I just wrapped up a huge order for the ever amazing Kim Boekbinder and the release of her album, “The Sky is Calling”. This newest album (dropping SOON so you should keep track of her!) was funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign and she hired me to do the screenprinted t-shirts.
Mixing the ink for the t-shirts. I used a combination of standard silver ink, plus I added sparkly silver pigments directly to it to give it some pop. It’s been my latest favourite ink mixture and I’ve printed everything in it lately.
Laying down the ink for printing.
Flood the screen!
And then pull the squeegee hard to print. For getting a thick particulate like silver ink through even a 110 mesh screen, I do a combination of upright and 45 degree angled pulls. The nearly 90 degree upright pull really grinds the pigment into the t-shirt, so it penetrates the fibers and stays put. The more acute angle (to the screen) leaves a thicker layer on top so the colour is piled on and more opaque. When printing, you will figure out which angle is the right one based on your arm strength, the media you’re printing onto and the opacity of the ink. I always describe it to people as like running a bow across strings – each piece is unique and requires a different “note” to make it work.
A good, solid and thick print.
A quick behind the scenes of the printing press I use for t-shirts. It’s a 4-colour press, very simple.
And I start piling them up on the racks. You can see a misprint on the side from the “I Have Your Heart” t-shirts I printed a while back. Whenever a shirt is misprinted, we keep them around to print out on for when we’re either doing test prints or need to unclog part of the screen and really scrub the screen and ink out onto a fabric.
Kim had a VERY successful campaign! These were all the boxes of t-shirts I printed.
And just for funsies, I took this Vine from when I was burn the screen. When you burn a screen – which is what we call how we create the silkscreen I use to print with – you coat the screen face & back with a photosensitive emulsion. You need a light table with UV lights, then place the film first, upright, then the screen face down. The light from below shines through all the clear parts, but where the black parts cover, the emulsion is not exposed. Then you wash out the screen with a hose & the emulsion falls out. The video documents the magic of emulsion simply washing away.