How to Make a Silk Screen Card Set

Design your own silk screen greeting cards using transparency film.

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Materials and Tools:

four 13-inch 1-by-2-inch pine strips
chop saw
polyester monofilament
staple gun and staples
clear packing tape
paper and pen
scanner, computer, laser printer
transparency film
halogen light
photosensitive filler
transparency
paint shield for applying the filler
8-by-10-inch piece of Plexiglas
Italian cards and envelopes
various inks and a plastic spoon for mixing ink
metallic powders
screen-printing medium
small food-saver containers for storing ink
8-inch squeegee
hinged frame holder with clamps
clear acetate
blue painter's tape
tape measure
hair dryer
microwave timer
safety glasses
hammer

Steps:

1. Staple the pine strips together at each of the four corners to form a frame. Flip the frame over and staple the corners on the other side so the frame doesn't stretch out of shape. Hammer the staples flush with the wood.

2. Cut polyester monofilament slightly larger than the frame. Staple it to the frame, stretching it tight. Hammer the staples flush with the frame.

3. Tape the edges of the frame with clear packing tape to prevent the frame from warping. Tape over the monofilament and staples on the top of the frame as well.

4. Scan the image into the computer and print it onto clear transparency film.

5. Apply photosensitive screen filler to the blank screen with a squeegee. This must be prepared in relative darkness.

6. Dry the filler with a hair dryer.

7. Affix a halogen light to the bottom of a kitchen cabinet (13 inches from the screen to be burned).

8. Place Plexiglas on top of the transparency on top of the screen. Set the screen under the halogen light and turn the light on. Set the timer and allow the screen to be exposed to the light for 90 minutes.

9. Turn off the light, remove the Plexiglas and transparency, set aside and wash the screen to expose the unexposed screen. The areas of the pattern on the transparency that were not exposed to light will wash away on the screen. The areas where the light went through the clear areas on the transparency will activate the screen filler, and the tiny holes between the filaments will be permanently filled.

10. Check the quality of the burn-in. If the burn-in is good, dry the washed screen to prepare for printing.

11. Insert and secure the screen into the clamps, which will allow the screen to be raised and lowered repeatedly without losing registration.

12. Attach clear acetate to the base of the screen printing area with clear packing tape (for registration purposes), tear a 4-inch piece of painter's tape in half lengthwise and set aside.

13. Sort a specific quantity of cards and envelopes. Mix colored inks using acrylic paints, screen-printing medium and metallic powders, stirring to the consistency of thick, heavy cream.

14. Place a small amount of ink in a non-printable area on the screen. Using the squeegee, pull the ink across the pattern, transferring the pattern onto the acetate. This will be the registration.

15. Place a single card under the acetate, align the card with the pattern and pull the acetate away while holding the card. Apply the torn halves of painter's tape in the shape of an "L" at one corner. This will allow you to register remaining cards without using the acetate again.

16. Place the screen on top of a card and squeegee ink across the card. Print the pattern onto the card. Repeat with the remaining cards and envelopes.

17. When finished, remove the screen and wash the screen and squeegee.

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