Basic DIY Woodglue Photoemulsion




These Instructions will lay bare the simplicity and flexibility of making photoemulsion for screenprinting. I feel that the Photoreactivity of emulsion spooks some beginners, who think something like a dark room is needed. Watch as i burn a screen with no regard for ambient lighting and the most minimal of materials.

Woodglue - I had the tail end of a bottle , like 1/4 cup or so

Potassium DiChromate - bought some about a year ago and haven't even used half. I dumped out what looked like about 1/4 gram ish.

water from the tap


stretched screen

random clear sticker with a muppet drawn on in sharpie


Step 1: Mix Dichromate and Tapwater in a Little Vial

Added a few ml of water and shook until mostly dissolved.

Step 2: Dump and Shake

dump the vial of now orange water into the glue bottle. wear gloves and shake it well. at this point it becomes photosensitive so i moved to the dimly lit bathroom

Step 3: Coat the Screen

I just squirt it on and smooth both sided again and again. whatever scrapes off onto the squeegee is discarded until theres no holes or unevenness. Immediately i dried it with the hairdryer on cool for about five minutes. Keep it dim, once dry the emulsions sensitivity is at max.

Step 4: Make a Master

this one some dude drew and left at my house. Its just sharpie on clear vinyl

Step 5: Burn (exposure)

Stuck the sticker on, put a black board under and set it in the partial sun for 30-60 seconds. check after thirty you should see a marked color change. if not, give it more sun

Step 6: Washout

peel off the master and wet the screen. let it sit a couple minutes then rub it gently with fingertips under cold water . once the emulsion is washing out a short burst from the spray nozzle will clear it out. Be careful. after its clear let it cook in the sun to dry

Step 7: Print!

Thats it , It works!



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    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Ammonium bichromate is even more sensitive and can be used with any polyvinyl acetate based glue.


    2 years ago

    From Wikipedia: "[...] potassium dichromate is carcinogenic and should be handled with gloves and appropriate health and safety protection. The compound is also corrosive and exposure may produce severe eye damage or blindness.[12] Human exposure further encompasses impaired fertility, heritable genetic damage and harm to unborn children."

    "Aquatic organisms are especially vulnerable if exposed, and hence
    responsible disposal according local environmental regulations is


    2 years ago

    thanks for the comments and catching that typo. It's dichromate, and I fixed it. Wear gloves, throw away the container used for mixing, and avoid contact of any kind with raw chemicals.


    2 years ago

    Please note: this Instructable says "chromate" in one place and "dichromate" in another. It should be "dichromate" according to the bottle in the first image.


    2 years ago

    Here I've been quietly gathering minimal screen printing ideas for two months, and everything you've uploaded in the last week has been everything I was looking for. Between this cheap photo-emulsion & your diy presses, I'm just waiting on supplies. Thanks a lot, I'll show you how it turns out!