The printing technique known as Screen Printing was first practised in China over 2000 years ago. The screen was created out of human hair stretched around a wooden frame and the shapes on the print were formed by sticking leaves in between the hair grid.
It was then adopted by the Japanese who used woven silk instead of human hair – this is where the technique got its alternative name of Silk Screen Printing.
Then in 1907, it was Samuel Simon near Manchester who patented the first ever industrial screen printing process. Many years later close to the First World War, John Pilsworth of San Francisco developed the Selectasine method, which basically introduced the concept of multi-color printing using the same screen. Different areas on the screen were blocked out for different color inks, thus resulting in a multi-colored image. This technique became hugely popular for printing signs and posters in large quantities.(what is screen printing, 2015)
Here is how screen printing or silk screen printing is done.
For Cornish Country Cordials, I am wanting to create designs for the packaging that shows the taste of the cordial through the design. An example of how this could be done is using rigid or thick shapes for cordials that have a bitter or strong taste, whereas I could use soft shapes or wavy lines for cordials that are refreshing or delicate. I feel screen printing could be an interesting method to create the designs with, as I really like the boldness of screen printing and I like how the imperfections of the prints can look – which could help to portray the homemade aspect of the cordials.
Colour Separation Workshop.
Yesterday I took part in a workshop on colour separation, which is used in the screen printing process. Basically, colour separation is separating colours into CMYK, this stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. When small dots are created in these colours and are layered over each other any colour can be made.
Once the colours have been separated in Photoshop and each printed separately on acetate, the images can then be transferred to individual silk meshes using a photo emulsion machine. Once transferred, the mesh is left with small holes open where the ink is allowed to pass through. To then screen print, you put your first mesh on top of your paper and apply a layer of ink to the mesh using a squeegee to have an even coat. To build up the colour, you apply each colour ink on top of each other and the result will be small dots on the page which when viewed the human eye will see the final image.
Screen Printing Workshop.
For the screen printing workshop, we were asked to create a design that we wanted to print, so I created this. I created a design with lots of shapes on pattern which is what I would create for the designs on the labels.
Here is my design that I created for this screen printing workshop – anything which is black will be the colour part of the print. In Screen Printing you have to transfer your design onto acetate before you do the next step.
The screen is prepared in an emulsion machine (as seen above). In the emulsion machine, you lay your design down and place over the top, face down, the silk screen.
Once the machine has completed the process of transferring your design onto the silk screen, you won’t be able to see the design very easily. All you need to do to resolve this is to wash the silk screen thoroughly and the design will be more visible.
Next, you will need to tape around the edge of the silk screen to ensure no paint goes anywhere, apart from where you want it.
To actually Screen print, you first place your paper down on a flat surface and align the screen over the paper and get a friend to hold the screen or try and do it yourself. Next, you place a good size amount of printing ink along the top edge and use a squeegee to drag the ink firmly across the whole of the screen.
The first print I did was this one above. I used the single colour yellow and it came out nicely. If you don’t press down firmly on the screen, the print might not have an even coat meaning some parts could be bold and others could look faded.
If you are going to use more than one colour on a screen, you will want to wash the screen before starting again. If you don’t do this you might get a different colour than you wanted.
For my next print, I decided to use two colours on the same screen. The effect I wanted was a gradient from red to yellow but I didn’t mix the colours enough to make this effect work. The result I got was red and yellow stripes down the page.
Once finished you will want to thoroughly clean the scene.
I am really interested in screen printing and in another project for a more industrial brand, I think it would have worked well, although as Cornish Country Cordial’s make handmade and natural cordials, I feel using another process that isn’t so industrial looking with straight bold edges might work better for this project.