Photo Emulsion Screen Printing

One of my favorite thing about new clothing is screen printed fabric labels. For someone who makes clothing it is also a great way to brand your creations that looks very professional and bonus,can’t be cut out. I love the look of screen printing and have tried it with Mod Podge and contact paper, but the photo emulsion method that produces the fine details for labels seemed really intimidating. There is chemicals that have to be properly mixed, special fabric that has to be used, and a special light source to expose the screen with fancy charts and tables to figure out the exact times for the size your a working with. It was overwhelming and seemed like a lot of work for something that was going to be on the inside of a garment.
I had this mini screen clothing label tutorial from LilBlueBoo bookmarked forever and finally just decided to bite the bullet and do it…and it was easy!!! It was quick to use the sun to expose the screens and I didn’t have to spend money on lighting equipment that I wouldn’t use a lot. The lines are so crisp, I can’t wait to use them (waiting for nap time)! I still need to tape the edges, but that won’t take long at all.screen printed labels 2I used a small one piece box to hold my “sandwich” and it worked perfectly. It was super easy to just flip the lid open to expose and flip back shut to carry inside.screen printed labels 1 I do have a couple of suggestions if you’re going to do this project:
  • Make sure that you get a nice even coat of the emulsion. It is hard to get it even, if you absolutely can’t get it even make sure the “excess” is near the edge and not right in the middle where your design will be going. A thick spot will be exposed differently and the emulsion will be harder to remove in that spot spoiling an otherwise good screen.
  • Once you uncover your screen to expose it do not move anything thing, no small adjustments, tweaking, or messing around!!! You’ll end up with a blurry design.
  • Two transparencies are enough, splurge and go to the office supply store and get them made if your printer sucks. The more layers of transparencies you have the harder it is to keep them all perfectly aligned. Tape them together in more than one place to keep them from shifting.
  • Don’t worry about exact times when exposing, when the color has changed it’s ready.
Finishing the project made me feel like a rock star and it has also made me super excited to make some more custom designs, I have plenty of emulsion left. I’m thinking sugar skull “craft of die” totes and t-shirts. Do you have any requests?

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