Screen Printing for Beginners

Open studio signs

My first ever attempt at screen printing

In art school I tried every medium I could get my hands on: paint, digital, sculpture, photography, installation, video, but I had always avoided printmaking classes. I vaguely thought that creating reproducible work somehow devalued the original and the reproductions. Now, being older and wiser, I realize that screen printing saves time, allows new flexibility, and means significantly greater output. 

Rinsing the screen in the kitchen sink

Washing away unexposed emulsion

Revealing the image

It worked! Relief . . .

I found the photo emulsion method of screen printing to be an elaborate and technical process, at least in the learning stages. Thankfully, there are an infinite number of resources about how to begin. I bought a copy of Screen Printing on the Cheap and I watched a ton of videos from the Rayonet/ YouTube channel. These resources are targeted at the budding professional screen printer, but I found the level of detailed technical instruction really useful, and would highly recommend both.

Helping hold down the screen

Pulling the first print

While the most common applications for screen printing seem to be t-shirts, product design, and graphic posters, Iā€™m intending to apply my new screen printing skills to canvas and use it in conjunction with paint. However to warm up, I thought that silk screening the signs for my upcoming open studio would be a great way to practice.

The finished product: Signs for my June open studio