Keen to make your very first screen print at home? We’ve rounded up essential tips to help you get started, from choosing supplies to curing your cool new print.
CHOOSING YOUR SUPPLIES
You can go as DIY or as professional as you like when gathering your supplies, but ultimately, you’ll need the following elements:
- A screen. This could be a purchased screen or a simple DIY wooden frame with 100 polyester mesh stapled tightly across the top – just keep in mind that the screen mesh will need to sit flush against one side of the frame for a successful print.
- A squeegee to consistently slide and push ink through the screen.
- Quality screen printing ink in your preferred colours. Water-based screen-printing ink is a great choice, because it’s both easy to clean up and safer for you to use and for the environment.
- Some tape to attach your stencil design to the screen or to tape the outside edges of the screen so that the ink doesn’t go into the corners of the screen
- Paper, fabric or textiles to print onto. To start with you could use a pillow case, a calico tote bag, a blank tea towel or a plain white t-shirt.
Tip: The PERMASET complete screen printing kit is the perfect way to get started with textile printing, including a silk screen, squeegee, stencil paper sheets, masking tape, instructions and 6 PERMASET AQUA colours that mix together beautifully.
PREPARING YOUR SCREEN
You can create your design and prepare your screen in a number of ways, but here are the two most common options. Both create distinct sections where the ink can and cannot pass through the screen onto the printing surface.
- The first method, which is great for home beginners, is to create a physical stencil which can then be taped against the screen. You could simply print out a design and then use scissors to cut the shape or shapes out. This is a fantastic option if you want to reuse your screen for multiple designs or for printing different coloured inks in your design.Watch this video shows you how to screen print onto fabric using paper stencils by Handprinted UK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnuD8pbeOag
- The second method, typically used by professional screen printers, uses a light-sensitive photo emulsion to prepare the screen. You’ll need to coat the screen with a thin layer of emulsion and let it dry in a dark place. Print your design onto an acetate or transparent sheet, place it reversed onto the screen and expose it to a light source as instructed. Then, wash out the uncured emulsion with water and let the emulsion fully dry and harden. You should see your design clearly at this stage. Here is a link to a video showing an easy way to prepare a design for screen printing using emulsion.
Tip: Your design could be a minimalist one-colour print or use multiple layers to build a complex design with a number of colours – however it is best to start simple!
MAKING THE PRINT
Screen print time! Use some Table Adhesive to secure your paper or fabric to the table, then line up your screen so the design is positioned correctly with surfaces sitting flush. While professional screen printers use a screen printing press, at home you could use clamps to hold the screen in place. Place a decent amount of ink at the top of the screen. Using water-based inks it is a good idea to flood the screen with ink. Checkout this short video showing you how to flood the screen with ink. Draw the squeegee towards you without pressure to first flood the screen with a consistent amount of ink. Then, draw the squeegee towards you again with firm pressure at a 45-degree angle, which will squeeze the ink onto the layer below. It’s good to do two layers of ink, that is two pulls. Lift up your screen carefully and admire the results, before giving your screen and squeegee a thorough rinse with water. Water-based inks must be washed out of the screen with water quickly so as not to dry in the screen
Tip: If printing onto a T-shirt, be sure to slip a piece of cardboard inside first to avoid ink seeping through to the second layer.
CURING THE PRINT
You’ll want to let your design dry thoroughly and then cure it to avoid the design washing or rubbing off over time. Fortunately, with PERMASET water-based inks you can cure designs easily by applying a hot iron on the the cotton setting for 2-3 minutes, or by leaving the print in the heat of the sun for a few hours up to a full day. There are number of ways you can cure your print outlined here. Now you can sit back and bask in the knowledge you just aced your first screen print!
Checkout this video detailing how to screen print simply using PERMASET Inks.
Are you conscious of the products used in your screen-printing practice or on your yardage table? Being aware of all these products and how they can affect your staff, your equipment, your customers and the environment can bring more value to your screen-printing business.
Not all adhesives labelled “eco-friendly” are safe for users and the environment. Regular spray adhesives can pose health risks due to the amount of PVC and phthalates contained in these products. PERMASET® Table Adhesive is a pressure sensitive, water-soluble coating that is non-toxic and non-flammable which is much safer for the user and your screen-printing practice than the usual toxic spray adhesives. Find out how this product can add value by making your studio practices more sustainable.
PERMASET® Table Adhesive versus Regular Spray Adhesives
- PERMASET® Table Adhesive solves spraying problems caused by regular spray adhesives. Regular spray adhesives can cause a build up on the machine when some of the spray particles land on the machine parts, or even worse when particles are inhaled by the person handling the machine.
- PERMASET® Table Adhesive also sticks and dries quickly in about 10-30 minutes depending on the weather and thickness of the glue applied. You can also reactivate its sticky properties by spraying water on the adhesive and allowing it to absorb for a few minutes. Regular spray adhesives usually take an hour to dry.
- Regular spray adhesives are also toxic to your staff and customers’ health, and detrimental to the environment due to their harmful contents. Some spray adhesives may also be labelled as “eco-friendly” but still contain hidden chemicals so it’s preferable to choose water-reducible yardage table type adhesives to prevent future health risks.
Checkout this video showing how to apply PERMASET Table Adhesive
Using PERMASET Table Adhesive with Care
PERMASET® Table Adhesive will work to your advantage when you use it correctly. Find out the ways you can use and store PERMASET Table Adhesive effectively:
- Always wear protective equipment such as latex gloves, a face mask and apron when screen printing
- For best screen-printing results, lubricate vinyl and rubber coated surfaces with PERMASET Table Adhesive using a squeegee
- Make sure to cover the entire surface completely and include the edges when lubricating your yardage table with PERMASET Table Adhesive
- Let the Table Adhesive settle for a few minutes before laying fabric on top
- Though the product is non-toxic, we highly discourage using spray bottles to apply any adhesives because particles can be left in the air and inhaled by your staff
- Wash off the PERMASET Table Adhesive from the platen with water
- Make sure to close the lid of PERMASET Table Adhesive tightly and store it in safe place under room temperature
- Maintain the label. Tearing and removal of labels could result in misuse of the product
- Avoid spilling the Table Adhesive down drains and other surfaces. If this happens by accident, wipe off the adhesive using paper or a scrap material and letting it dry before disposing of the material in commercial bins
- While the PERMASET Table Adhesive bottle can be recycled, please check with your local recycling programs if this is allowed in your area.
Care for your staff, your customers, your screen-printing equipment and the environment by using eco-friendly inks and adhesives such as the PERMASET water-based screen print inks and PERMASET Table Adhesive. Visit the PERMASET online shop now to purchase online or contact your local PERMASET Stockist to buy.
Boutique Australian ink manufacturer, Colormaker Industries, is set to ramp up their focus on PERMASET® product innovation and sustainability during the course of 2021. This builds on the company’s reputation as a leader in sustainable manufacturing.
A little bit of Australian sunshine in every drop of PERMASET ink
In 2019, Colormaker Industries installed a 100 kW solar array on the roof of their Brookvale factory. This produces twice as much electricity as they use to power their production processes. This is enough to power 20 local homes and save over 150 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year. At the time of writing, the array had already saved 190 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
Colormaker continues to explore methods to reduce energy consumption, recently commissioning an energy audit. They’re now planning the installation of a raft of equipment that will not only reduce energy consumption outright, but will also monitor energy consumption in real time, allowing modification of practices on the shop floor. Colormaker was recently asked to present at a Smart Energy Council webinar.
Local deliveries are powered by solar
The installation of the solar array was so successful that Colormaker purchased an Electric Vehicle to make local deliveries. They are also planning to purchase a second EV.
“We haven’t run through the numbers in detail yet, but it looks like replacing petrol with solar produced electricity is an even greater greenhouse gas abatement option than sending all surplus electricity back into the grid” advised Colormaker Industries MD, David Stuart.
Evolving to R-PET Recycled Packaging
Colormaker has ordered their first batch of 100% recycled PET (RPET) jars. Though more expensive than virgin PET, the company believes they need to play a role in providing an outlet for some of the tonnes of recyclable waste that is collected each year. The first PERMASET inks in RPET jars is expected to be released to market in February 2021.
Carbon Neutral by 2030
Given the success of these efforts, Colormaker is looking more actively at what they would need to do to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. “We expect that we’ll utilise technologies that haven’t yet been imagined, let alone made commercially available, but it’s something that we are passionate about” noted Stuart.
Product and Manufacturing Innovation
The PERMASET water-based ink range (PERMASET AQUA, PERMASET SUPERCOVER, PERMATONE and PERMAPRINT Premium) are supported with dedicated R&D staff and research projects are directed towards exploring continuous product improvement in relation to organic and product performance.
PERMASET eco-friendly ink prints were recently subjected to a compost challenge by Melbourne yardage designer Ink and Spindle, and passed with flying colours:
The company continues to push boundaries through the adoption of best practice recycling, reduction in water use and sustainable manufacturing processes to deliver the most environmentally responsible products available to the screen printing trade.
With a lot going on behind the scenes, the launch of specific initiatives will be announced over the course of 2021.
PERMASET Manufacturer & Distributor in Australia: Colormaker Industries
PERMASET Trade Distributor in the UK: Steve Wood Services Ltd.
PERMASET Craft Distributor in the UK: West Design Products
PERMASET Distributor in the Rest of Europe: Atlantic Empire
PERMASET Distributor in USA: Armadillo Art
Complement the natural beauty of linen with shimmering PERMASET screen printing inks.
PERMASET Pearl White can be substituted for PERMATONE White when mixing inks to create shimmering colours. PERMASET Pearl White can be mixed with either PERMASET Standard Colours or PERMATONE mixing bases.
The PERMATONE mixing system can produce 1869 colours. Simply choose a colour, substitute 50% PERMASET Pearl White for PERMATONE White in the formula, mix thoroughly and you have a shimmering facsimile of the colour!
The photos shown above of light blue and mid blue samples on white and black cotton jersey show the effect of substituting PERMATONE White with 50% PERMASET Pearl White. There is a small tonal shift with the Pearl White substitution.
Not only does using the PERMATONE mixing system take most of the guess work out of formulating a colour it is also reproducible – just lookup a formula, substitute PERMATONE White with 50% PERMASET Pearl White and you can mix up another batch.
You may also have noticed that using PERMASET Pearl White instead of PERMATONE White adds opacity to the transparent PERMATONE mixing bases allowing you to print on dark fabrics without needing to print an underbase, saving you time and reducing your ink costs.
We also made up two greens for comparison,
and two reds:
PERMATONE mixing bases give you the versatility of a matching system and are water-based so are easy to clean up and after heat fixing, PERMATONE prints offer excellent wash, rub and dry-clean resistance.
If you’d like to purchase the PERMASET botanical tea towels decorated with shimmering inks, you can find them in our PERMASET Online Shop here
PERMASET® SUPERCOVER First Down White is used as an under-base or flash white by Trade printers who wish to print on dark fabrics but prefer to use standard PERMASET AQUA® colours or PERMATONE® inks to retain their superior softness and vibrancy. It is normally used with multi-station print facilities.
Using PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White in place of a discharge product will mean you tie up an extra print station however, there are 5 great advantages:
1. TIME PRESSURE & WASTE
No chemicals means no smells, no rush and no waste with PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White. With discharge printing, once you add the discharge agent the clock is ticking, so you must print the entire bucket within 2 hours. Any discharge ink unused at that time must be disposed of, so there’s a wastage factor with discharge versus using PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White.
2. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET
With PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White you can see what you’re printing from the very first print. A complaint of discharge systems is that if a mistake IS made, you don’t get to see it until it comes out of the drying tunnel at the end of the process, by which time potentially 20 more shirts may have been printed.
3. HEALTH & SAFETY
The lack of chemical addition with PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White reduces an opportunity for the introduction of variability into your processes (e.g. in staff mixing practices +/or variability in dye-lots from the shirt manufacturer). No chemicals, no smells and no headaches also contributes to a safer workplace for you and your staff and a healthier environment for your community.
You’ll get a more consistent result using PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White from one shirt colour to the next and one shirt maker to the next. You don’t know whether this year’s black t-shirt was a surplus white shirt last year, or pink, or brown, or green or orange or purple, so you don’t know what colour it will come out with the discharge process.
The reduction in variability through printing one standard ink as a base onto a shirt puts you back in control; you control the inputs and processes so you get reproducible results.
5. SOIL ASSOCIATION APPROVED
Added to the above, PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White also has Approval by the Soil Assocation of the UK (GOTS 6.0). This means that PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White has successfully met the requirements of the Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS) for non-organic chemical inputs for use in organic textile processing.
So now you’ve got 5 solid reasons to explore this innovative technology.
For further tips about screen printing with water-based inks check out this Blog
To find your closest PERMASET Stockist visit our PERMASET Stockist Search
To purchase PERMASET SUPERCOVER First Down White online visit our PERMASET Shop