You don’t have to use a ton of cash on equipment or have a screen-printing studio to create a few pretty good quality prints.

I taught a few friends how to reuse old picture frames and curtains to create screens, burn them in the sun, plus clean them with a garden hose. While we were at it we took some pictures so we could share the example with you.

Build Your Screen

Step 1 Gather up Your Materials

Materials you will need take in:

1. The image you want to use. The most excellent is to have your image photocopied onto a transparency at maximum darkness. You can also paint or draw with white out on transparent plastic (cellophane wrap or clear packaging from toys work). Another option is to create a cut-out with dark-colored construction paper or to lay some flat object (pieces of lace are nice) on the screen. Objects that aren’t flat (skeleton keys, for instance) can also work, but you have to go the screen around in that case to avoid a shadow.

You want your image on the transparency to be super dim because the image won’t transfer to the screen if light gets through. If you want subtlety and shade you can do it with dots, like a newspaper image. In this instruct able we’re keeping it easy and only printing one color. Very fine lines are not recommended with this technique. Start out with something big plus bold and then start experimenting.

2. Wooden picture frames which are completely flat on the front surface. You can find these in every one kind of sizes at the Goodwill or Salvation Army or at garage sales for about a dollar each. You will too be using the pieces of glass that come in the frames. You resolve need a piece of glass from a frame smaller than the frame you use to create your screen.

3. An old, gauzy curtain. Color doesn’t matter, but it does need to be in reasonably good condition. It can’t have too a lot of holes. The more tightly woven the curtain, the more fine your print can be, but you can get pretty nice results with any gauzy old thing. I keep my eye open for these at thrift stores and yard sales.

4. A piece of black or dark-colored fabric big enough to put the frame on.

5. A staple gun and staples. Don’t get staples that are too long or they’ll poke out through the frame. Even that isn’t such a big deal, but it’s preferable to not have sharp little metal points sticking out the length of the inside of your screen.

6. Photosensitive goo plus activator. Speedball is the most common brand you will find for this at the art amasses. You need the emulsion and the activator and they come in two different bottles which you have to combine together. Don’t bother with the screen cleaner. If you want to reunse the same screen for other designs, you can get screen cleaner.

7. I recommend buying an art squeegee especially for screen printing. You can get along without one, but it’s a lot easier to print with this tool than to do it with a hunk of cardboard. But in a pinch, the hunk of cardboard will work, too. The lip of a box works best because it has a good straight edge and is rigid yet flexible.

8. Screen Printing ink. You can get this at the art supplies store. I have also printed on wood with acrylic paint and gotten good results.

Masking tape

9.Old cereal boxes or similar kinds of cardboard scrap. You’ll want to have a small supply of pieces of thin cardboard around. They are super useful for all kinds of things, like scraping ink off sreens and putting it back in the jar.

10. Old newspaper to protect the surfaces you’re operational on

11. If you are printing t-shirts you’ll need paper to put inside the shirt when you print so that the ink doesn’t bleed from side to side the side you’re printing on all the way through to the other side. I use regular printer paper for this, but old newspaper would work fine.

12. A garden hose. It’s best to have an attachment on the hose that shoots the water out with some pressure, but you can get away with not having one. I have used the scratchy side of a kitchen sponge to help me get the emulsion off while spraying the screen with the hose. It damages the screen a small, but it works. Just rubbing with your hand even helps.

An old rag for spills

Clothes you don’t care about. You’re going to mess up your clothes.A garden hose, the more pressure the better, but you can by without an attachment if you have to.

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