January '23

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4 6 G R A P H I C S P R O • J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S C R E E N P R I N T I N G Screen prep To avoid pinholes (small dots of ink that appear on your garment through the print run) it is important to properly degrease your screens before coating with emul- sion. is process is repeated each time you reclaim a screen and start the process of coating your screens and putting them back into the production cycle. After exposing your screen, be sure to dry the image area completely after wash- out. Clear emulsion can block the image area if you do not properly dry the screen. You can pat it dry with newsprint or paper towels, or buy a squeegee attachment for a Shop-Vac and vacuum the image area dry as well. Tape the inside of your screens to speed clean up after the print run. Avoid mask- ing tape or cheap box tape. ere are tapes made specifically for screens or you can use better quality clear box tape as well. Clean up and save… or not to save After printing, card out any remaining ink back into your ink container, then clean using a press wash or ink degrader. If you plan to save the screen to print the same image again, use press wash to clean before storage. If you plan to reclaim the screen (remove the emulsion and image) you can take the screen to your sink and use an ink degrader to clean the ink from the screen. Do not use mineral spirits, paint thin- ners, etc. to clean ink from your screens. ese products can harden the emulsion in your screen and cause ghost images of the print into the mesh as well. ere is always a debate about saving a screen to print the same image again in the future, or reclaim the screen and reburn it as needed. You need to set your own standard, but my rule of thumb is: I save the screen if I anticipate a reorder within 30 days. I reclaim the screen if a reorder isn't expected till some point after 30 days. For me personally, I don't like to tie up my screen inventory on the shelf waiting for a possible reorder sometime in the future. Quick setup For a quick setup of even a one-color print, place a registration mark center -top and center-bottom on your film pos- itive. You can set that up in your art pro- gram. en on your platen, use a T-square and marker to make a center line down the middle. Line up the two registration marks on that line and your screen will be perfectly centered and square with the platen. It's screen printing. Get the screens right, and you're 90% toward a perfectly decorated garment. GP Using a higher mesh count will give you a more crisp image, and lessen buildup of ink on the backs of screens when printing multi- color jobs.

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