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Using Red Masking Film to Expose A Screen

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

When it comes to screen printing there are so many ways to create your image. You can cut paper stencils, use Drawing Fluid and Filler, create exposed screens with hand drawn or computer drawn designs. Red Masking Film is a brilliant way of creating exposed screens. It's transparent so can be used to trace over perfectly fitting designs and holds together in one piece, even when out design is cut out, meaning islands and delicate parts stay in exactly the right place. The red film blocks the UV light when exposing films.

This red film is now in stock in our shop! Here's how to use it: 

When we cut our film the red areas left behind will be the areas that will eventually print. In this case, we want a positive fish shape to print.

Cut a piece of film a little larger than your image and use masking tape to hold it in place. 

The film is made up of two layers: a transparent acetate and a thin red film that peels off. Cut around the edges of your design and use the point of the scalpel to lift off the thin red film. Your scalpel should not cut all the way through the transparent layer - you can use a sharp knife but don't press too firmly! Test on an off cut first to get the pressure right. 

Follow your design with a scalpel, peeling off the unwanted red areas as you go. 

You can cut into your design too, leaving islands of red unpeeled. 

When you're finished, remove the masking tape and trim off any edges that still have unwanted red film.

Coat your screen with sensitised photo emulsion in a thin, even layer using a coating trough. Leave to dry in the dark.

Place your red film between the screen and the light source and expose for your usual amount of time (we use 5 1/2 minutes in our exposure unit). 

When your the time is up your image should be visible on the mesh. Wet both sides before washing out the soft, unexposed emulsion with a forceful hose of jet wash. Now your screen is ready for printing!

When your screen is dry, tape your edges with parcel tape and mix your inks. We're using a mix of several colours for one print, marbled together at the top of the screen.

Print with your screen and a squeegee at a 45 degree angle. If printing on fabric, use a slightly padded surface.

To make a screen using red screen masking film you will need:

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