Art in any form, whether while creating or observing, releases feel-good hormones and leaves you with a sense of joy and fulfilment.
Step #1: Create your image
A standard silhouette using Photoshop is a good way to kickstart screen-printing: create a solid black image as it’s only going to be used to block the light. Print your image out onto transparency paper.
Step #2: Coat your screen in emulsion
Turn the lights down low and pull the curtains. There are two parts to your emulsion: the sensitizer and the emulsion itself. Mix them and lay down your screen on an old piece of fabric or plastic. Pour a little of your mixture onto the screen and spread it out with your squeegee, making sure the emulsion covers a slightly larger area than your image. This area of the screen needs to be coated – so you can’t see through it – in a thin, even layer. Leave the screen to dry in a pitch-black room.
Step #3: Expose your image
Leave the light off as you re-enter your darkroom. Lay down a black cloth and place the screen and frame (screen-side down) on top of this. Place the transparency printed with your image over the photo emulsion on the screen. Tape this down with masking tape or, better still, lay a piece of glass over it. Position your lamp with a bright bulb about a metre over the screen. Switch it on – with no other light in the room – and leave it for 15 minutes. When you return there will be faint blue lines on the screen when you lift up the transparency. If there aren’t, you need to wait but take care as overexposure will make the image bleed.
Step #4: Clean the screen
Spray your screen down with cold water. The section where your image is will start to flake off – keep going until you can see clearly through it. Let the screen dry and then cover any exposed parts of the screen (where there’s neither emulsion nor image) with tape.
Step #5: Let’s print!
Lay your t-shirt out on a table and place a piece of cardboard inside it, underneath the area you want to be printed. Place the screen over the t-shirt, positioning your design. Pour a small amount of ink across the top of the screen and use your squeegee to make one smooth movement down, pressing all the time. Run the squeegee up, down, left and right a couple of times to push the ink through. Lift the screen and admire your work.
Step #6: Wash down
Screen printing ink dries quickly: wash the ink off the screen so you can use it again. If you want to print a completely different image, you can use an emulsion remover to wipe the fabric clean.
Step #7: What’s next?
Bumping up your designs to two or three colours… Trying to print on paper, wood, glass…
This spring we’re celebrating moments that bring us joy at The Yards and to help us do this, illustrator Lizzie King has created artworks of the things that make us happy. Be sure to stop by, snap and share your moments of joy at The Yards using #FindJoyAtTheYards and by tagging @theyardscoventgarden.
We will also be giving you the chance to win a number of prizes – including meals for two, a night’s stay at a local hotel, shopping sprees and much more! Stay tuned via our Instagram to find out how to enter the competitions throughout May.
The Yards is a shopping and dining destination in the heart of Covent Garden. An urban oasis offering an array of unique fashion, beauty and lifestyle shops, and a selection of restaurants.
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