I'm teaching an ultra-beginner/fun/crafty screenprinting class...advice/opinions plz!
So, I was contacted last week by our local museum about teaching a basic beginner t-shirt screen printing workshop/class at the museum. They have a space where they hold workshops with various media...collage, pastels, etc. They want to have a really basic t-shirt printing workshop for people ages teens and up. Just something to explain the concept, make a screen, and print one shirt. So I need to figure out the best way to do this. The facility this will be held in is basically a conference room...no running water. There is a janitors area with a utility sink in the basement though. It will be a class of approximately ten people.
Here is what I need to decide....
Should I try to figure out a way to bring a dozen coated screens there and have the students draw/paint on transparencies with india ink, burn screens with a halogen light, and wash out in the utility sink? Or should I go more basic and just go with screens hand-painted with screen filler? If I go the screen filler route what is a good water-resistant filler/blockout that is still reclaimable? We will probably just be using Speedball waterbased fabric ink. Is the Speedball screen filler stuff any good...I've read that its a pain to reclaim. How long does it take for screen filler to dry?
They are thinking about a four hour class....I need to figure out if we can explain the process, have the students draw/paint their films or direct onto their screens, have the screens dry, and print each screen in four hours. What do you guys think? Photo emulsion, or screen filler/blockout? Maybe even more basic and just keep it to cut paper stencils? Four hours...too little time?
I can't help you decide on which exposure method to use, but I would try and bring a few pre-exposed backup screens just in case you run into some issues burning screens at the museum. The worst thing that can happen to you is you have trouble burning the screens and then your SOL for the rest of the class. At the school where I teach I always have to have a plan b in place when my lesson hinges on some type of technology or something else that can fail on me and then the rest of the lesson is a wash.
For a one 4 hour session class, you might try making stencils that don't need to be exposed. I know of a community art center that starts out having the students cut stencils on self adhesive shelf liner paper that they stick to the screen. This doesn't end up with a finished product but serves to get a stencil ready to teach the principles of the process. This method eliminates the exposure and washout and gets the students putting ink down pretty quickly. Of course, you'd then have to explain the real methods - and get paid to teach a continuing class.
Halfmassive, VERY good idea. Will definitely do that.
40oz, There was talk of doing an intermediate class down the road. Maybe I will save the photo emulsion for that. I have actually never made a screen with anything but photo emulsion, so these more basic methods of making screens are new to me...having to go back and learn the basics of where a lot of people start is kind of funny. I did mention cut paper or cut acetate stencils to them...it would definitely be the quickest. I'm thinking that painting on screen filler might be a good middle road...not quite as technical and complicated as photo emulsion and easier to do in the space we have, but might end up with a nicer finished product than cut stencils...
I've been teaching a few friends how to screen print, and it is a bitch without a proper reclaiming space. A friend of mine took a beginner's class at Techshop SF, they cut stencils by hand from adhesive-backed vinyl.
No idea how easy it is to work with if cutting by hand, but definitely easy to peel off. I plan on doing vinyl stencils next time I'm asked, and if I want to illustrate the benefits of photoemulsion I usually have an exposed screen on hand.
I've been teaching a few friends how to screen print, and it is a bitch without a proper reclaiming space.
I print out of my rented place, but am lucky enough to have a backyard with a water supply. I built this washout box, which has an open front and top but a full back, and a chicken wire floor that the screen sits on. I keep pressure washer inside and take it out when I need it. The box has sort of a ramp underneath the wire mesh so when I'm spraying it all the removed material flows downward and back. If you want to contain the washed out stencil you can dig a hole and put a tub in the ground or something, maybe with holes in it so the water drains back into the ground but the solids are captured. Or if on concrete, you can channel it into something above ground if you raise the booth a bit.
So I guess what I'm saying is if you have access to a yard or open area of some kind, and hose/water supply, it can be done without a proper space although many times I wish I had an indoor area to do this as I have to carry the pressure washer down a flight of stairs whenever I need to reclaim a screen, and it sucks in the Winter. But all this will make me stronger for when the asteroid captained by Quetzalcoatl slams into the planet sometime this year.
I wash the ink out in the tub, once I have a few screens I reclaim them in the back yard using a garden hose and a similar setup... with Ulano QTX it washes out just fine without a pressure washer. Still, it is a bit of a hazzle compared to a proper reclaiming space, the neighbours must be wondering what the hell I'm doing back there.
there are stencil films on the market that look like rubylith films.
you cut the stencil like rubylith then stick it on the screen with water or white spirits,
depending on what type of ink you're using.