Photo Emulsion Gone Wrong…and Then Right

13 02 2010

I’m going to cry foul on the directions in the Speedball Diazo Photo Emulsion Kit.  I’ve done a number of screen printing projects but this is my first using photo emulsion and it was a doozy. I’m going to re-write some directions at the end of this post, but first! the reason for the project.

My Mom is directing a rug hooking camp at Asilomar this week and I’m her assistant.  Past precedent for this event is for the director to run a small store with supplies that the artists might need.  We decided that I would make some little commemorative canvas bags with a design by my Mom to sell as well.

My first attempt at coating my screen was a gloppy mess…discovered only after I had gone through all the steps outlined in the directions.  I also broke the bulb and the lamp fell over.

My better directions for photo emulsion for the hobbyist:

Be sure you have all the supplies you’ll need before starting – screen (mine was 10″x14″), design, appropriate ink for your project, squeegee, iron, 150 watt light bulb and a lamp that can handle it, recyclable pie plate, a piece of glass about the size of your screen and your Speedball photo emulsion kit.

Work in a dark-ish room, with a tarp or newspaper on the ground.  Have 4 somethings handy to prop up your screen so that it can dry elevated and horizontally.  I used 4 ink tubs.

  1. Mix the solution by following the directions on the bottle.
  2. Over your protective surface, pour small amounts on the back of your screen, using your squeegee to get an even, thin layer covering every portion of your screen.
  3. Turn your screen over and use the squeegee to be sure you have the same even, thin layer covering the entire inside of the screen.
  4. Rest the screen frame on your 4 supports – 1 in each corner, none of them touching the actual screen, and allow to dry completely in a cool dark space (a fan helps).
  5. Get your design ready.  I printed my design onto a sheet of transparency paper:
  6. Once the screen is completely dry, place it back side up over a black surface, lay your design upside down on the back of the screen and place the glass on it to hold it down. Other wise it’ll print backward. 🙂
  7. Position your lamp, with 150 watt bulb backed by the pie plate, approximately 12 inches above the exact middle of your design and turn that puppy on.  Set a timer for 45 minutes.
  8. When your timer goes off, take the glass and design off your screen and aggressively spray with water approximately body temperature until you can see your the light behind your design:
  9. Do your silk screening!



2 responses

16 02 2010
wacky wakano

A couple of extra tips, to get completely dense blacks use two sheets of transparencies. If ya do this, be total anal, like Emma would, and make sure they line-up exactly! Also, if you use a flood-lap, and place it 12-18″ above the screen while yer burning it, will cut down exposure time to around 10-15 minutes.

16 02 2010
wacky wakano

i meant flood-lamp!

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