Silk screening has become easier to do these days than it was years ago. In fact, it is so easy you can even silk screen right at your own home. You don’t need to have the intricate machines and tools professionals have, because with just a few dollars, you can have a homemade silk screen kit and start designing your own shirt, skirt, or other items. Here’s what you need to do.
- Find an image. Get any image you want to silk screen on your shirt or any material. It can be a cartoon character, a flower, or a name. If you are a starter, you may want to use a simpler image. After determining the image, edit it in Photoshop and remove any unnecessary detail in the picture. Add another image you want or text that will go well with your main image. Print the edited version.
- Have a silk screen frame. The silk screen frame is used to transfer the image onto the material you want to design. It has a wooden frame and a mesh-like fabric tightly stretched across. You can buy a ready-made silk screen frame for a few dollars, but you can also make your own. You can use an embroidery hoop in place of a wooden frame and tulle as the backing material. If you can’t get tulle, you can use nylon stocking or anything that is mesh-like.
- Purchase inks. There are many types of ink used for silk screening. The one that is most commonly used is plastisol. It has a plasticized effect and renders quality color detail. To create better images, plastisol is used with special additives such as expanding ink, which yields a 3D texture, and suede ink, which lends a suede touch to the color. Aside from plastisol, you can also get water-based inks to print dark colors onto light-colored materials and discharge inks to print light colors onto dark-colored materials.
- Collect cardboard. Cardboard is necessary during the actual silk screening. They are placed behind the part of the fabric being silk screened to prevent the color from bleeding onto other parts. In place of cardboard, you can also use newspaper or a thick fabric.
- Buy squeegees. Squeegee is a hand-held tool that is used to move the ink onto the fabric. You need this to liberally spread the ink and create the design. It is important to use one squeegee for every color you work on so that you avoid staining the other colors.
- Purchase photo emulsion. This is a plastic sheet that is an ideal material for creating templates, especially those with complicated designs, because of its durability.
There are silk screen kits available in the market today. However, store-bought kits usually carry only one brand, thus limiting your choices. Contrast this to making your own silk screen kit, which allows you to explore your options, try other brands, and even improvise tools and materials. In the end, making your own silk screen kit does not only provide you with better options, it also helps you save some amount.