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Home screen washout and printing errors.. Answered

I bought a home screen printing kit from an art store but I'm having trouble with a few things and they are: The instructions said to use a 150watt incandescent bulb 12 inches from the screen for 45 minutes. I thought 45 minutes was awfully long so I bought a 300watt bulb and exposed it for 23 minutes. My initial design which was 3 letters at a very large font worked out pretty good but it took an awfully long time to spray out design, it probably took me 10 minutes. I thought the 23 minutes was okay so I used the same time with my next design which had smaller text well my smaller text never washed out even though it looked like it was burned in. I went up to 30 minutes, then 35 minutes, then 40 minutes and I'm still having trouble washing out designs with small letter text. Should I be cooking my screen for longer than 45 minutes? Second question is, when I'm actually swiping my screen does the type of squeegee I use matter? I swiped a few shirts and I'm still not getting a consistant print each time. I'm not clamping my screen down so I know my DIY method is really dirty but I expected better results, should I expect less? Thanks



10 years ago

Small text, especially with really fine details, has always been troublesome with screen printing. Increase the size and thickness of your text and you won't have to deal with the issue. Using a finer-meshed screen may also help, but this may require lighter inks in order to work well. My next suggestion is to follow the instructions and switch back to a 150 watt bulb. Yes, the three hundred watt bulb will work, but you run the risk of overheating and drying out parts of the print that were supposed to remain unexposed. This will destroy fine details that might have otherwise come through. You could also run the risk of fire, a 300 watt bulb runs really, really hot. A good soft-rubber squeegee works best for me. Other people swear by a hard steel squeegee. I say it's personal preference. Use whatever feels comfortable and works evenly for you. Clamping your screen might give you a huge improvement in print quality. You should really consider it. It shouldn't be expensive to pick up a bag of plastic spring clamps or a couple cheap quick-release-type bar clamps.

Thanks for the answer I think you may be right I think the bulb may be drying things out. I'm also going to pick up a set of clamps. I'm actually thinking about a 4 color press but I wanted to become familiar with process prior to spending the money and I'm in love with printing already!!!


Answer 10 years ago

Totally agree - you just need the UV to set the resist - I recommend fluorescent light bulbs (grow bulbs even more).