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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know it's simple but it's my first screen print using good water based inks (Matsui RC). I am going to be using a vinyl cutter to make my screens for now as I want to avoid using photo emulsion until later. I plan on doing more intricate stuff but I wanted to start with something less complicated for my first try. The nice thing about using the vinyl method is that I can try lots of different designs in one day. It will be nice if one day I had the room and money for a professional 4 color press but I think I'll be able to get a lot of learning done on this homemade 1 color press using the vinyl method. This is a start at least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. I'm working on it. While I want to do some shirts with a heavier application of ink, I actually like the lighter ink application on this particular shirt. It's an Anvil and it's pretty light weight. Another thing is I did no off contact so the ink is more absorbed in the shirt. I'm really into that sort of shirt. It feels almost exactly like the shirts I dye sub. Also, I am using a 230 mesh screen. I'll probably get a 156 mesh screen next so I can get more ink down at once.

I just did another design and experimented with laying down A white under base using a quarter taped to the frame for off contact, and then "flashing" it with a heat gun, waiting a sec and then putting down red on top so that the red didn't mix the same since the white dried a little in certain places first giving it a gradient type of vibe. It wouldn't blow your mind, but I'd post it if I thought I was allowed (It's a Thelonius Monk design) because I think it was a pretty successful experiment that gave me some ideas for future attempts. I only have a homemade press along with a heat press so If I want to do multiple colors at all right now it has to only be in a sort of experimental manner. It would be amazing to have a 4 color press of course, but i have no room or money for one right now, so I'm just going to see how far I can take using a one color press and experiment on at least one t-shirt with every design I make.

So far the vinyl concept is working out really well. I was able to do a whole new design, print a couple shirts including washing the screen out in between shirts and then take off all the vinyl and recycle it on the sheet it came from so I can use it is scraps for masking. I was even able to re-use all the painters tape I used on the first design. The vinyl holds up really well to washing in between colors. I was surprised. Now I can easily do a couple different designs per screen per day if I want. It's really not that hard to apply or remove.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hegemon, I really don't want to deal with the chemicals right now. Not only that but photo emulsion would take days for me between designs and I'm not planning on doing tons of prints of one design. Rather I plan on only doing a couple of prints (maybe 10 or 20 if someone requested such a thing) of Tons of different designs. I'm not really trying to make money as much as I am doing it for artistic purposes. If somebody wants me to do a design for them, I would gladly do a custom 1 color print for them for cheap. I posted up a few pics on facebook and I'm already getting some people hitting me up, so maybe i'll make enough to buy some more ink lol. I've been doing dye sublimated shirts over the last year or so and it was sort of the same way when i posted pics of the shirts i was doing. I was able to get enough to pay off the printer, ink and all the other supplies. And I wasn't even trying to make money.

But anyway, The vinyl for now will allow me to try out many different things with my limited setup and it really only costs me at most a dollar per design. Don't get me wrong. I do want to get into photo emulsion and my girlfriend is an artist who has a lot of experience with photography and photo emulsion, so setting it up isn't really the problem. It's more about the clean up and the fact that it takes a couple days of working with one design per screen. As i get some more screens, I'll probably take a stab at doing photo emulsion.
 

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All valid points. I do my coating in batches and all my chemicals (ink degrader, emulsion cleaner, and degreaser) are orange based drain safe stuff. Nothing toxic here. That way I have screens ready to expose when I want to expose them. I could never get the detail I want with a cutter and vinyl and stay sane through the weeding. When I was younger I did vinyl with an exacto just to do one offs for myself. Now I can reclaim, clean, coat, dry and expose in a total of three hours thanks to a small room with a small space heater with a fan in it. But the timing is never a problem because I replace unexposed screens as I use them it's all very efficient for one person shop like mine lol. Also the photo emulsion I use is ok under a yellow bulb so I don't even really need a true dark room, thankfully.

I totally see where your at just don't close the door on photo emulsion. :)
 

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We do the same as Hegemone. We coat several screens and leave them in a dark place. I place a Plastic Contractors bag over the top. When we need to burn a screen, I pull the appropriate screen, place the film on it, and burn for 3 minutes. Then give the screen a good soak, let it sit for 3 or 4 minutes, then wash out. In most cases, in the 3 to 4 minutes the image starts washing out. I still don't completely wash it out. When I wash it the 2nd time I wash both sides. So we're looking at about 10 minutes to burn and wash, then let it dry. If you point a fan on it, 20 minutes and it's dry. So from Burning, washing to drying 30 minutes and you're up and screen printing.
 

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Great start, best way is to play and learn:)

I mostly use screens with photo emilsion but for one off type jobs that don't require a lot of detail vinyl works a treat.

From a business point of view it is a lot more cost effective (you only need cheap short life sign vinyl for one offs). The cost off the vinyl is peanuts compared with the prep labour on burning (artwork cost is basically the same either method), reclaiming the screen and re prepping the screen and emulsion for the next use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the feedback and info everyone. I definitely learn something new with each new attempt. This is the 3rd design I've done now with the vinyl stencil approach. What happened here was that a thin outline of white ink around the edge of the previous image remained clogged in the screen. I could see it and thought it might be a problem but wondered if maybe it was just ghosted like the other image had done (I can see a ghost print of each of the prints I have done), so I opted to not use the ink solvent/cleaner/declogger that Ryonet sent me and ended up with those little lines inside this design. They sent me 2 different kinds btw and I am not really sure of the difference or proper usage for each. One is called Envirosolv which is supposed to be drain safe. This the one I used after printing this shirt to try and get the white lines from the previous image out of the screen. It looks like I can still see them slightly though. So I am not sure how good that stuff is. I can also see all the ghost images from the previous designs still on the shirt. The other stuff they sent me is called Fast Open. I avoided using it because it didn't say anything about being drain safe and by looking at the information on the bottle looks like it may be quite toxic. It says to spray it on and then wipe it off after 10-20 seconds. So maybe I don't have to worry about it being drain safe since you wipe it off. Anyway, I wanted to ask what you thought about either of these products before I spray this other stuff on the screen. I just hope I can get those white lines out of the screen. I've really blasted it good with water and even used the Envirosolv stuff twice back to back.

Despite the error with the white lines I'm pretty happy with the way the print came out. I love the custom purple I made to go on the green. It looks alot better in person than in the image though. Here's just a cell phone pic.
 

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Bleach is drain safe but you wouldn't want to drink it or rub it in your eyes. Just sayin. Since your using ryonet products they have an excellent set of videos for printing waterbased and discharge. It shows proper screen prep, on press maintenance of water base, and clean up, reclaiming. You could be using the enviro line ink degrader, spray it on and rub it around then rinse it really well. Then you can use the de haze they sent you to get rid of the ghost image but since you are using vinyl you don't really need to worry about the stains causing exposure problems. Make sure to rinse and flood the screen with water between each cleaning step. Then use the cci enviroline degreaser to clean the screen again before you use it again. Rinse well and dry super well. But again it's not as critical since you aren't using emulsion. Basically what I am saying is that you can clean your screens with warm water and be fine. You just need to use the ink degrader if there is really dried on ink. The left over stains shouldn't be an issue for you since the pigment is just dying the threads in your screen not really blocking it. A decent spray nozzle on your hose will help get crusty ink off a little easier as well, but I have had ink on spatulas come off with very little elbow grease hours after getting dirty.

Hope it helps.
 

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Oh fast open is used while printing to open clogs while you are still on the press. It's not a cleanup chemical. You clear your ink to the top or bottom of the screen then spray the fast open on the clogged mesh an then wipe off with a clean scrap or something relatively lint free. You don't want lint in your ink.
 

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Yes. Blue lable. Waterbased in cleaner. Spray it on rub it around let it set for a few seconds spray clean with the hose. As the last step flood the screen from to to bottom with water to make sure you get all cleaner off the screen. You can use scrubby sponges while you clean just don't bear down on the screen. They are called non abrasive scrubbing sponges and are like green pads of woven/clumped plastic threads used to scrub pots and pans. Get them any place. Even the dollar store. That will help get the really crusties out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ah yea I think I know exactly what you mean and have one right here that we stopped using for dishes cuz it's so flimsy. I'll try that method now so I can get to printing my next design. I already have people asking to come by my new t-shirt studio (my girlfriend actually helped me convert our living room into a t-shirt pressing studio and we turned our dining room into our new improved living room. It actually improved the layout of the house, believe or not. It's nice living with an artist lol) that want to get shirts because they liked the pics I put up on Facebook. The pic of this latest one actually got lots of responses despite the flaw. So that's a pretty good start, I guess. We've got our name for our T-Shirt Company picked out and the .com url is even available so we are psyched. Working on a logo that we can print on the sleeves (probably) and now with the Vinyl cutter I can even cut our logo out and put it up on glass somewhere when you walk into our studio. All I can say is this is lots of fun even when I am not getting everything perfect yet. Just mixing the colors to get the color I wanted on this green shirt was exciting. i really do appreciate all this great info you all are feeding me. It's really been inspiring that there are so many wonderful people involved in this process.
 
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