I’ve only printed onto black shirts so far. And now I’m out, so I’m doing a white shirt.
I’m using a new can of emulsion, and that clears up all the problems I was having with peeling.
The main difference between printing on lighter fabrics (as opposed to black fabrics) is that you have to print out your transparencies as “positives” instead of “negatives”. On black fabrics you’re printing the white bits, while on a white fabric you’re printing the black bits.
Positive for printing on light fabric to the left, negative for printing on black fabric to the right
The black ink is a lot more viscous than the inks I’ve been using on black fabrics:
So I pushed through too much ink. I should have used a single pass, I think. The black ink covers a lot better than the other inks.
Drawring by Lynda Barry
I then tried printing with a green ink. It had the same consistency as the black ink, so I just did one pass, and I didn’t flood-fill the screen first:
Even though the screen printing is going swimmingly, I thought it might be fun to try a transfer thingie again. But this time in A3 instead of A4.
I googled a bit, and a store strangely called yolö seemed like a likely supplier. So I got a 25-pack of transfers, and printed out an image.
These work pretty much like the ones I tried earlier. You print out into a plastic substrate that you then separate from the paper backing, and then you melt the plastics onto the fabric.
Peeling these are easier said than done. No matter how I tried to separate the plastics from the paper with my nails, I only managed to tear the paper.
yolo transfer paper tearing
Finally I got out an X-Acto knife and managed to wedge it between the plastic and the paper. And then it was easy to tear it off and iron it onto the shirt.
It’s survived a washing, too, so it seems pretty swell. But they really should have used higher-quality backing paper to make it easier to handle.
For a transfer.
I don’t really have the set-up to do multi-coloured prints where things are in perfect register.
But I thought that since this screen had clearly separated areas, then I could just mask stuff off, and print each thing separately (or “separately”) with different inks.
Here’s the original Gary Panter cover nailed to the kitchen wall
Masking off the logo and the tag line. I’m masking with a normal packing tape on the “non-well” side of the screen.
Printing the face in white
Then mask off the face
Then I put the ink down under each letter
I used a single squeegee for all the three colours in the logo, which turned out to be awkward, because I usually flip the squeegee over after the “flood fill” pass. Which is obviously impossible here.
The colours in the logo aren’t printed perfectly, because of the aforementioned flip problem, so I didn’t get a sufficient amount of ink through the screen. But I’m gonna call this a success, anyway. Hah!
I’ve been having serious problems getting the emulsion to expose properly the last couple of days. I’ve had four screens ruined — peeling and stuff. I tried varying the drying period, the exposure length, and the heat of the water I use to wash the emulsion off with.
Then I remembered the emulsion can saying something about not lasting forever.
Sure enough, after mixing, it’s supposed to work for four weeks at room temperature. And this blow shows that I started making shirts on June 6th, which is more like six weeks ago.
Time to mix up a new batch. And stick it into the fridge.
I did manage to make a last couple of screens from that can, though, but washing the unexposed bits off was a chore. But it turned out pretty nice:
Had to tape off some minor bits where too much washed off
And I got a hot air gun to do the curing with. I’m not quite sure how long to cure, but I gave it a couple of minutes on 300C, and it certainly feels dry. I hope I’ve not over-cured it — that can apparently make the print brittle.
The cover of Raw number 3 by Gary Panter
I must be doing something wrong when curing (i.e. heat fixing). Most of the shirts survive washing just fine, but two of them have dissolved.
Hm… it was the metallic and the “glow yellow”. Perhaps they need more curing?
Googling a bit more seems to suggest that curing water based inks with an iron is challenging, since you need to get all the moisture out to get the ink to bond with the fabric properly. Some people recommend using a heat gun. Hm… More stuff to buy, I guess.
I remembered that I had a drying cabinet, so I plugged the holes in it (to avoid light leaking in), and suddenly my screen printing process is down to five hours.
Man, that’s some good screen printing.
The image is Errata Stigmata by Beto Hernandez, from that calendar previously discussed in previous editions of this blog previously published previously.