Silk Screening Adventure

Normally I save these types of posts to use as Features, but this weekend was too eventful to wait.

On Saturday, Shamus and I got together to start work on a silk screening jig for an ambitious silk screening project. Shamus takes martial arts classes and agreed to make a four color t-shirt for his peers. For those of you in the silk screening know, you’re probably thinking “Four colors!?!! Gah!!” Indeed, four colors.

Cupcakezilla was the last time I tried a four color shirt. And while the shirt came out pretty sweet, we only had 3 semi-successful runs out of 8 attempts. Not a good ratio. This time, success was even more important because instead of screening on $3 shirts, we would be screening on $20 exercise shirts. No room for error!

After making a plan, Shamus and I went about building a very robust jig.

Shamus – in action!

The concept was simple, though execution was tricky. We set up a screen and a Plexiglas sheet on hinges. By alternating between the two, we could ensure that our shirt would be properly lined up with the previously printed design. We really spent a lot of time making sure that all the parts were at the appropriate height and fixtured with some heft to reduce any possibility of unexpected degrees of freedom.

The Jig

Additionally, to reduce stretching and skewing between color prints, we tacked every shirt in a batch to a wooden board. We’d proceed with our colors in order of darkness: white, yellow, green, blue.

The results were phenomenal! Check it out.


White and yellow

White, yellow, and green

The final product.

DANG! That’s really close to professional quality! There are a few tolerance issues, but they are minor and could be circumvented next time without too much difficulty. Overall, a huge success.

This jig will help make more screens possible, so if you have any fun ideas please feel free to share them.

Celebratory screen cleaning.

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