PhotoEZ is a screen-printing paper with emulsion on one side that allows you to quickly burn your design onto a screen without a lot of equipment or chemicals. You can buy the screens by themselves, but if it's your first time using it, you can buy a kit that includes everything you need. I purchased a kit and was pretty happy with the way it turned out. It's simple, fast, and you can get pretty good detail with this product. Here's a quick tutorial for those of you interested!
If you'd like to see some finished products or view my other tutorials, check out my etsy shop & blog, or follow me on twitter! Also, your constructive feedback on this tutorial is greatly appreciated! Thanks for looking and happy screen-printing! Any questions? Message me!
Step 1: Materials
The complete kit I bought includes:
- PhotoEZ screen paper x 5
- contact frame
- binder clips x 6
- sheet of foam
- plastic mesh
- squeegie x 3
- transparency x 2
- computer paper (88 brightness/ 20 lb plain paper)
- Speedball screen-printing ink x 6 (6 colors)
- 2 small test pieces of PhotoEZ paper
* Note: Before using a full sheet of the PhotoEZ, make sure you test a small piece first so if you mess up, you don't ruin a full sheet! The kit comes with 2 small test pieces.
Step 2: Create Your Design
The advantage of using transparency paper is that it has a shorter exposure time. You can also get finer details with the transparency paper.
Step 3: Place Design on Board
Step 4: Position Photo EZ Screen
Flip layer unit over to check that your design is visible and not covered by the binder clips. Then flip back over so the clear board is on the bottom and place a magazine or another board under the layer unit so that the design isn't getting exposed to light.
Step 5: Expose Screen
Bring your layer unit outside. Remove magazine from the bottom of layer unit and flip layer unit over so that the clear board is on top. Leave in direct sunlight for appropriate amt of time. (If using printer paper, leave for 5 minutes. For transparency, leave for 1 minute).
*In case you're wondering why there's an extra square of paper in the picture, it's because I added another small design to the board .
Step 6: Soak Screen
Step 7: Rinse, Dry and Re-expose Screen
- Expose PhotoEZ screen to direct sunlight again for 15 minutes with emulsion side up (to complete exposure and set screen for durability). Make sure screen is dry before using.
Step 8: Test Screen
If you burned more than one design on your screen, you can cut the designs apart now or just block any areas of the design that you do not want to print at this time by placing masking tape on top of those areas (on the non-emulsion side). Spray the bottom of your screen with temporary adhesive or stencil spray if possible (not included in kit) and then place screen on top of your test paper or fabric. Tape screen to the test material on one or two sides of the screen. Spoon a couple tablespoons of screen-printing ink on to top of screen. Hold top of screen in place with one hand, and using your squeegie at a 45 degree angle, drag squeegie from top to bottom of screen using pressure. Do this 2-3 times. Lift screen to check your print. Once you have made a satisfactory test print...
* Note: Remember how I recommended leaving 1" around the border of your design? This is why: you need to have some room to tape & hold the screen when you apply the ink, so that you don't get ink on your shirt! This screen only has about 1/2" around the border, which made it a little difficult.
Step 9: Screen Print!
* Heat-setting: If you are printing on fabric, you should heat-set your fabric so that your design does not fade on your fabric. Allow your fabric to dry for a day or 2 before heat-setting. To heat-set fabric, you can throw your fabric into the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes, or iron both sides of design for 3-5 minutes per side. Make sure you place a piece of scrap fabric on top of the design so the iron isn't in direct contact with the shirt. You should also place a piece of scrap fabric/paper between the shirt so the ink doesn't bleed through to the other side.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments. If you'd like to check out my etsy store or blog, please do... I love visitors!