Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DIY curious? Why yes, I am

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to audit Andy Kane's screen printing class. It was a last minute surprise and I was so excited to attend. The class was held at Jordan's studio on Valencia.
Andy is a professional teacher by day and a crafty son of a gun by night. When we were neighbors he was always bringing us breads, yogurts and occasional cheese that he made. Also, he has an extensive collection of tools so if you ever needed anything for a job, he had it. I often called him Coach Kane when he was helping me with various projects.

The first thing we did after a quick lecture was to go ahead and build a frame for the screen. You can get these pre-made at art stores but they often run about $35-$40 which is kind of expensive. Andy showed us how to make one for about $5.
First you have to build a frame.
Here is Jordan drilling a hole to attach the ends together.

As the title of the class suggests, you do it yourself. Never worked with a router? Now is your chance.
The next step was for Andy to show us how to build a base for our frame. The beauty of DIY is once you have the basic supplies you can custom make frames and bases to fit your specific project. Need to screen print a poster? Make a bigger frame and base!

The next step in the process is to stretch the screen. Andy uses the spline method.
You soak the screen in water for a few moments.
Then using a spline tool, you stretch the screen working from one corner out.
Once your done and it dries you have a very tight screen.
Everyone had to make their own.
We then talked about design and the different ways to transfer an image to your screen.
The next step in the process is the photo emulsion step. This is the somewhat light sensitive part and I think the most fun part of the process. It reminds me of my black and white photo days.
After exposure to the light we watched how Andy cleans the screen to get it ready to print.
The next stage is the printing stage. Not only do you have to line up your image on the article clothing (in this case a tote bag), but if your registering colors, you have to realign the screen. I think this will be the most nerve wracking part of the process.
Once you are ready to go and are all aligned its time to print. One needs to work fast or the paint may dry. The first step is to place paint on the screen.
Then you lift the frame off the bag and drag your squeegee down the screen to load the ink
Then you carefully lower the screen and drag it back using even pressure
and Presto! A print.
We all were able to print our own bag!
The class was awesome. Not only do I have a new tote bag for Betsy's lunch or the grocery store but I have my own screen to work with. I am so excited that I know how to screen print and can't wait to get started.
Andy is teaching another class later this month and may do another one in July. If you need any information please email him at
Thanks Coach.


Betsy said...

Nice work andy! Looks like everything turned out amazing!

k8 said...

oh the fun t-shirts i have thanks to andy and his screen printing talents! i would love to take that class sometime.