Need Serious Help from those who know about screen printing supplies!!!!

Hello Everyone, it has been some time since I was last on and everyone has always been so helpful. I have a friend who has offered to buy me some screen printing supplies. I would like advice on what to get as there are a number of different options and ranges of "skill level" for lack of a better word. I have been mixing a medium with acrylic paint and hand painting my designs on bags, jackets, etc. I REALLY want to get into "screening." Nothing mega big like my own store or anything, mainly just to sell a few here and there and my friends. T-shirts mainly, just simple designs or text in one or two colors. I don't have any supplies thus far, so any good deals on Kits you could recommend would be great. I'm in an apt and don't have a whole heck of a lot of space to set up a studio as I see some people doing. I just want to make like 10 or 20 shirts at a time and I want high quality materials but not necessarily the best of the best. I just need to know the basics to get me going, any advice on process of screening would be great too, I've read a lot and seen videos but I am always wanting to know more! I hope i make sense in all this, I just want some serious advice. Thanks to all of you in advance.

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Ladykba (author) 8 years ago
Thanks to you both, I have seen that vid before! It is very helpful though! I saw this Speedball ultimate kit for like 130.00, im thinking of going with that to start...whadda you guys think? also I read today about this stuff called PhotoEZ, Looks kinda neat and I like that there arent any crazy chemicals...ne one tried that? BTW jonas I love that song!
Probably just me, but I think there is more value in getting the parts instead of a kit if you can. I don't know if you do have access to any art/craft stores but you don't end up paying for the fancy box and instructions which you already have. And get only the inks you will use. The resist should be pretty safe and "nontoxic" and is just flushed with soap and water. It's not the same stuff that you use with electronic circuit boards which is metal corrosive. It's more fun building you own setup.
Ladykba (author)  caitlinsdad8 years ago
wow thanks for all the advice, you really know what you're talking about. I think I am a bit lost ! By resist do you mean the chemicals, the photo emulsion? I only have a Michael's near me, but they don't carry hardly any screening stuff, go figure! they have this one kit i think but i will have to look around to see if I can get the parts there at least. I would love to build my own set up.
I just happen to have played around with it but I am no expert.

I'm in New York City where pearlpaint.com started but it has stores all over the place or similar near art/design/fashion colleges. Check it out for supplies.

A hinged wood screen frame is a just a wood frame with a hinge and is pretty basic. You can make one from 1x3 or 1x2 lumber. Just glue and screw/nail together. You can still stretch the fabric pretty taut and tack it with a staple gun. I think you can substitute any fine weave synthetic material, maybe an old polyester shirt to use as the silk. I guess the proper term is the photo emulsion and sensitizer. You mix that up goopy, apply and stick it exposed to sunlight for it to react. Wait and bring it to the sink or bathtub to flush out the emulsion that doesn't stick to the screen.

That kit you saw seemed kinda expensive but you can improvise everything, even using regular acrylic paints in a more coarser weave fabric so the pigment passes through. The emulsion and sensitizer, you will have to purchase somewhere.
caitlinsdad8 years ago
I tried one of those expensive kits a long time ago and I still have the screen with the mask on 18 years later... I had made a bunch of T-shirts for a volunteer activity and maybe put it aside thinking I would make more. I found it very difficult to clean off the mask to use it for another design once it has been used, I think it is a universal problem and people have commented on soaking in bleach and using a pressure washer to blast it off, anyway... Find yourself an art supply store or craft store to make your setup a lot cheaper. You can rig up all sorts of wood frames to stretch your "silk" material but the trick is to get the frames that have a notch in the inside corners. I think that is also used to stretch a painter's canvas You drive a triangle shaped piece of wood in the slot to expand the frame and stretch the screen to perfect flatness. At first I couldn't figure out what those extra wood pieces were for, and already having glued together the frame so it would hold together was not a good idea. I would purchase the "silk" in bulk to cut it to size with the various frames you can make. They do sell precut frame parts to custom size and make your frame. I guess some of the basic tools you can improvise, but don't skimp on the squeegee. It should be large enough to pass over the entire design and be comfortable to use. Other than that, I think you have to experiment with the amount of time you need to expose the resist and figure out how to apply it for good coverage and detail retention. A good art supply store would have various kinds of ink suitable for silk screening to experiment with. A little can goes a long way. I can't remember but printing ink does smell but may be less toxic with soy-based ink nowadays. Maybe get a garment rack to hang the shirts to dry if you don't have the room to lay it out and dry or a stacker. Get a small piece of plywood to hinge your screen to so that you can lift it out of the way when not in use and to "register" or provide consistent coordinates for your multi-color jobs. Probably more hints but best to just jump into it. Good luck.