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Picture of Unique Hand-Painted Screen Prints
This tutorial will show you an easy way to make colorful screen prints using only one silk screen.  Screen printing can be intimidating for starters, trying to figure out color separations and registration, but this tutorial will show you an easy way to get started.  If you can color in a coloring book, you can make a colorful series of screen prints by following these simple steps.

Please note, we did this screen print in a studio, however, you can do all of these steps at home, it might just take a little longer to get set up.  For help setting up your silkscreen using lights at home, this tutorial is great (link http://www.instructables.com/id/Photo-emulsion-Screen-Printing/).  We also chose to print on canvas for this tutorial. If you also choose canvas and would like to eventually stretch that over a frame, this tutorial may be worthwhile as well (link http://www.instructables.com/id/Stretching-the-Canvas-at-TechShop/)

By Clay and Matt (Batman and Robin). 
 
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Step 1: Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Step 1: Gather Materials
What you will need:

- Brainstorm some preliminary designs. We chose the mouse and cheese design in the bottom left.

After sketching:

- A flat table or desk to work on
- A large silk screen
- Squeegee 
- Silk screen ink and paint
- Photo emulsion
- Photo emulsion coater bar
- Transparency film
- High wattage light bulb or light table
- Patience and a lot of time

Step 2: Step 2: Design on the Computer

Picture of Step 2: Design on the Computer
Take a photo or scan your sketches and mock up the design on the computer. We used photoshop to make the line drawing black and white in order to print it on transparency film. 

Step 3: Step 3: Prepare the Screen

Picture of Step 3: Prepare the Screen
Coat the screen with photo emulsion in a darkroom or away from direct light. Wait for the emulsion to dry evenly. 

Step 4: Step 4: Expose the Screen

Picture of Step 4: Expose the Screen
Place the transparency film (with your design printed on it) between the light source and your screen on the light table. The emulsion that is not blocked out by the black lines of your design will harden when exposed to the bright light. Depending on how bright the light source is, this step could take from four to twenty minutes. Turn of the light when finished. 

Step 5: Step 5: Wash Out Emulsion

Picture of Step 5: Wash Out Emulsion
With a high pressure hose, wash out the uncured emulsion from the screen. This step will reveal a stencil of your artwork. Let the screen dry before taping it up. 

Step 6: Step 6: Tape Up the Screen

Picture of Step 6: Tape Up the Screen
Tape up any area of the screen that the emulsion has not covered so that no ink will bleed out in unwanted areas.  Also this makes the clean-up of the screen easier.

Step 7: Step 7: Print Reference Image for Hand-Painting

Picture of Step 7: Print Reference Image for Hand-Painting
This step is necessary to know where you need to paint on your substrate.  Use this image just like you would a coloring book, and paint inside the lines.

How to print:

- Pour an even bar of ink onto the screen below the design.
- With the squeegee, "flood" the screen by spreading the ink over the design. For this step, you do not want to press the ink through, rather just skim it across the screen.
-  Once the screen is flooded, pull the squeegee back toward you with even pressure. Make sure the squeegee is angled toward you       so that you are scraping one edge along the screen at about a twenty five degree angle.
- Wash out the screen once the printing is complete. If you are doing multiple prints keep repeating this process until you have finished.  Once you wash the screen out, it is important to wait for it to dry before using it again. 

Step 8: Step 8: Paint Design

Picture of Step 8: Paint Design
Here you can see the reference image of the rat toward the right. I am painting in the cheese using acrylic paint and using the reference image as a guide. 

Step 9: Step 9: Register Screen to Painted Image

Picture of Step 9: Register Screen to Painted Image
Here the screen is placed above the fully painted image. You can see through the design in the screen to line up the artwork. 

Step 10: Step 10: Print the Final Detail

Picture of Step 10: Print the Final Detail
InkPull.jpg
Like before, flood the screen with your final ink layer and print. Here we used black to imitate our preliminary design. 

Step 11: Step 11: Check Out Your Art!

Picture of Step 11: Check Out Your Art!
FinishedThang.jpg
FinishedRat.jpg
Qdmaster3 months ago
Love the hand application of color for simplicity, we'll done, definitely motivated me to actually they my hand at screens...
water rat2 years ago
That's so cool! And not just because of the cute ratty :)
razorwinged2 years ago
hi! i just wanted to let you know that because i like this instructable so much, i have added it to my silkscreen guide... http://www.instructables.com/id/silkscreen-printing-easy-and-cheap/

thanks for sharing your ideas!
That's an awesome technique - the print looks so good!