When We're Not Painting Abstract Art...

The Artreka shirts have shipped!

Keep on reading to learn how to silkscreen print like a pro.


It took a few weeks to perfect the process, so there's a few things to watch out for if you decide to take on this project.


1. Buy a silkscreen kit and transparencies: Keep it easy and order a kit like this one.

Art Supplies

Once you have the kit, there's 1 more thing you'll need: transparencies. FedEx Office can print your design out for cheap (less than $1 each)! Have them print 4 or 5 transparencies.

2. Set up a dark room: The first part of the process uses a light-sensitive emulsion, so you'll need to work in the dark. Red light won't activate the emulsion, which means you can use a red flashlight or lightbulb. Get creative and make your own light using a flashlight and red marker.

3. Apply the emulsion: The kit comes with a sensitizer and emulsion...mix 'em up in the dark room and use the kit squeegee to spread it on the silkscreen. Spread a thin amount on both sides of the screen.

Painting in the dark

Let the emulsion dry in the dark room for at least 2 hours. IMPORTANT: Do NOT lay the silkscreen face down to dry(which is the easiest way to lay it). You're going to want to lay it face up and prop the edges of the silkscreen up with any object to keep the wet emulsion from sticking to whatever you set it to dry on.

4. Expose the emulsion to light: Layer the transparencies and tape them together. Place them on the silkscreen and put a piece of glass on top to press the transparencies against the silkscreen. Place a black cloth under the silkscreen to keep light from seeping through the back side. Set a lamp directly over the silkscreen to 'burn' the image onto it. Exposure time depends on how bright your lamp is. If you're using a desk lamp, expose it for at least 1 hour. If you're using a ridiculously bright light, exposure time can be as little as 30 minutes.  Also make sure you're not burning the transparencies backwards on the silkscreen.

Exposing art to light

5. Immediately spray the silkscreen: After the screen is done baking under the light for an hour, immediately spray the screen with water(easiest way: use a shower head). You're trying to wash out all the areas where the design of your transparencies were blocking the light. For small detailed parts of the screen (like Artreka's ".com"), don't spray it for too long; it's easy to wash out the entire design.

6. Start printing your beautiful design. After the screen has dried, get a test shirt ready. Slap some paint on and lightly spread it across the design.

Painting with black ink

IMPORTANT: Keep a high angle when squeegeeing. And press pretty hard to push the paint through the silkscreen.

Painting technique

If you don't keep a high angle when you squeegee across the screen, too much paint will be pushed through...as you can see below, it's not a pretty sight.

Wrong way to silkscreen


7. Clean up your screen: Keep your silkscreen nice and clean by washing out the paint with cold water after each printing session.

Good luck with your silkscreen printing endeavors!

Leave a comment