On March 11th, 2016, we held a screen printing workshop with the Mobile InkPOD team. Rob Ujevic, and Joe Domino are both members of Createspace as well as the Mobile InkPOD team. Barret Snow is the owner, and has operated his T-shirt screen printing company for 5 years and took us through the printing process from start to finish.
Step 1: Create Your Image
Originally I wanted to use the full color Createspace logo, but was informed it would not work for the workshop.
What I learned from the INKpoders is full color prints get exponentially more expensive to print, and would not fit the class format due to the amount of time and difficulty they take to get made. Two color prints are manageable, but for our first class, a simple 1 color design was recommended by the experts.
So it was back to the drawing board.
A technique called halftones still allows some depth and shading in the form of dots or 45 degree lines in various concentrations to simulate Grey Scale, when in fact it is just Black & White.
We later held a computer graphics workshop teaching the method behind producing an image with half tones.
Your final image is printed on a transparency.
Step 2: Coat the Screen in Emulsion
An aluminum-framed silk screen is coated in emulsion with a squeegee. Emulsion is gooey stuff that hardens when exposed to light.
Step 3: Expose the Image on the Screen
Now in a dark room, the transparency is placed on the emulsion-coated screen, and receives a 10-15 min dose of UV light. This can be applied from above with a hanging light, or from beneath via a exposure box. Barret built his own box.
The wooden lid was weighted with heavy objects. A foam lining and an additional thick cloth ensured good contact and prevented light from entering around the edges.
Step 4: Clean the Screen
Spraying down the screen with a hose or pressure washer will reveal your image and leave UV-dried emulsion on the screen.
Step 5: Print!
Now as you push the ink squeegee across the screen, the ink will transfer through the design and onto your shirt!!
Then you can use a flash dryer or other heating source to cure the ink so it binds to the shirt and stays wash after wash.
It feels great after pushing the ink across the screen a few times, lifting up and seeing a perfect transfer of the image!