I made these personalized wedding coasters for a friends wedding. It was easy, personal, and very special to the bride who loved the handmade aspect of the gift.
I used the EZScreen basic starter kit which is an easy DIY screen printing method for making your own crafts or screen printed items. Everything I needed to make the stencils were included in the kit.
Step 1: Create Your Image
I found artwork online that I needed to change to black and white images (not gray scale). On a photo editor, I converted the images.
Step 2: Print the Artwork
I measured the wood slices and formatted the images so they would fit perfectly. Once I had the images formatted, I printed them on ink jet transparency (included in the screen print kit).
I added the initials of the bride and groom to make it more personal.
Step 3: The EZScreen Stencil
These DIY stencils are light sensitive, so in a dark room, I took out one stencil and cut it so there was at least 1" border around my designs. I put the other piece of stencil back in the bag so I can use it for a different stencil at a later time.
Step 4: Assembling the Exposure Boards
There are two boards that come in the kit as part of the exposure board unit: a clear board and a black board with felt. These two pieces sandwich the EZScreen screen print stencil and the transparency artwork together during exposure.
Take the clear board and lay the transparency on top so it's readable. Peel the clear protective coating off of the green stencil (throw clear plastic away) and lay the stencil shiny side down on top of the artwork.
Step 5: Felt Board
Take the black board, and lay it felt side down on top of the stencil/artwork/clear board.
The felt on the clear board ensures that there are no gaps or air pockets between the stencil and artwork during exposure (air pockets could cause blurriness in the stencil)
Step 6: Add the Clips
Still working in a dimly lit room (to avoid pre-exposure to the stencil) add the clips to the boards to hold them firmly together.
Step 7: Expose Outside
Use something dark to cover the stencil as you take it outside to expose in direct sunlight. Once you have your timer set to one minute, remove the cover and expose.
Beware of cloudy weather. Any cloud coverage could affect the exposure time and mess up the stencil. EZScreenPrint has two exposure light units if you do not have access to sunlight.
Step 8: Soak the Stencil
Soak the stencil in room temperature water for at least 10 minutes (still in a dimly lit area). You will see a ghost image once submerged in water. After 10-15 minutes, the emulsion will start lifting off the stencil.
Step 9: Rinse
Rinse the stencil under a steam of water to remove any remaining residue. Hold the stencil up to light to make sure there is no light green residue in the areas where it should be completely gone (the design area)
Step 10: "Harden" the Stencil
This step is critical so that the stencil becomes reusable. After you have rinsed the stencil, blot off excess water and place the stencil (backwards) back outside in sunlight. You will notice that the stencil is tacky or soft when wet, and re-exposing it to light after it has been made will adhere the green emulsion to the silk screen mesh permanently. If this step is skipped, the emulsion may remain soft and flake off after use.
Step 11: Screen Print!!
Now that the stencil is done, which takes less than 30 minutes, you can start using the stencil! I cut it half so each design is its own stencil, and starting screen printing the wood slices using speedball black ink and a brush.
Step 12: Screen Print All the Coasters
Using the same stencil, screen print as many coasters as you like :) I made 3 tree coasters and 3 bird coasters for a total of 6 custom screen printed wedding coasters. It was super simple, fun, and a huge hit with the couple!
The EZScreen stencils can be used as many times as needed, on different types of surfaces.
I bought all the supplies (including speedball screen print ink) at www.ezscreenprint.com
After the black ink dried (about 1 hour for air dry) I sprayed a light layer of clear polyurethane over the coaster so it became water resistant.