Silkscreening

By Erika Moen on May 25, 2011

My really awesomely creative friend Trixie took a silkscreening class recently through PNCA‘s Continuing Education program and was so enamored with it that she signed herself right back up for the next one– this time with me in tow.

Look what I can do!

Wait, wait, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Mind you, this is not a tutorial on how to screenprint, so please don’t read this and get frustrated! I just wanna share my day at PNCA’s printing studio with you.


For the final assignment of the class, we were instructed to make a print using three ink colors. First things first, I had to draw up my design in Photoshop!

Ink Separations

I kept each color on a separate layer in Photoshop so that I print them out individually onto clear overhead projector plastic sheets using just a regular ol’ printer. In order to be burned onto their screen, I had to make all the colors solid black.

I should have laid those transparencies out in the order they were printed, sorry! Here’s a quick guide:
Far Left: Printed with purple ink, last
Middle: Printed with yellow ink, first
Right, Printed with green ink, second
Instructables has a pretty good step-by-step of the burning your image into the screen using photo emulsion process, even though it’s specifically about making t-shirts.

Set Up

Clamping the screen in place.

Messy
I spent ages trying to mix the right shades of ink for my print.

Ink Pot

Pouring the ink onto the screen!

Registration

Earlier I’d done all the yellow printing and now it was time to add the green– but how do you make sure the two will line up correctly?? By printing the green onto a sheet of plastic, sliding the already-printed-upon-with-yellow-ink-paper underneath and adjusting till they were perfectly synched up.

Before printing anything, I’d hole punched all my sheets of paper so that I could do something called “pin hole registration”, where you get your paper lined up just where you want it and then take down these two metal pegs to the table so that the holes you punched earlier fit onto them. From then on, all you have to do is slot your paper onto the pegs and it will be in exactly the right location, no more fiddling to line up every single print anymore! (You can see me slotting the paper on and off its pegs in the video I posted at the top)

Really speeds things up.

Flooding the screen
Flooding the screen with ink to get it saturated over the live areas.

Under the Screen
Ta-da!

Green Inked
Gettin’ all the green parts printed!

Oops
Oops.

I forgot one of my papers had been cut shorter than the others, fucking up the pin hole registration I’d so cleverly set up.

Zzzzzoom
PNCA’s printing studio!

Now: PURPLE

Onto the purple. It took me foreeeeever to get the right shade. This isn’t actually the exact color I was going for, but it was goddamn close enough.

Pullin' Pullin' Pullin'
Pullin’ Pullin’ Pullin’

142/365
Productivity!

Clean Up

Time to clean up! I’m putting the left over ink back into its little jar. Maybe somebody else will use my purple that I so painstakingly mixed!

Washing Out My Screen
Washing out my screen.

End Result
The final result!

Out of the twenty prints I made, 17 of them came out just right! When everything was all cleaned up, I labeled all the good prints with their title (“Artichokes”), my name and their edition number out of 17.

Here’s a scan of the finished product:

Bring this print into your house!
If you wanna have this artichoke in your home,
you can make that happen by following this link!

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