there are many tutorials on the web instructing home-based screenprinting techniques, but most fail to mention the two most important tips for creating quality, affordable prints at home. The first is the importance of how taught or tight the mesh must be, the second involves something called the "snap". This instructable shows how to make adjustable screens to ensure the tightest of screens, and then explains the "snap"
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Step 1: Go Shopping!
This is what is required for this tutorial:
1 pine strip (1.8m long) and 22mm x 22mm.
4 x bolts (70mm x 6mm) with their accompaning nuts.
a drill (with 6mm bit).
mesh ( i've sourced mine from screenprinting suppliers and is a 55 mesh count)
Step 2: Cutting and Drilling
first we need to cut our pine strip into 4 strips.
i've used 2 x 45mm pieces and 2 x 35mm pieces (this is just my preferred measurements)
each piece will have a hole drilled through the side, and on the other end, into the middle.
the depth of the middle hole should be about 20mm
Step 3: The Lay-out
now we will creating a rectangular frame but with a "circular" lay-out.
in other words, the corners will be overlapping, not square.
this is best described by looking at the diagram.
each corner is connected by the bolt, then nut, and glued into the hole.
at this stage the nut will be tightened away from the glued hole.
allow to dry
Step 4: Mind the Gap
once dry, it is safe to move the bolts all the way to the hole.
then tap the ends of the pine strip closer so that the bolts are protruding on the outside.
now your frame should be square and the corners seperated by the nuts.
Step 5: Attaching the Mesh Screen
staple the mesh to the frame.
its not necessary to try pull it tight while attaching.
the nuts will do that for you later.
use wood glue to ensure an even stronger fit.
allow to dry.
nearly done! maybe time for a cold beer, never drink beer and handle a drill at the same time, instructable on how to stem blood flow from a drill wound at a later stage
Step 6: Nearly Done
now, using a spanner, start turning on the nuts so that they increase the gap at each corner.
do one nut at a time, starting with small adjustments so that the gaps increase slowly.
you should now feel the screen becoming tighter.
you will know the correct stretch if it starts feeling like you're tapping on a drum or tamborine.
remember, too much stretch and it could start tearing, so be patient.
now find other instructables which show the use of emulsion and prints to make your screen.
there are many
Step 7: The Snap
now we all know how frustrating screenprinting can be.
but once you have a super-tight screen, here is another important piece of information which will help you create perfect prints, and its called, quite simply, the "snap".
the snap is the distance between your screen and the textile.
this should be about 5-6mm and many people do not know this.
so your screen should not be resting on the material, it should be away from it.
now you could never achieve this without a tight screen, but your pressure of the sqeegee should force the screen down onto the textile, and the tightness ensures it springs back up as you pass.
voila!!!! good luck.
now have another beer