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)
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.