Here are the things I've done/read/watched to get where I am now.
- Screwball Press. This is where I had my first good introduction to screen printing. If you're in the Chicago area and can schedule a day to learn from Steve, I recommend it.
- Screen Printing Today by Andy MacDougall. Nearly everyone here recommends this for good reason. I'm betting that if you buy it through that link, Andy get's a couple more bucks than if you buy it from Amazon. Includes plans for a vacuum table and t-shirt jig. Buy this book and read it before you buy a lot of supplies.
- Simple Screenprinting: Basic Techniques & Creative Projects. Meh. This was the first book I read on the topic. Really better for crafters and folks that want to print pictures on their kids' lunchbags.
Getting Started Threads
- My Process Thread - From purchase to first prints (Ongoing). Epic. I found this today as I was compiling lists. Includes some good tips on applying emulsion. Shows the exposure test process with pictures, which is seldom documented. Emulsion recommendations discussed.
- Q: Just Getting Started (Austin TX). Not super comprehensive, but includes one of the best shopping lists I've seen, complete with links to suppliers.
- best places to purchase equipment? Lots of good answers by experienced folks.
- The FNG thinks he can print, eh? The only thing this demonstrates is why you shouldn't use a Speedball screen printing kit. It's also good for a laugh in retrospect.
DIY Washout Booths
- PROCESS - the $60 washout booth. Uses 2x4s and showerboard. Could maybe benefit from a coat of paint to keep some moisture out of the wood.
- Do-It Yourself Washout Booth for Screen Printing. Uses an ag storage tank. I like this idea because it is semi-translucent allowing it to be backlit and the tank is seamless with no places to leak except the drain. Size is a problem if you need to get it through a standard door. If this is an approach you like search for "water storage tanks". They come in all sorts of sizes (including some that will fit through a door) and you might be able to get a deal on a broken one since you're going to cut into it anyway.
- Ultra cheap washing unit. No backlight, but I dig the half bath tub.
- Homemade metal washout Booth. Looks pretty slick, but the materials are a little costly.
DIY Drying Racks
- I Made This: A Drying Rack. Nice. This example used a table saw, but you could make the notches with a router or Dremel.
- Process: D.I.Y. Drying Rack. Can store prints over 18x24.
- Drying Rack for basement printer. Much like these other examples, except this uses drilled 1x2s attached to 2x4s instead of notching 2x4s.
- bradbane's similar approach uses only two vertical boards that appear to be 2x6s vs. 2x4s. The shelves are held in with Liquid Nails adhesive. The approach by morningjogging looks nice and clean with lots of airflow. Saves on masonite/pegboard shelves, but probably took a little more work. Both are in the DIY Drying Rack? thread.
- Building A Vacuum Table. Oh, man. That aluminum top is slick. It is tempting to go this way, but in the interest of saving money I'll likely use a countertop laminate top like Andy's table in the book at the top of this post. However, if you are thinking of going this route, one thought is to use thinner aluminum and use more spacers underneath it (this table only has two, but used 1/4" aluminum). Another option is instead of drilling all those holes through metal, search for "perforated metal sheets". Some places have it in stock or can drill a sheet to your size and specs. This table is based off the one at Pelican Print Shop. [Note: I considered using a magnetic stainless steel top so that I could use magnetic registration tabs, but read a suggestion by Andy noting that any registration tabs that sit proud of your paper will wear pin holes in your paper over time] [Note 2: Almost all other vacuum table builds I've seen are slight variations on the one in Andy MacDougall's book. You can make it in a variety of sizes.]
DIY Exposure Units
- DIY Exposure unit plans inc. vacuum top. Nice design with windows to view the contact between the film and stencil. Also note the air cord tied to vacuum inlet. It's a nice touch.
- DIY Exposure Unit Vacuum Top for under 20 bucks. Looks nice. There were concerns by some about light bouncing off the non-black rubber used in the top.
- DIY Vacuum Unit! From another board. This unit includes a timer and is interesting because it uses a vacuum pump instead of a ShopVac type vacuum. Is a vacuum pump potentially quieter or last longer? Also includes a couple links for smooth black 3mm neoprene for the top. Link 1. Link 2.
- DIY Metal Halide Vacuum Exposure Unit Video. I think this guy forgot to use some sort of weather stripping to hold the vacuum pressure.
- How to Build an Exposure Unit @ ASPA.
- DIY Exposure Unit: Unfiltered Blacklight Tubes vs 1000 Watt Metal Halide Grow LIght?? Good discussion. For the time being I may just use the sun. Point source is the way to go for fine detail, etc. Read all about it in Andy's book. If you don't already own this book, you're in the process of ordering it now, right? This is the third time I've mentioned it.
- art prints, screen sizes to print sizes. Discussion of what size frames to use. Some discussion of mesh count.
- The importance of pre-racking. I kept seeing discussions of pre-racking. Some folks do it, some don't and I didn't understand it. Steve says why you should. So does Andy.
- Inks. This comes up a lot. For every kind of screen printing ink there is, you'll get two answers because some folks mix them. Some people use house paint. TW seems to get a lot of love, but so do Nazdar, Speedball, and Versatex. I've used Dick Blick water based textile paint which has been compared to Union Aerotex. I'm intrigued by using Golden Acrylics with screen printing medium.
- Paper. Popular answers include Cougar 100#, French Paper, and even Wausau 80#. It seems like I've seen a couple posts where Andy suggests roughing up paper with 300 grit wet/dry. Some have asked if he was joking. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I've yet to take sandpaper to paper before printing.