04 April 2012

Silk Screen #Fail Re-Run!

I'm still in experimentation mode with this silk screening deal and I'm getting really annoyed.

Here's my first attempt with a homemade silk screen.

I'm a little impatient, but aren't we all when it comes to something we want and could potentially make us money?

So I bought a silk screen kit from Stencil Pro. I was torn between PhotoEZ and Stencil Pro and with some quick review reading I went with the latter and I'm glad I did. PhotoEZ had a few specific directions in order to make it work correctly which required too much brain power on my part, so Stencil Pro it was!

This stuff is insanely easy to use and the price is affordable. No chemicals to deal with, you just need a high quality transparency print (the blacker the print the better), sunshine, and tap water.

I was so excited to get started, I had been working on color separating designs and now on my day off I was ready for action. I don't own a printer (because I'm so indecisive about these things, my digital camera is over three years old too. Just can't decide.) so I packed up my children (consisting of my Macbook Pro, stencil kit, and son) and headed off to my mother's to use her inkjet printer.

The instructions stated to print the transparency as a high-quality print using the "best print" features on the printer instead of the transparency option. I was skeptical at first and my skepticism proved correct: printing a transparency using a premium paper setting makes it blurry and overly saturated with ink. So I tried again using the transparency setting and it came out great but the images weren't opaque enough and I knew it. I was thinking of filling it in with a paint pen but I didn't have one. And as I said before I'm impatient. So you know where this is leading...

The kit only gave me two transparencies. The first one bombed. The second one was looking pretty good, I waited a little while for it to dry then assembled the pieces to burn the images on the silk screen. The silk screen sandwich looks like this: contact frame which consists of black felt glued on what I think is thick chip board, silk screen, transparency, thick piece of clear/transparent plastic which had small magnets in the corner to keep it secured to the black felted chip board.

I placed it directly in the sun for about 30 seconds.

I took it apart and put the silk screen in an aluminum throw-away lasagna pan with tap water and left it submerged and covered with a solid colored/opaque top (so no light could get in) for ten minutes.

I put the plastic canvas from the kit under the silk screen and while in the water took a soft bristle brush and brushed over the images to rinse away the chemical residue that actually makes the silk screen. (The plastic canvas is to help the silk screen keep its integrity since it's a mesh and acts like paper and fabric mixed together.)

I left it on the canvas and put it back in the sun to dry.

The silk screen was under-exposed. The images didn't burn all the way through so it was clear on one side but not on the other. It was under-exposed for two reasons: my transparency wasn't opaque enough, and even so- if I left it in the sun a little longer it probably would have compensated for it.


Oh well.

Live and learn!

But! I was only given TWO transparencies and TWO silk screens. Both transparencies are gone and so is one silk screen. I went on a trip to my local wally-world and lo and behold they didn't have any transparencies. That's what I get for living in the friggin' country. I'm close enough to enjoy city life when I want to, but too far away to make a 25 minute trip for transparencies.


Lessons I Learned:

~ Use a laser printer to make your transparencies. I *know* that will work better. Got to make a trip to the big city for the Office Max!

~ Let the friggin' transparency dry *completely* if you're using an inkjet printer. I didn't and this is what happened:

I smeared my stuff. The small one on the lower left is a
sample sent in the kit: see how black the images are?

~ Have lots of backups, one small silk screen as a tester for exposure time, then a large one for the real deal.

Never fear! I may be easily discouraged but I'm not a quitter. I'm highly annoyed and just as determined to get this blasted thing to work right. I've got big plans and I will see them to fruition.

This week has been a little crazy- wally world has never a dull moment- and my cousin passed away. Which made me realize even more that whatever is causing you stress in your life is not worth your time. His stress was pretty major- but if you are able to wipe the stress away, do it. If your job is causing you more stress than joy at being able to make a living- find a new job. Just do it. Find a way to block out the nasty stuff and focus on the good. Life is way, way, WAY too short. Cherish each day.

I know my website design totally sucks. I'm working on it. Feel free to give me feedback, I don't mind, as long as its constructive and not hateful.

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