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My Screen Printing Results from Class

Several years ago I was very fortunate to take a screen printing class at Bullseye Glass Studios in Portland OR.  It was awesome.  I learned so much about all the different tools and techniques as well as mixing colors as the two instructors were great.  The above are my creations from the class and I will never part with them!  The optical illusion one was particularly challenging as I had to take the picture, separate out all the different colors into different layers, screen print each one onto a different sheet of glass and then combine all the layers trying to carefully line them up.  It was ambitious but so very rewarding and it very much satisfied my engineering slant to life.

Fast forward to present day and I still have not had the time nor the desire to pony up for a screen printing exposure unit.  Therefore I am currently using pre-made screen prints which I purchase from AAE Glass.  I have also only bought black silk screen paste hence why all my projects are using black.  A small container goes a long way but it is quite the investment.

Here are my first attempts using the simple screens.

Screen Printed Coasters

Screen Printed Coasters

Screen Printing with Touch-ups

Screen Printing with Touch-ups

Lessons learned:

1.  If you are doing something like coasters, and want to do several, use blocks to ensure you put the glass in the same place each time,

2.  I could only print 2 coasters before I needed to clean the screen.  It could be that my paste was too thick, but it spread nicely.  So I just think the screen gets messy and then hard to keep the other areas on the glass clean.

3.  On the lighthouse one, I ended up not quite getting things lined up as well I as had thought and I could see a gap between the black enamel and the darker blue border.  So I used a brush to add a little more.  You can tell it is not quite the same.  The silk screen has no blemishes whereas where I painted it is not quite as smooth.

So now for a comparison.  Over the years I have used plastic stencils I buy or even cardboard ones I make combined with glass powder to create different patterns.   I tape these stencils onto the back of a fine mesh screen and then use a similar technique to screen printing only using glass powder.  

Powder Printing

These work quite well and are definitely pleasant to look at.  The difference is crispness.  With the stencils and powder, it is difficult to ensure an even thickness of powder everywhere and so you have some areas darker and some lighter.  Given other inconsistencies in working with glass, it all adds to the beauty of handmade, but if you are after crisp colors, go for screen printing!  I think I just convinced myself to buy another color of paste!!!

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