Thursday, June 23, 2011


Looking back at a post I made almost two years ago now, I'm depressed at how little progress I've made.  In fact, I lost ground, because I'd made three svg geomorphs since that post that have been lost (the only reason I remembered making them was because I have printed hard copies).

I am determined to press forward. There are a few hurdles for screenprinting.  Getting the supplies is a piece of cake, they weren't all that expensive and they ship them right to you.  But there are other hurdles:

1. Darkroom
You have to have somewhere you can apply the photosensitive goop that makes the whole process work.  And be able to see to apply it, and not worry too much if you make a mess.  Last time I put a special bulb in a bathroom.

2. Water with Pressure
After exposing the goop to the sun you have to wash out the non-exposed goop.  You really need something like a pressure washer for this.  If you look at the picture from that old post you can see where I screwed up trying to brush out the goop (because all I had was a normal faucet and it wasn't cleaning the stuff too well).

3. Images
Yeah, common sense that you have to have some image(s) to screenprint.  But let me lay out a little what I want to do:
  • I want hexes printed on both sides.  That means you need to make a rig that makes sure you are printing in the exact same spots on both sides.
  • I want to print in two colors.  Another reason to need the rig above.  To do this I will need to make 4 passes at a particular piece of cloth.  It means I need to make sure I use a lot of layers when building my svgs, and once I decide which features will be in which color, it will require two separate transparencies printed out.
  • I'm going to try to print 4 tiles at a time to make the process easier.  This means I need to get a bigger screen.  I may need to order another squeegee (I'll see if I can make the one I have work, it's about half the size of the four tile setup).
So, what to do about these hurdles?  I inherited a semi-broken netbook that I loaded Inkscape onto.  I am going to try and deal with #3 in the mountains.  It was 107 yesterday in the valley and I would rather be up where it's cool.  Once I get the images made I think the other hurdles will seem small.

I also made a little progress, in that 1) I decided my prototype set will consist of 8 back-to-back tiles and 2) I chose the designs of all 8 of those tiles.  Next I need to determine the encounter triggers for each tile which will be tricky.

Ok, enough blah blah blah, just wanted to let you know what I've been thinking about and struggling with lately.

Oh, and I am gathering material for a standing desk. I hope to enter the fall never having to slump in front of a computer again.  Stay in the shade!  I think it's going to be a hot one again today.


  1. It may be easiest to do all your photo-prep of screens at a commercial photo or screenprinting studio, or even to take a short adult ed course in an art school to get access to the supplies. I did some of this sort of thing (etching, though) at SVA in NY: a few hundred dollars paid for um, 8? weeks of instruction during which I did exactly those projects I wanted to do. It would save you having to get set up with all this yourself. Just a thought.

  2. Thanks, I'm determined to make this happen. In fact I just came back up to the mountains and brought all the supplies.

    One thing that balances against the difficulties is that you can print multiple time from the same screen. So get it set up and, bam, you have a whole run made.

  3. I do some silkscreening. I use Duralar or various other similar materials for transparency and a 250 watt bulb. I use the Daizo process stuff from Speedball with hand-stretched screens. If you have not done this before, my advice is to do some small test patterns that you don't care about to get the kinks out, or else resign yourself to the possibility that the first couple of attempts may go south.

  4. Thanks James, I appreciate it. I actually got a chance to print one screen two years ago. Even had a very fine hex grid on it. It worked okay. I'm using some fabric I bought at a fabric store hand-stretched and Atlas brand plastisol inks. I see that to do some of the fancier multi-color stuff I want to try It would be a heck of a lot easier with a screenprinting press but those things are pretty expensive.