Why and How to Clean Your Screen Printing Equipment

Why and How to Clean Your Screen Printing Equipment

In the world of screen printing, maintaining your screens is as crucial as choosing the right design or ink.

 

Clean and clear screens are the foundation for high-quality prints, ensuring consistent results and extending the lifespan of your valuable equipment.

 

Over time, ink build up, emulsion residue, and other contaminants can accumulate on screens, leading to clogged meshes, poor ink adhesion, and compromised image quality.

Regular cleaning and reclaiming of your screen printing frames are essential practices that prevent these issues and keep your screens performing at their best. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive step-by-step process for cleaning and reclaiming your screens, ensuring your screen printing equipment remains in top condition.

Gathering the Tools and Materials

Before getting started on cleaning  your screen you want to make sure you have the necessary tools and materials:

  • Screen printing frame (The frame you want to clean and reclaim)
  • Emulsion remover: A chemical solution specifically designed to remove emulsion from screens. Some popular emulsion removers include:
  • Squeegee: A tool used to spread the emulsion remover evenly across the screen.
  • Brush/pad: A dedicated cleaning brush/pad for scrubbing and removing stubborn ink or emulsion residue.
  • Gloves: To protect your hands from the chemicals used in the process.
  • Water hose or bucket: For rinsing the screen after applying the emulsion remover.
  • Paper towels or rags: For drying the screen thoroughly.

 

A Step-by-Step Cleaning and Reclaiming Process

Step 1

Initial Cleaning

Begin by removing any excess ink from the screen using a paper towel or rag.

 

If there is significant ink build up, use a mild soap solution to gently scrub the ink away. Rinse the screen thoroughly with water to remove any remaining soap residue.

 

Step 2

Applying Emulsion Remover

Before starting this step please wear protective gloves and ensure you have adequate ventilation.

 

Apply a generous amount of emulsion remover to the screen. Ensure the emulsion remover covers the entire screen evenly.

 

Step 3

Scrubbing and Emulsion Removal

Allow the emulsion remover to sit on the screen for a few minutes to soften the emulsion.

 

Using a dedicated brush/pad, gently scrub the screen to remove the loosened emulsion. Pay close attention to the areas where ink build up was most prominent.

 

Step 4

Rinsing and Drying

Rinse the screen thoroughly with water to remove all emulsion remover and loose emulsion residue.

 

Hold the screen at an angle to allow the water to flow freely through the mesh. Once the water runs clear, use paper towels or rags to dry the screen completely.

 

Step 5

Inspection and Repeat

Inspect the screen for any remaining emulsion residue. If necessary, repeat the application of emulsion remover and scrubbing steps until the screen is completely clean and free of emulsion.

 

Step 6

Deep Cleaning (Optional)

For stubborn ink build up or heavily soiled screens, consider using a screen degreaser to remove any oily or greasy residue.

Follow the instructions on the degreaser product for proper application and safety precautions.

Additional Tips for Effective Screen Cleaning and Reclaiming

  • To minimise the need for frequent cleaning and reclaiming, clean your screens after each use to prevent ink build up.
  • Establish a regular cleaning schedule to maintain your screens in optimal condition.
  • Use gentle scrubbing and avoid excessive force to prevent damage to the screen mesh.
  • When not in use, store your screens in a clean, dry place to prevent contamination and damage.

Clean and reclaimed screens are the cornerstone of high-quality screen printing.

 

By following these simple yet effective cleaning and reclaiming techniques, you can ensure your screens remain in top condition, producing sharp, vibrant prints.

 

Remember, regular maintenance is key to extending the lifespan of your screens and keeping your screen printing passion alive.

 

Mastering the Art: Top Tips for Cutting Paper Stencils in Screen Printing

Mastering the Art: Top Tips for Cutting Paper Stencils in Screen Printing

 

Screen printing is a versatile and creative craft, and cutting a paper stencil is a fundamental skill every enthusiast should master. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to refine your technique, these expert tips will guide you through the process.

  1. Choose the Right Paper: Select a sturdy, high-quality paper for your stencil. We use either copy paper, Yupo Paper or Freezer paper as they are less likely to tear during cutting.
  2. Design with Simplicity in Mind: Keep your design relatively simple, especially if it’s your first time creating a stencil. Intricate details can be challenging to cut and may not transfer well onto the substrate.
  3. Use a Pencil or Fine Marker: Sketch your design lightly on the paper with a pencil or fine marker. This allows for easy adjustments before committing to the final cut. Or Download one of our free designs
  4. Focus on Negative Space: Remember that you’re creating a stencil, so you’ll be cutting out the areas where you want the ink to pass through. Pay attention to the areas you’re leaving intact.
  5. Secure Your Paper: Use a Low Tack tape to secure your paper stencil to a clean, stable surface. This prevents it from moving while you’re cutting.
  6. Sharp Cutting Tools: A precision cutting tool like a craft knife is crucial for clean, accurate cuts. Ensure the blade is sharp for the best results.
  7. Start with External Edges: Begin by cutting the outer edges of your design first. This provides a clear outline and helps establish the boundaries for your stencil.
  8. Work from Large to Small: Move from larger areas to smaller, finer details. This approach helps maintain stability in your stencil as you progress.
  9. Use Short, Controlled Strokes: Instead of trying to make long, continuous cuts, use short, controlled strokes. This gives you better control over the cutting process.
  10. Rotate the Paper as Needed: If the design has curves or intricate parts, it may be helpful to rotate the paper rather than trying to manoeuvre the cutting tool.
  11. Check and Adjust Frequently: Regularly hold your stencil up to the light to check for any missed cuts or areas that need refining. This helps catch any mistakes before you move on.
  12. Test the Stencil: Before using it on your final project, do a test print to ensure the stencil covers the area correctly and that there are no leaks.

By mastering the art of cutting paper stencils, you’re unlocking a world of creative possibilities in screen printing. Remember, practice and patience are key. With time, you’ll develop a steady hand and an eye for detail. Happy crafting! 🎨🖌️

Brand Focus: Speedball

Are you ready to dive into the colourful world of screen printing with Speedball? Speedball, is a renowned name in screen printing craft industry, and we are proud to be distributors. Join us as we unveil more information about the brand and the products they offer.

The Heart-warming Tale

Speedball Printing is like a time-traveling artist’s dream come true! It all started back in 1899 as the “C. Howard Hunt Pen Company,” crafting those cool dip pens. But as the years passed, they didn’t stop at pens. Nope, they added all sorts of stationery, office supplies, and even furniture to their bag of tricks.

 

Then, in 1997, they renamed and transformed into “Speedball,” after a brand they’d launched back in 1915. Today, Speedball is like an art supply wonderland. They’ve got everything for printmaking, all the awesome writing tools, and a treasure chest of art materials. In a nutshell, Speedball is the crafty chameleon of the art world, constantly evolving and offering artists a rainbow of creative possibilities! Here are Crafty Screen we are a distributor of their printmaking products, specifically screen printing and block printing.

 

However, Speedball is not just about ink and tools; it’s about the heart-warming story behind each product. Their motto, “Together, We Make,” celebrates the interconnectedness between the Speedball team, it’s distributors, artist partners, and the community they serve. Every product reflects the dedication and craftsmanship invested in its development. 

 

As a distributor, we value our association with Speedball not just for the quality of their products but also for their unwavering commitment to the understanding of the screen printing community and the support they give. 

The Treasure Trove of Products

Let’s delve into the treasure trove of products that Speedball offers. From vibrant inks that bring designs to life, to versatile products that empower your creative process, the Speedball range provides a comprehensive choice of tools and materials. Whether you’re a beginner embarking on a creative journey or a educational professional seeking the tools to support your teachings.

 

We are delighted to present Speedball’s extensive product catalogue, which encompasses a wide range of offerings, a treasure trove for all crafters.

 

Our favourite Products

It’s like having access to a world of creativity at your fingertips. In conclusion, Speedball is a well-known brand name across the globe, and you can find it right here at Crafty Screen. If you have any questions about the products, feel free to get in touch with our team who will be happy to help you bring your ideas to life.

Halloween Craft Ideas for kids

HALLOWEEN BLOG BANNER

Struggling to entertain the kids during October half term and fancy getting crafty and making some spooky makes? We have compiled a list of our favourite Screen printed items, that would make the perfect crafting activities for your little Ghouls and Gremlins.

Screen printing, also known as silk screening, is a captivating art form that combines creativity, technical precision, and tactile engagement. It offers artists and designers a versatile medium to bring their visions to life on various surfaces, from clothing and accessories to posters and art prints. Its the perfect Craft for kids as its hands on, fun and teaches them skills such a colour theory and design.

SCREEN PRINT A GHOST TRICK OR TREAT BAG

This is one of our favourite Halloween crafts, printing a canvas tote bag for Trick or Treating, this year we chose to print spooky ghosts with Crafty Screens Glow In The Dark Waterbased Ink. We simply cut out little ghost silhouettes, placed them onto a black Cotton Tote bag and screen printed they ink over the top. You can follow our Youtube Tutorial and created your own fun screen printed bag.

CRAFTY SCREEN SHOPPING LIST

SCREEN PRINTED SPOOKY CORK COASTERS

Another super fun Halloween craft, these simple yet effective Screen Printed coasters are for sure to add a bit of fun to your Halloween décor this spooky season! Screen printed using Fluorescent inks with a rage of creepy characters including Frankenstein, bats, skulls and spooky pumpkin face. We created these using paper stencils cut out of photocopy paper, watch the full tutorial below.

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SCREEN PRINT YOUR OWN UFO THEMED PHONE CASE

We had great fun creating this fun and easy craft! All you need is a clear phone case, some paper and some really basic screen printing supplies and you are good to go!

The design that we chose to print was a UFO/ space themed print, using our vibrant fluorescent inks .

Watch the below Video tutorial to see how we created this.

CRAFTY SCREEN SHOPPING LIST

For more craft ideas follow us on social media! @craftyscreenuk on Instagram and Tik Tok.
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Screen Printing with our Super star Craft Kit.

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Creating your Paper Stencil

Draw or trace your design on to your Stencil Paper, You can get creative and   create your own  unique design, but bare in mind they have to be ‘stencil style’ designs when you are making a design out of paper. Alternatively you can use the templates provided in the kit, we also have lots of other free designs available to download for free form our website

Cut out your stencil using a craft knife or scissors depending on how detailed your design is, remember to take care during this stage and if you are using this kit with kids make sure you do this stage for them.

Taping your Stencil to your Screen

Place your stencil over your Screen, taping it to the underside of the screen to secure. You can also tape up the areas of the screen around your stencil to stop your ink escaping through onto your garment, this is called blocking out your screen and makes the process a lot less messy. 

Then you can flip your screen so the stencil is facing down.

Prepare your garment… we are printing a tote bag.

Next grab the item that you are printing onto, this could be paper, cardboard or fabric as our Waterbased inks will print on to any of these. We have chosen to print this design onto a Canvas Tote bag, we flatten this down, and even iron it to create a smooth print surface, we also ad a piece of scrap paper inside the bag to give it a more rigid surface and prevent ink transferring to the back of the garment.

You can then place your screen, stencil side down on top of your garment, we have place our screen in the centre of our Tote bag but you can experiment with print layouts.

Add ink to the screen.

Place your ink at the top of the screen just above your image, for this print i thought I would use a combination of  Baboon Bum Red Waterbased Ink and Sealife Blue Waterbased ink  to create a Ombre, blend effect.

Time to print!

Place squeegee onto the ink and pull towards you, and repeat if necessary. Make sure your squeegee is at a 45 degree angle. Anything less and it wont push the ink through correctly.

 

Lift your screen to reveal your print! We are going to repeat the design all over the frontside of the bag. To do this we use a heat gun/hair drier to touch dry the print , to prevent any ink transfer or smudging your print.

Leave your print to air dry, once dry you can seal with a hot iron or a heat press. if using an iron protect your print with heat resistant paper, make sure your print reaches 160 degrees.

Clean up!

Make sure you wash your screen out once you have finished to prevent ink blocking the screen, we use a kitchen sink to clean ours, simply run water over your screen and scrub both sides of the screen to remove all excess ink. you can use washing up liquid to help it along and for added cleaning power you can use our eco Cleaning solution.

 

For more information on this kit and all of our other Screen printing kits visit our website.

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Which Screen Printing kit should I choose?

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Our Kits have been put together by experts, with many years of screen printing experience. All our products are used by professionals and could have been used to print the very T-shirt you are wearing right now. Our inks are perfect for crafters, as they are waterbased meaning they are safe & easy to use, they are also environmentally friendly, meaning you can clean your inky screens in household sinks. Our ink is super Opaque and produces great print results on light and dark coloured paper.

We also pride ourselves on the wide range of kits that we have on offer here, starting at kits for crafters, all the way up to expert! Here we explain about our beginners’ kits and the options that we have and if they will be best suited to you.

HOW WE RATE OUR KITS

We use a squeegee rating system to rate the skill level of each kit , this works a bit like a star rating, starting from 1 squeegee for the easiest to use kit up to a 4 squeegee rating for the most advanced level that we have available

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We have designed a range of kits with complete beginners in mind, all these kits are great for getting you started, small enough to be stored in a cupboard, under a bed, in a box or a craft room. They are really easy to use and are perfect if you want to try this craft out but also produce decent quality prints. we give these a 1 squeegee out of 4 for skill level meaning it is simple enough for anybody to use and with a bit a supervision the perfect option to keep kids entertained during the holidays.

INTERMEDIATE KIT BANNER FOR BLOG

Our Intermediate Kits have been curated by our experts for artists/crafters who have a little bit of experience with screen printing or for creators who want to dive in at a more advanced level.

Some of these kits may need a bit of assembly, but are extremely easy to use and put together.

ADVANCED KIT BLOG BANNER

Here at Crafty Screen, we make it our aim to set you up and get you started on your journey to becoming a master screen printer!

These kits include everything you need to produce screen prints using the emulsion method, so involve a technical level of print knowledge.

Here at Crafty Screen, we make it our aim to set you up and get you started on your journey to becoming a master screen printer!

These kits include everything you need to produce screen prints using the emulsion method, so involve a technical level of print knowledge. They include screen printing presses and have the potential to do many print runs. Essentially you could start a small business with one of these kits.

if you are looking to expand your horizons and grow your hobby, you can visit our big Sister company Screen Print World where we have a massive range of equipment, supplies, and pro kits.