Screenprinting, an illustrated guide

Are you:

A. the super procrastinating family disappointment who STILL has not sent out your 2012 Holiday Cards? Maybe not even the ones for 2011? Well, you will soon be the family disappointment no more! Be the talk of the town with your very cute and crafty (but late) seasons greetings – just follow the tutorial below!

B. the ultra go-getter that likes to have all your responsibilities completed AT LEAST 11 months ahead of schedule? Well, then this super awesome and artsy project is for you! Just scroll below to find out more!

C. just a really nice person who happens to be reading this blog? Gee, thanks. It is a pleasure to have you. Look around and be sure to let me know if you have any questions.

Also, A’s, don’t feel too bad about your procrastination.. Life just happens sometimes. For instance, this blog was originally planned to be posted before Christmas, and therefore a bit more relevant. It was also supposed to be with photos, but I unfortunately forgot to pack the supplies on our holiday trip north. So naturally, it has become either a post for the fashionably late or for the overly planned. And an illustrated one at that. Points for uniqueness? Whatever, stop judging me. Here’s a resolution for you, you punk, “be more compassionate and understanding in 2013,” or maybe just “pick on someone my own size.”

TUTORIAL TIME! Let’s make some screen-printed Holiday Cards! Or whatever cards! Or pillows! Title


*I will be using handkerchiefs as example for a printing material in these instructions, but keep in mind you can screen-print on basically anything flat, for any reason. What fun?!  Just be sure you have the appropriate ink for the application – paper, fabric, etc. *

* There are a lot of kits out there and they are all different. This is the process I have used in the past for the kit that I own. While the basic steps should be the same, be sure to read through any instructions you receive with any kit or screen/fluids you purchase.*

* About the Photographic Emulsion Method –There are several other screen-printing methods, but the photographic emulsion method provides the most exact image and offers the widest range of possibilities. If you are wanting a result with any fine-line drawings or text/lettering, this is the best method to use.*


Printing Screen (for the purposes of this tutorial the front is the recessed side and back is the flat side – see image in [poorly] illustrated guide below)

Sensitizer Fluid

Photo Emulsion Fluid

Your design, printed or drawn on transparency/acetate sheet



Clear tape or clear glass/Pexiglas

A bat cave or equally dark space away from heat

Office Light or equivalent light source, preferably aluminum plated

Detail Paintbrush

Screen Filler

Printing Materials


Scrap Paper


1. Create or select your design for your wedding invitation, thank you note, tea towel, etc. and print it in black and white on a transparency or acetate sheet. If you are a super fancy artist-type, you can also draw your artwork with a black ink pen. Just be sure that your image is opaque and has very high contrast. Ultimately this design will be transferred to your print screen and the opaque areas will be where the ink is able to pass-through.

Panasonic PDF File2. Prepping your screen.

  •  Take your water resistant masking tape and tape over the edges of the screen where it meets the wood frame, this will keep the emulsion fluid from getting in the cracks between the screen and frame.Tape off edges
  • Take your sensitizer and photo emulsion fluid and follow the specific instructions on the containers to mix. The directions for my kit were to simply empty the sensitizer fluid fully into the emulsion fluid, but depending on the manufacturer, this mix may be slightly different so be sure to check your bottles. Any sensitized emulsion fluid that you don’t end up using can be saved. Store the excess in the refrigerator, it should last about four weeks.Blog Post Sensitized Emulsion Fluid
  • Pour a line of your sensitized emulsion fluid on one end of your screen. Using the squeegee, spread as evenly and thinly as you can. Reapply where necessary to achieve a continuous and even coating. Repeat on the other side of the screen. Clear away any spills.Emulsion Fluid
  • Place a thumbtack in each corner of the back side of the screen. Lay down some old newspaper in your bat cave/dark room and place the screen horizontal, bottom side down with thumbtacks supporting as feet. Ensure this area is AWAY FROM HEAT OR LIGHT. Allow the screen to completely dry and keep in the dark room, AWAY FROM HEAT OR LIGHT until you are ready to create your image on the screen. To help decrease the time needed for the screen to dry you can use a fan, but to be safe I simply left mine in my dark room overnight. Front and Back

Thumbtacksdark room3. Setup your light source. While your light setup doesn’t have to be in a dark room, KEEP YOUR SCREEN IN THE DARK ROOM AWAY FROM LIGHT AND HEAT WHILE PREPPING YOUR LIGHT. There is a lot of information out there on the right light source and exposure time. I will admit, I followed them kind of loosely but I still got a great result. I am going to share with you what worked for me, but if you are at all concerned about your setup, take some time to do some extra research on your lighting. I used a 150-Watt, Clear Incandescent Bulb in a clip on aluminum office light. It is highly recommended that you use a light with an aluminum pie plate reflector. My screen was 12” x 18” so I placed my light at 15” away from my screen. If you have a smaller screen, place your light a couple inches closer and the reverse for a larger screen.

4. Prepping artwork on your screen. Using clear tape, attach the edges of your transparency/acetate image to your screen with the artwork aligned just as you would like to have them appear on your printed area. I used tape and had no trouble, but if you happen to have a large enough piece of clear glass or Plexiglas, this is actually a preferred method to hold you image in place on your screen. Once everything is appropriately placed and laying flat against the fabric, you are ready to expose the screen using your light source.adding artwork

5. Exposure. Exposure time can be especially important and specific. Always look to any instructions you received with your screen/fluids first. Again, this is the timing I used, but with this being the most sensitive step in the process, I would highly encourage double checking this for your screen and your setup. For me, I had a 12” x 18” screen with my 150-Watt light setup at 15” above my image so I exposed my image to the light for one hour and 15 minutes. This amount of time was what my instruction booklet directed me to do and it worked perfectly. I am not sure what would happened if you had it exposed too long, but if you don’t have it exposed for long enough you will not have a crisp image and you may lose a lot of emulsion fluid in your rinsing step that you didn’t intend to.

Light Setup

6. Rinse the screen. Using lukewarm water (not HOT, or COLD) apply a somewhat forceful stream or spray of water to both sides of your screen. I used the hose attached to my sink, but if you don’t have a hose attachment the pressure of the faucet should be sufficient. You should start to see that the opaque design of your image beginning to appear as unwanted emulsion washes away. Once your image appears crisply on the screen and the water seems to be running clear with no remaining emulsion fluid, lay your screen horizontally and let dry completely.Rinsing

7. Corrections. If any emulsion was washed away where it was not meant to, you can use a small paintbrush and the screen filler fluid, that most kits come with, to correct and fill these “open” areas. If you add any screen filler, let it dry completely before proceeding.Corrections

8. Printing! This is actually the easiest part, all the hard work is done – way to go YOU!

  • I planned to make 100-150 prints with my last screen-printing venture, so I first cleared my workspace of clutter and any animals/people that could have disturbed my creative process or the drying of my printed materials (in this example, handkerchiefs.) On my work table I laid a large piece of cardboard for my base which I then topped with a sheet of scrap paper. I then took my first handkerchief and placed it on my setup. Because I wanted my image to show up right in the center of my handkerchief, I marked on the piece of cardboard where center was so I knew where to place the two points of the square handkerchief and put a pencil mark on my screen so I could be sure to line it up each time.
  • Placing the bottom edge of the screen on the base of the cardboard, I held the screen at about a 60 degree angle from my body. Using my other hand I used a palette knife to grab some ink and spread it at the top of the screen. Using the squeegee I then, with very little pressure as to not have the ink pass through the screen, spread a even amount of ink on the screen, enough to cover my image.
  • Lining up the screen with my marks on the cardboard, I gently placed my screen on top of my first handkerchief. Then, taking my squeegee in both hands, holding it at about a 45 degree angle from the screen, I applied even and steady pressure as I pulled the squeegee towards me. Because I had a very thin text, I found that running the squeegee over the screen a second time, while it worked occasionally to make a darker image, mostly just got off ever-so-slightly, creating a blurry product. Now you can lift your screen and check out your end result! It did take me one or two tries before I got the process down perfectly. A smarter person than I would have started with paper, practicing there before jumping to my fabric, but eh whatevs. I replaced or flipped the paper underneath my handkerchiefs every other go and usually could go two or three handkerchiefs before reapplying the ink as I would start with a pretty generous amount.PrintingBlog Post Final

Other fun facts –

** If you have several different inks/colors you can do multiple layers on your prints, just be sure the surface is dry before every new application.

** As long as you have photo emulsion remover, you can clean and re-use the screen as many times as you would like.

And with that, YOU DID IT! Look at you, you superstar.

I understand this a bit wordy, but there is still a lot I probably forgot to mention– if you have any questions just leave a comment and I will absolutely do my best to answer, or when appropriate, update the post.

DIY Bucket List

There are approximately one million things going on right now, which has unfortunately meant that my little apartment has been getting no love. So this year instead of resolutions, I am making a list of home projects and DIYs that I want, must, NEED to get done as soon as Santa puts some free time in my stocking.

1. Finish painting the living room, the half-primed look is SO last year.

2. Finish painting the fireplace – and stop hiding it behind the pile of to-be-sold Craigslist items.

3. Sell all to-be-sold Craigslist items.

4. Maybe, possibly, hopefully make any progress at all on the bathroom and/or the kitchen (too many items to list)

5. Start/finish painting for my awesome and beautiful friend’s classroom.

6. Now the fun stuff – DIY gotta-dos:

     A. Finally copy-cat the shit out of The-Brick-House’s stuffed headboard, as I previously have posted, and drooled all over. (Am I crazy for liking version 1.0 better than 2.0?)


via The Brick House

     B. Ferm Living inspired laundry basket. I want to add a lid and to make it a rectangular basket. I WILL rock this.


via Ferm Living   

  C. At least 800 (or at least five) of these lovely hanging succulents for the “patio”/”dining room.”


via Design Sponge

There is much more to add, but let’s be honest, for me to even finish all the above in a year it would be impressive. I’m a lazy, disappointment of a person. But aren’t we all? Whatever.

In other news I will be in the 509 (basically the most [read least] happening place in all of WA) tomorrow and I am more than a little gitty with excitement. Seriously, being out of the office and up north kicking it with pretty much the best family on the planet is going to be totally awesome-sauce.

But let’s catch up some more soon. Like really. 

Hugs and heart shaped kisses. Love, your best friend.

P.S. I almost forgot! I joined twitter. It’s a travasty, I know, but please feel welcome to follow the crap out of me. @RyannMMoore

I don’t want a baby, I just want to borrow one for Halloween

Being an avid Pinterest-er, it has been hard to ignore that adorable and trendy children in costumes is totally THE BUSINESS right now on there. I for one, can hardly handle the cuteness any longer, and because I am entering the last weeks of class (leaving me little time to make some home-decorating-DIY progress) I am going to disgust all of you with my favorite, totally heart-melting, style-saavy children of the pumpkin holiday:

/// As per usual, I apologize if this post makes you want to grab your loved one and get some baby-making on (don’t all my posts?), but alas, please keep in mind that it will still take 9 months for that little potential feller to grace us with his/her presence, which of course, very tragicly wont be in time for halloween. ///

(BE TEE DUB… Oh Happy Day is killing it in the way of little-stinker costumes.. just wow.)

1. Andy Warhol – Oh Happy Day!: I mean come on. Two options: 1. This poor kid has no idea who Andy Warhol is, so he is probably just dressing up for his the pleasure of being his parents little trendy puppet. 2. This kid does know who Andy Warhol is and he is going to grow up to be so cool that he is unable to make any friends but based on his genius he is able to discover how to speak to animals and starts up a new world of circus acts and becomes internationally known for his death defying show where he enters riding on the wings of two eagles while being pulled by his elephant friend, Seymour  After every show lil Andy and Seymour meet to discuss ways to improve their performances over a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup.  Only possible situations, clearly.

2. Team Zissou Costume – Apartment Therapy: Seriously, another one where I doubt the child knows the reference, but I am very jealous, I want to be on Team Zissou. I want to make the flag. If you haven’t seen the movie, we are done. At least until you watch it. Wes Anderson is totally the bees knees.

3. Airplane Pilot – Oh Happy Day!: Where does one get child size goggles like this? That is my only question, besides that, total adorb-fest.

4. Vincent Van Gogh – Oh Happy Day!: A little morbid, but gosh darnit I love it. Something about a little boy with a fake beard seems to get me every time. Plus I love me some art references, and while I feel like every child should eventually learn about all the iconic artists, if I had one, I certainly would work my way from the past to present, therefore teaching my child about Van Gogh prior to Sir Warhol, even though both would certainly make the curriculum.

5. Mr. and Mrs. Fox – Apartment Therapy: Another Wes Anderson reference, my heart is stolen again. Basically, that is all I have to say, this is the shiz. Also see this movie if you haven’t, until then, you are dead to me.

6. Dumb and Dumber – The Meta Picture: Now I don’t want kids, at least that is our current plan, but what I am certain of is that I don’t want is twins, yikes! Two for the time of one! I am sure they are wonderful (my husband is a twin, so can’t hate on the idea too much) but I can’t imagine planning on having one kid and suddenly finding out you are having two, or more. Anyway, if that ever happened, partially because I would have no time to make more than these two costumes, but also because this is so cute, the children would forever be the Dumb and Dumber characters in this dog-mobile. Plus I am sure Alex would love this and demand that it be constantly repeated.

7. Penguin – <So Sorry, I couldn’t find the source – can anyone help??>: This costume would become something the child would wear daily, not just on Halloween if I were to, um, borrow one. How could I ever put anything else on them? Hmmm today should I dress him/her in jeans and a t-shirt, a onesie, or the penguin costume? Penguin costume would always win, just face it.

8. Little Strong Man – Oh Happy Day!: Again, too cute, shut the front door. In fact, slam it. This might be the all-time winner, as much as I love a beard on a little guy, a mustache might take the cake. Plus look at how strong he is, this kid is going to get all the babes.

9. Oscar the Grouch – Little Frills: Unlike a lot of these, this one seems especially age appropriate. I guarantee that kid knows who the heck he is supposed to be. And that uni-brow is just studly. I can’t imagine the child is especially comfortable or would want to wear that for very long, but I certainly could stare at him in it for a long time. Ok, I am not a creep I swear..

10. Oompa Loompa – People (ah sorry, can’t find original source): Not sure how I feel about dying a kids hair green, but if you are into that, this is sure to get a lot of “AWWWWW”s at any trick or treat house.

11. Where the Wild Things Are – TheRadicalThreadCo Etsy Store: Never mind, this one wins. Hands down. Whiskers> Mustaches >Beards>Clean Shaven Baby Faces.

12. Up – Auburn Soul Photography: Dang it  I knew about all of these before I started the post but I keep forgetting about some of them as I write on… this one, gosh, is just begging to rumble with Mr. Wild Things for first place. Oh AND if we borrowed a kid, the kid could totally be this Up guy and Jenny could be the dog! She even loves squirrels (sorry, dumb statement, all dogs love squirrels.)

13. Gnome – Chasing Fireflies: Another beard. But this one his bright blue eyes and golden locks. He is a model baby. A model Gnome baby. Although I am sure the costume would still look kinda cute on your less than model-like child. Just kidding, I am sure your babies all look like models.

14. Snail – Oh Happy Day!: OK, a snail. I know, I know, I have a preference for little boys costumes, but this one is non-partial. No one even needs to wear a beard! And still cute to the max!

15. Red Balloon – Oh Happy Day!: Love this movie as well. Bombsauce. The end.

15. Army Man – Wild Ink Press: Alex loved this one, and who was I to deny him from sharing sweet lil babe costumes? More like, who wasn’t I? A big dumby, that’s wh0. Really cute, and really easy. Win, and double win.

And of course there are two Mom/Dad and Baby costumes making the list, although they kinda make me feel weird:

15. Popcorn – This Place is Now a Home: Here is what this lady is saying. “No you can’t eat my baby. Stop. Hands off. Stop putting butter on my baby! Ok, maybe I brought this on myself.” quickly followed with fists of anger and one final wail of “DAMN you Pinterest and all your adorable baby costume ideas!!”

16. Money – Fun Cheap of Free: Here is what this guy is saying. “This isn’t my baby. I am a real burglar  I stole this baby and put him in a money costume and now I am casually crashing this party with my stolen baby! YAY!” All our jaws drop, a lady in the crowd faints, I ask if anyone is a doctor, the crowd breaks out into a riot until the guy finally follows with, “Just kidding! This IS my baby! What a hilarious Halloween Trick! Now let’s eat some treats!!” Then we all laugh and do the jitterbug.

I hope you didn’t mind too terribly this interruption to our regularly scheduled programming, but all of that aside  Happy Halloween you gals and ghouls! Keep thinking very good orange and black thoughts – for Halloween of course and maybe a little for the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS! Go team, win the World Series so I can have a very happy husband! Thanks a bundle, hugs and kisses!!

P.S. if anyone wants to follow any of my other “If I were to change my mind about kids,” musings, feel free to follow me on pinterest here. And for all my other posts… here.

Blog at