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Monday, May 17, 2010

How to Make a Silk Screen

Considering learning how to silk screen? When learning how to master silk screen printing, you'll first want to tackle making an exposing frame using basic silk screen printing supplies. For beginners, try picking up a starter kit as well as information on silk screening. There are many tutorials that can be found on the Web that offer step-by-step instructions and visuals. An exposing frame works with photo emulsion, which exposes the image onto the silk screen by exposing it to sunlight.

Materials Needed

* 2x3 lumber
* Plywood
* Clamp hinges
* ¼-inch plate glass
* Duct tape
* Three-inch thick foam rubber
* Hook and eye latches
* Electric drill and bits
* Wood screws

Building the Frame
For home projects, a frame that's around 8 1/2 x 11" is sufficient. Start out by cutting the 2 x 3 lumber to create this frame, with two pieces that are 11" long and two 8 1/2" inserts for the top and bottom. Place the inserts inside the two sides and screw them together with long wood screws.

Now cut a piece of the 3-inch thick foam rubber and put it inside the well of the frame. Allow ½ inch of space between the foam and the frame. Cut a piece of plywood that is two inches larger than the frame on all sides. Center the frame in the plywood and attach a set of the clamp hinges to one end of the frame and the plywood, so that the frame lifts open from the plywood base with the foam underneath.

Opposite the clamp hinges, attach an eye hook to the frame and a door latch to the plywood. This will hold the frame closed while you're using it. Get a piece of clear ¼-inch plate glass that's the same size as the frame. Cover all four edges with duct tape so you can handle it safely.

Using the Exposing Frame
Place the image you want to expose on top of the foam and put a piece of photo emulsion on top of it. Lock the frame down to provide consistent tension across the photo emulsion. Next, put the piece of plate glass on top of the frame so that its weight provides good contact with the emulsion. Leave the frame in the sun until the emulsion hardens.
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