Due to popular demand this month’s Material Knowledge session started an exploration into print-making. Just how simple (and cheap) is it to make your own screens for printing at home?


It turns out VERY!


Of course you could go out and buy all of the equipment you need to get you started but where is the fun in that?! Not only is it more economical to make your own but there is also something special about using tools you have created yourself that allows a deeper understanding of the processes you’re engaging with.


There are many great sites with instructions to get you started but this session followed the advice from http://www.instructables.com/id/Screen-Printing%3A-Cheap,-Dirty,-and-At-Home/

We didn’t have access to any photosensitive materials so made the screens as instructed with wooden frames and gauzy material and used acrylic paints with paper stencils to great effect.


The following are some of the things we learned from our first session:

  • DO NOT use MDF frames as they are too tough to staple.
  • Thin paper is good for stencils but has a short life span and bleeds when overused (although this can be quite a good effect in itself)
  • Maybe stencils made from acrylic sheets would work and last longer?
  • Cardboard worked very well as a squeegee and different cardboard’s gave particular effects.
  • Different fabrics for the screen gave particular effects with a wider weave leaving a nice textural detail.
  • The screen worked better with acrylic paints after a few uses when it became properly saturated with colour.
  • Layers of stencils and colours work well and offers an almost limitless opportunity for exploration.
  • Small batches can easily be produced; these can be made into limited edition prints or cards for example.
  • Printing is a lot of fun with quick results so is a great technique to work with in educational settings with the right preparation.

In our next session we’ll be continuing with our screen printing experiments and looking into photosensitive screen printing. A great organisation and link for print lovers is http://www.printclublondon.com/ with studios in Dalston and Brick Lane.

Booking for this event has now closed.