Screen Printing Workshop Highlights

It's official: Open Lab Idaho members are now rocking stylish custom screen-printed t-shirts, thanks to Juliana from Bricolage! We wanted Open Lab Idaho t-shirts, but decided that sending our logo off to have them commercially printed just wasn't the hackerspace way, so Dave invited Juliana down to teach us how to screen print our own shirts. After receiving a copy of our logo, she prepared the screen and brought all of her gear down to show us the rest. Details after the break!




[caption id="attachment_148" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Cole positioning a shirt for screen printing."][/caption]

Step 1.  Position the shirt for printing. This part is tough because you have to eyeball it. We shot for printing the logo 4 inches down from the neckline. A mild adhesive spray is used to tack the shirt down, just in case a reprint is needed.

[caption id="attachment_153" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Flooding the screen."][/caption]

Step 2. Flood or "recharge" the screen. Mild pressure at a 15 degree angle is used to move the ink into the screen for printing.

[caption id="attachment_151" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Printing to the shirt. Look at how much fun he is having!"][/caption]

Step 3. Pull the screen down to the shirt. Use moderate pressure with only a couple of degrees on the squeegee, and pull the ink across the logo.

[caption id="attachment_152" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Teh epic moment of truth! Zomg!"][/caption]

Step 4. The moment of truth! Pick up the screen and see how it looks. If needed, reflood the screen and reprint, or leave the print partially unfilled for the distressed look.

Step 5. Hang the shirt up for a few minutes. Ours sat for about 20 minutes before we moved on to curing.

Step 6. Cure the ink. Use a clothes iron to apply direct heat to the print for about 20 seconds.

Each member that could make it down printed off their own shirt, and then took turns printing for the members that couldn't make it. During the course of the workshop, our electronically-minded members noted how similar screen printing t-shirts is to printing "PCBs," or printed circuit boards. This workshop was blast, because it gave Open Lab members a chance to move outside of the usual electronics projects and into the unknown. We would love to see more workshops and projects like this in the future, because we love anything DIY!

[caption id="attachment_154" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="Dave being safe! Be careful there buddy..."][/caption]

Several of us expressed interest in building our own screen press for use by Open Lab members, so keep an eye out for that project, and eventually more t-shirts! Many thanks to Juliana for putting the workshop on for us, and teaching us the history and practice of screen printing!

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