Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 14

SOMETHING
SPECIAL
HOW TO PROPERLY ADD SPECIAL EFFECTS TO YOUR
PRINTS FOR RESULTS YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL LOVE.
By Tiffany Rader-Spitzer

EVERYONE WANTS to add value to their prints and make
more money per print. An easy way to do that is to incorporate
a special effect, or multiple. While there are tons of special
effects to experiment with, here we'll detail some of the most
popular ones and how to be successful when printing them.
The most important aspect lies within the basics. If your
screens aren't right, it will be increasingly difficult to print
special effects. If you're creating great screens, it makes
it easy to control variables and therefore pin down errors
when printing something new. After screens, you always
need to have a great base, which becomes even more important when printing with special effects. This is true for
all special effects and printing in general, even a one color
or discharge. Properly laying down the first layer of ink
through the screen will help ensure awesome results.
I'll be referencing some ink brands below because that's
what I'm familiar with. However, there are a lot of great
ink options out there; call your distributor or manufacturer
and inquire. But don't forget, you can read (telling because
you've gotten this far in this article), so don't let them read
the technical data sheet to you. You want to talk to someone who knows how to print with the inks. They'll be able
to help you navigate the ups and downs of printing with
something new and/or different.

THIN THREAD MESH
While not an actual special effect, printing with thin thread
mesh can achieve superior results. The majority of screen
printing mesh comes in three different thickness options:
thick, typically designated by HD; regular or medium, typically designated by T; and thin, typically designated by S. The
thicker thread offers the smallest open area to get ink through
and the thin thread offers the most open area (see Image 1).
Using thin thread allows more ink to pass through the larger
openings and sheen onto the substrate, typically resulting in
better coverage and lay down with far less additional strokes,
therefore allowing thinner deposits and leaving a softer hand.

14

SCREENPRINTING | APRIL + MAY 2020

HIGH DENSITY INKS
An oldie but goodie, high density inks can create a plethora
of amazing effects by adding dimension to your prints. You
want to keep in mind what you're trying to do when you're
prepping your screens: lay down enough ink to create a
dimensional or raised effect. To do that you'll want to use
low mesh, low enough to allow a significant amount of ink
through the mesh openings. Depending on the manufacturer of ink and mesh, 80 mesh (and lower) is normally
recommended, and if able, use thin thread.
Next, you'll want to create a stencil that can deposit
as much ink as possible. You can continually coat your
screens with normal emulsion, but it's far easier to use
thick stencil emulsion or capillary film (see Image 2).
Capillary film is a sheet (or roll) of emulsion you apply to
your screen and secure with emulsion. The way capillary
film is manufactured allows complete and even control of
the thickness (EOM = emulsion over mesh) of the emulsion
that you're using and makes printing your finished image
that much easier. (Pro Tip: Apply two coats of emulsion
to your capillary film to help it adhere to the screen.) The
most important aspect of capillary film is time. You must
allow the screen to fully dry after the capillary film is
adhered and after washing out the image. When you rush
the process, the capillary film can lift or peel in sections,
ruining the definition of your stencil.
Now that your screen is prepped, it's time to think about
your exposure. You'll want to ensure you're using a proper
light source. Weak light sources will take an extended period of time, which will degrade the edge definition of your
image. Now you're finally going to press. You'll want to
grab a soft durometer squeegee, preferably triple durometer,
like 62/90/62. Employ a deep angle and just enough pressure to clear the screen. Best results come from one squeegee pass as any additional passes tend to smudge and smear
the ink you've already laid down. Don't forget to adjust off
contact as needed (see Image 3).



Screen Printing - April/May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - April/May 2020

Contents
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - Intro
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - Cover1
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - Cover2
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 1
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - Contents
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 3
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 4
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 5
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 6
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 7
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 8
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 9
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 10
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 11
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 12
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 13
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 14
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 15
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 16
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 17
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 18
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 19
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - 20
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - Cover3
Screen Printing - April/May 2020 - Cover4
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