Make your own screen printing machine, a la Print Gocco, but for under $20! This one is designed to use Photo EZ screensand create 4x5 prints.

Buy this one at Etsy: Click here!

Step 1: Assemble Your Materials

You will need:
2 6x6 blocks of wood (free scraps from your favorite lumberyard)

4x5 Stencil Pro or Photo EZ stencil (I got mine from Circuit Bridge)
(This is basically a "silk" screen with light-sensitive emulsion already attached. For this tutorial I'm assuming that you have this product and have already followed the instructions that come with it to expose the emulsion and create your stencil.)

The 4x5 sheet of stiff plastic backing that comes with the stencil.
2 sheets of sticky-backed Fun Foam
1 6x6 piece of sturdy cardboard
2 hinges and screws
drill (not pictured)
craft knife
screen printing ink
glue (I used a glue dispensing thingy normally for scrapbooking)

Step 2: Measure the Wood Blocks

Measure out a 4x5 space in the center of each block. I made mine with the 5 inch side parallel to the hinge side.

Step 3: Stick on the Foam.

Measure two squares of fun foam. The one on the bottom block should be 4x5. The one on the top block (shown here) should be about 1/4 inch smaller all around (3.75 x 4.75). (This allows for the cardboard frame to be flush with the foam when it is added. ) Then, stick on your foam.

Step 4: Create Your Frame

Take your square of 6x6 sturdy cardboard.

Measure out a 3.75 x 4.75 hole in the center and cut it out. Why is this hole slightly smaller than the screen, you ask? To give you a 1/4 inch border that you can use to attach the screen.

Double check and make sure your frame fits around the foam on the top block. A little too big is OK.

Next, using glue or double sided tape, attach the screen to the frame, shiny side down. I used scrapbooking glue so that I'd be able to remove the screen easily, later on.

Finally, using regular tape, attach the plastic backing that comes with the screen. This prevents ink from going everywhere.

To Recap: from top to bottom, the layers are:
1. 4 x 5 piece of stiff plastic
2. Stencil (exposed emulsion and screen)
3. Cardboard frame

Step 5: Install Hinges

(Skip reading this step if, unlike me, you are a confident woodworker)

Place your frame in position around the foam on the top block. Then, put the two blocks on top of each other, foam side in. Then hold the hinges up to the wood to see where you'll need to place the screws. There will be a small gap between the two blocks.

I found it helpful to mark the holes, make a small, centered hole with a nail, then pre-drill a hole for the screw. Precision is important here, so take your time and measure twice!

Finally, when you start screwin', put all the screws about 3/4 of the way in, check the alignment one last time, and then finish the job. Double check that the hinge is parallel with the block edge. (I'm warning you because I had to re-do it the first time).

Step 6: Make Your Prints!

Grab your completed frame. Add a small amount of screen printing ink to the top of the stencil (on the dull side), under the plastic piece. Be sure you have a piece of paper underneath as you do this, to catch any drips.

Attach the frame to the top wood block with tape, plastic side down (touching the wood).

Put a piece of paper on the bottom block. The foam surface is an easy way to gauge where your print will appear.

Close the top block, and press down.

To recap: at this point, the closed press "sandwich" from top to bottom would be:
1. The top wood block
2. The top piece of 3.75 x 4.75 foam attached to the wood block
3. The 4x5 piece of plastic taped to the frame
4. The screen/stencil taped to the frame
5. The cardboard frame to which the plastic and stencil are attached

6. The paper

7. The bottom piece of 4 x 5 foam
8. The bottom wood block.

Now open up. Your print is ready!

One caveat to this method: I notice that it presses more ink through the screen than the traditional squeegee method. The last picture shows the "textured" look that the Faux-co produces. I'm not sure if thinning the ink would correct this, or if there's another way to avoid it.
I'm going to make a slotting piece of wood with several perminate foam cuttings that with slide in.
Wow, great idea, this really got me thinking. I have a PG5 Gocco, and was looking into using StencilPro screens. However, the boxed sets they sell are either too small or too large. You could probably make a bigger one of these to use with their 8.5x11 screens. That would make some pretty big prints. Also, companies like Welsh Products, Circuit Bridge, etc. sell plastic screen frames that could be used instead of the cardboard frame. Additionally, you could build a nice registration rig into the unit for multicolor prints. Hmmm....
thanks for this tutorial.. it's really well written and easy to follow. i don't know why this site seems to be full of stringent critiques of the tutorials when everyone is just trying to help each other by sharing knowledge.
people act like they asked for them to write it and they failed them personally..... hey, you can learn from anything.
well, they use a screen to put the ink on the pad, at least that's what it looks like
For those not really familiar with Print Gocco. Its used in nearly 1/3 of all households in Japan to make greeting cards at New Years or other times of the year. Its an exposure unit and "screen printer" in one. Its only draw back is that it uses expensive and harder to find flash bulbs(similar to old photo bulbs) to expose the film. PhotoEZ can be used as a cheaper alternative to Print Goccos refill packs. Their site shows you how. I think this is a great Instructable but I would like to see it maybe as a squeege system with a UV exposure system. similar to the original which is its appeal. Maybe I'll build one as Im looking at using PhotoEZ for a project soon. all in all a great Instructable. Also the film used in this can be used to etch anything onto glass with glass etching paste
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.allforprintmarket.com">Resource for printing</a><br/>Thank you for your details. After I read what was wrote there i was very curious about Print Gocco<br/>
Has anyone tried this using the Riso brand ink designed for Print Gocco? The Riso ink seems thiner and "stickier" than regular screen ink. Also, what about adding embossing powder to your inked prints and then hitting them with a heat gun? Has anyone tried this yet?
I tried this with the gocco ink, and I think it worked great. I still have that peaking problem though (where the ink forms peaks on your print. The squeegee method seems to solve that problem, instead of pressing the lid of the faux-co.
Ink oozing out solution: go to Home Depot and get the thinnest, skiniest roll of foam, adhesive backed weather strip that they sell. Build a foam "corral" around the inked parts of your master. Oozing problem solved! Also works for using two colors at once and not having them bleed together.
I believe that is pad printing, not screen. Still ingenious
I wrote this thinking that people would already know what Print Gocco was. The background is, basically, just as eleraama and erfonz said. But you're right, I shouldn't have assumed that knowledge. The PhotoEZ "screen" I used to make this is a silk screen with the light-sensitive emulsion already attached to it. I didn't put in the part about making the screen/stencil because when you order the PhotoEZ screen, it comes with its own instructions on how to expose it to a light source. I'll add some more background in to the tutorial.
Hello lemmingsolution, dchall8, more info on the PhotoEZ system may be found through their website at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.photoezsilkscreen.com/.">http://www.photoezsilkscreen.com/.</a> The material you share is very interesting and thanks to this tutorial I have &quot;discovered&quot; this new turn in screen printing -thank you. I have a concern, though, when I see that you intend to &quot;adapt&quot; this screen-printing technique and tools to be used (if I understand correctly) as a &quot;rubber stamp&quot;, a different printing method where the evenness in the thickness of the paint is totally out of your control whereas, with the squeegee approach, you will definitely achieve the much desired result of a perfectly even coating of paint, unless of course you also intend to add that &quot;human touch&quot; to photographic stenceling; additionally, how do you overcome the eminent mess when the paint starts, around the second print, to ooze out of the edges of your stencil's blocked areas? You may have to do a bit more work on solving post-production problems. I suggest a creative and constructive solution by trying to re-implement the use of the squeegee to your scheme; don't leave that element out of the deal. I think yours was an excellent idea that still shows a few conceptual loose ends, not difficult to improve on.<br/>
Actually, in the test run I did (about 20 prints) the paint did not ooze out from the stencil. I believe that adding the plastic transparency layer traps the paint in place, making it more stable than the squeegee method. More of the paint goes through the mesh instead of to the sides; this does lead to an uneven paint thickness, as you pointed out. So yeah, it's not a perfect system, but I think it's a little faster than squeegee/screen if you want to do a lot of prints in a short time and alignment is a concern.
at first i thought it might be lack of off-contact that makes your ink peak like that, but upon a closer look (imagine that!) i think i might have a better <em>idear.</em><br/>the excess ink that comes through is most likely from there being ink left in (or behind in this case) the screen when it is pushed through, because after the ink being laid down pushes through, the ink still in the screen will pull up on it, forming the peaks you see. <br/>the difference with the squeegee is that there would (or should, at least) be no particularly noticeable amount of ink left behind in the screen after the squeegee passes, thus allowing a clean lift from the print. <br/>thinner ink should help, but then it runs the risk of oozing more and also less opaque coverage.<br/><br/>p.s. this is a well written instructable and a clever take on printing. (and inexpensive, too!)<br/>
what does this do?
The PhotoEZ is manufactured by the company, named Circuit Bridge. Their web site: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.cbridge.com/">http://www.cbridge.com/</a><br/>They have even a better product - StencilPro. You can do a lot more with a product like that than just emulate Print GOCCO.<br/>
This is so great!
Updated. Please let me know if that helps.
Okay I'm lost. I'm a little familiar with screen printing and this doesn't fit my paradigm. I don't know what Print Gocco is nor what Photo EZ is, so that doesn't help. I'm not visualizing where the paper, paint, screen, foam, and plastic go in relation to each other. The pictures don't fit what I'm used to so I need more diagrams, pictures, or something. Is this more complicated than screen printing? Where did your screen come from?
The Gocco is a screen printing and block printing mix, it pushes the paint through the screen with a foam sponge back sorta thing. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.google.com/search?q=print+gocco">Print Gocco</a><br/><br/>PhotoEZ is a product that is a pre-emulsion covered screen that you can get and expose to make your own design. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ezscreenprint.com/">PhotoEZ</a><br/><br/>You combine it all and you get this instructable (which I like by the way, good job).<br/>
What does <em>plastic backing that comes with the screen.</em> from step 4 mean? That is, are you buying these screens from somewhere? Or Making them? Are they emulsion screens?<br/><br/>I think you need to explain this process a bit better -- with more information on the overall assembly of this thing. It took me a few minutes too long to connect the missing dots to see what it is your doing ;)<br/>
Something tells me.. this isn't screen printing...
It is. It's slightly different than the usual squeegee method (as mentioned), but it's the same general principle. This simply pushes the ink through the a foam mask rather than over a screen fused to plastic.

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