This blog post will show you another screen printing hack for anyone missing the studios. This method of printing is using a paper stencil as a barrier. This process is similar to the way you would work in the studio, but much more lo-fi.
Instead of using emulsion to act as a barrier for your ink, you will be using cut/torn newsprint (any thin paper) to do this. This process is great for experimenting with layers, textures and shapes!
You can create very detailed stencils or stencils that are a lot more abstract. This way of printing will allow you to create an edition, but only of a small size. The “barrier” paper will degrade over time.
What you will need:
- Water based ink
- Paper (Normal to print onto)
- Paper (Thinner for your barrier)
- Parcel tape
- Ink pots
- Sponge/J-Cloth for cleaning your screen.
- Spatula/ ID card for spreading ink onto your screen.
- Spoon/knife for mixing inks in your pot.
- Screen clamps
- Base board
- Drying rack
Our list of suppliers has information on where you can buy some of these materials from.
Step 1: Tape out your screen to create a window just smaller than your paper. Remember that anywhere you can see your screen mesh ink will print!
I have used parcel tape, but you can use white tape or anything similar. I have got clamps to hold my screen in place when printing, but if you don’t have these you could ask a flatmate to hold it down, or use big bags of rice.
Step 2: Position your paper under your screen, so that it lines up with the window you created with parcel tape. Once it is in place use tape to mark where the corner of your paper should be. I have used masking tape to mark where my corners land.
Step 3: Create your stencil! Using thin paper, cut or tear your paper to create stencils. I have used newsprint which is 90gsm. At this point you can be experimental. You can cut a very detailed stencil using a scalpel/scissors or tear the paper for more abstract shapes with textured edges.
Step 4: Get your inks ready. If you have ready mixed inks that’s great, but you can easily use any brand of acrylic paint with screen printing medium. Remember to mix your paint with at least 50% of the Screen printing medium.
I have used the ends of plastic bottles as my ink storage, but you can use anything you find in your home.
Step 5: Position your stencil on top of your printing paper. Place the paper in the registration marks and place your stencil on top exactly where you want the design.
Step 6: Prop your screen on a roll of tape to allow you to flood the screen before printing.
Step 7: Floor your screen. Run a large amount of ink along the near side of your screen. You will then use your squeegee to push the ink to the back of the screen, covering the open area.
Step 8: You’re ready to print. Take out the roll of tape and place the screen down. With your squeegee, push down and pull it towards you.
1 or 2 pulls should be enough. If you are pulling twice don’t lift your screen up to look at your print in between, as you may move the paper underneath the screen. The first print might not be the best quality, but it will soon fill in.
Step 9: Lift up your screen and reveal your masterpiece. Put your print on the drying rack, flood your screen and keep printing, by repeating from Step 5 onwards.
Remember to keep moving when printing as you don’t want the ink to dry in the mesh. If you need to pause then just clean your screen before.
Step 10: Once you have completed all the prints you want from this stencil, use your ID card or spatula to scoop up your ink and save it for another time. Peel off your stencil from the underside of your screen and use your j-cloth or sponge with water to give your screen a thorough wash.
You can repeat from Step 3 if you want to add another layer to your print. This could add more detail, a new colour or a background. Take time to line up your second stencil on top of your first colour before printing.
You can keep adding layers to your print and be experimental with how you work.
One completed, this print can be worked into, using pencils, inks, oil pastels or pens and can be cut up and used for collage.