2. EXPOSE THE SCREEN
Now that it is dry, place the screen on your
workspace with the bottom facing down. Put your
transparency on the screen in the center and as
squarely as you can, then place a piece of glass on
top. This holds your transparency down so that it
makes direct and even contact with the screen. If it
doesn’t make direct contact, then your design will
appear fuzzy around the edges.
The light source needs to be placed about 12 inches
from the screen to get good results, and it needs
to shine evenly across your design. I use two $10
task lights. These are great because they allow me
to easily adjust my light source, and by having two,
one on either side of the screen, we can make sure
the entire design gets an even, direct supply of light.
Follow the directions that came with the emulsion
for exposing your screen. It varies with the bulb
and screen size. I’ll burn our screen for about 30
minutes. You can tell when the screen is done by
looking: the exposed areas turn dark green when
they are baked solid by the light.
TIP: For a super-dense positive, make two transparencies with your design on them. Line them up and
attach them together with double-sided tape.
3. WASH AND DRY SCREEN
Now that the screen is exposed, wash it off in
the sink with hot water. It takes some force to wash
the screen effectively. I’ve attached a special nozzle
to my faucet that creates higher pressure. (I got
a nozzle at Bed Bath & Beyond for $5. Just screw
it on and it’ll toggle between high and low. Works
great for dishes too; I leave it on all the time.)
Along with spraying, you can gently rub the screen
with your fingers. Don’t use your fingernails. If you
force the emulsion off, you run the risk of tearing
off the hardened emulsion, putting you back to
step 1. You want only the unexposed area to wash
off. Under hot water, the emulsion will become
slightly gummy. Drying the screen isn’t such a big
deal this time around, now that it isn’t sensitive to
light. Prop it up against the fan, or place it where it
can get some air. Silk dries quickly.
SARA: Which way does my design go? Does
it need to be upside down or backwards?
KIRK: Nope, what you see is what you get. You
should lay down your design onto the screen just as
you want it to print. If you have type in your design,
it should be right reading.