and we purchased the EZ Screen HiDef Refills here. The process is really simple but it takes a good black and white design to work the best. You don’t need a Yudu to make these screens as you can just use sunlight to “burn” the screen.
I started with two photos, one which was much better than the other in terms of contrast. The leaf photo works much better than the frost photo with the finished screen as you’ll see below when I print with the screens.
As you can see, when I converted these to black and white, the frost photo has a lot of gray included which doesn’t work well with the EZ Screens. I used a really good tutorial on converting photos in Photoshop Elements for use in Thermofax screens (similar to EZ Screens) which you can find on Lyric Kinard’s site.
The next step is to print these photos on to transparencies and then put them in the Yudu to “burn” the screen. It takes 5 minutes and then you rinse the screen in warm water. The part of the screen that was covered by the black on the transparency doesn’t get light on it and therefore, that part washes out. Then the screen needs to dry completely for 24 hours before using it.
The screens look like this when they are finished. I usually add duct tape around the edges to give more space around the design and to create a well to put thickened dye or screen printing ink. But I was being lazy and in a hurry so I skipped that step.
I used screen printing ink and a credit card to pull the ink through the screen. I printed on previously painted sketch book paper. This is the frost print above. I was a bit disappointed with this screen. It should be OK for adding texture to the background but overall not very impressive. You can use these types of screens to print on any kind of fabric including felt.
But the leaf screen worked great. I used a mixture of three colors of screen printing ink. The first pull on the top right shows how the colors work with the first pull and haven’t mixed together too much. The next pull was on the bottom left photo and it still has a little bit of different colors showing. The last pull on the bottom right is on a piece of paper that I already had screen printed with a shredded paper mask and it is pretty much all the same color in the screen printing ink. But I really like this screen and how it prints.
Have you screen printed before? Would you like to learn how? I am working on the finishing touches of my online Experimental Screen Printing Course and it will be ready to go in early 2016. I will be teaching all kinds of methods of screen printing on felt but you can also use these techniques on any kind of fabric or paper. I will be announcing the dates of the screen printing course in early January and I hope you’ll join me. It’s messy, but loads of fun!