Screen printing is fun because - it’s like an art that lets you illustrate stunning graphics on fabric or paper. A bit of creativity and screen printing supplies are all you need to kickstart a rewarding journey!
While screen printing kits are available on the market, you need to understand the importance and function of each basic screen printing equipment as it will greatly determine your output.
The equipment you need for screen printing depends on your budget, space, requirements, and your work. If you are clear about the type of work you want to begin with screen printing:
All you need is this screen printing equipment at your disposal:
- Screen Printing Press
- Flash Cure Unit
- Exposure Unit
- Flash Dryer Belt Dryer
- Washout Booth
- Pressure Washer
- Screen Rack
- Scoop Coater
- Squeegees Screen
- Printing Screens
- Scrubby Pads
- Spray Bottles
And don't forget about frames, you'll want to figure out if you need wood or aluminum frames.
Apart from these must-haves, you will also need a few chemicals to complete your screen printing process. Here are the types of chemicals you might need -
A mesh abrader is used to rough up new mesh fibers so that giving liquid emulsion a space to adhere to the mesh well. However, keep in mind to use mesh abrader only once while you take out your brand new screen. These are only used to enhance your ability to achieve greater outcomes.
A mesh prep is used to remove debris and dirt from your mesh screen to allow your emulsion to adhere quickly and get rid of pinholes.
The soul of screen printing equipment press lies in its choice of emulsion. An emulsion is basically used to create a stencil. For instance, you can use a photosensitive emulsion to protect your stencil from light or you can use dual cure emulsions.
The choice of emulsion depends on its exposure time. Photosensitive emulsions have shorter exposure time, while dual cure emulsions offer a longer exposure time.
A press wash is a solvent for plastisol inks or water based inks used for screen printing process. A press wash is used to clean ink from screens, squeeges, and ink scoops for reuse. Keep in mind to check the specification of your press wash before using it further in your process. Make sure to use it only when you are planning to reuse your equipment or store them for future usage.
Similar to press wash, an ink wash is also a solvent for both plastisol and water based inks. It is also used for cleaning ink from screens, squeeges, and other materials. However, unlike press wash, an ink wash tends to be more aggressive on emulsions. Therefore, it is mostly used for removing stains that are not being removed by press wash.
Like the name says, an emulsion remover is used to clean stains from stencils without damaging the screen mesh. This remover can only be used when you want to remove a stencil and reuse the screen for future purposes.
Haze or Stain Remover
The screen mesh tends to store large quantities of stains that are not easily removed. A haze remover is used to remove stains on the screen mesh before coating it with emulsion for stencil making. It removes haze images that adhere to the stencils and allows the ink to pass freely through the mesh openings.
If you are planning to utilize screen printing for fabrics, you need spray tacks to keep your shirt or T-shirt on the pallet for printing. Screen openers are also used to on or off press and get rid of clogs or stains.
Spray adhesive mist
Spray adhesive mist is used for all types of knit fabrics that are not needed to be flash cured on the press. A pallet adhesive is required for multi-color printing or jobs where you need to print the design twice on the same stencil.
Spray adhesive flash mist
Unlike the spray adhesive mist, a spray adhesive flash mist is used for all knit fabrics that will be flash cured on the press. If you need to print, flash and print again, you need spray adhesive flash mist at your disposal.
Spray adhesive web tack
Spray adhesive web tack is used for all types of fleeces, including hoodies, sweatpants, and sweatshirts. This is also used for screen printing without using the flash cure on the press.
A screen opener is used to open stencil clogs on the press. It is efficient at removing ink stains, clogs, grease, or other blockages from mesh openings on and off the press. However, it can be a little aggressive on emulsions, hence ensure to test before you use it on your stencil.
Apart from this, you also need different types of inks. A lot of screen printing beginners start with basic colors but you can get different colors for your printing jobs.
You will also need an inkjet film to create a film positive for screen making. It comes in a box of 100 sheets in 3 sizes - 8.5x11, 11x17, and 13x19.
The screens also come in distinct mesh counts and two sizes. For instance, 20x24 inches OD and 23x21 inches OD are commonly used. The overall impact of your screen printing also depends on the mesh count. For instance, a 28 to 30 mesh count is used for glitter inks while 85 mesh count for athletic printing or shimmer inks.
You can use 110 mesh count for heavy coverage printing, including dark shirts. A 155 to 160 mesh count is used for basic white tshirt and prints on jackets or thinner silver shimmer inks.
You can use 195 to 200 mesh count for printing light colored t shirts supplies with intricate details. A 305 to 355 mesh count for printing on light t shirts or overprinting halftone.
Apart from this, you also need other items including masking tape, rulers, markers, paper towels, red or yellow lights for your darkroom setting, scotch tape, heat gun for printing, spot cleaning gun to remove ink stains from your garments, and pallet tape for cleaning of pallets.
We hope this was a useful read. Stay tuned to Holden’s for more!