In the complex world of screen printing, achieving crisp and vibrant designs begins with mastering the fundamentals of emulsion mixing. While the process might seem daunting at first, we’re here to assure you that it doesn’t have to be complicated. In this blog post, we’ll share our top tips to simplify the emulsion mixing process, helping you create stencils with ease.
- Choose the Right Emulsion: Before diving into the mixing process, it’s crucial to select the right emulsion for your specific needs. Different emulsions cater to various applications, so take the time to understand the characteristics of each type. Consider factors such as water resistance, exposure times, and the type of ink you’ll be using. By choosing the appropriate emulsion, you set the foundation for successful screen printing
- Use Distilled Water: When mixing your emulsion, opt for distilled water instead of tap water. Distilled water lacks impurities that could potentially affect the emulsion’s stability. This small adjustment can contribute to a smoother mixing process and improve the overall quality of your prints.
- Achieve the correct consistency: When using our AMEX Dual Cure Emulsion for example, you can achieve a different consistency by adjusting the amount of water you add to your sensitiser. For a thicker emulsion use a third or half the water volume – for a thinner emulsion top up the diazo bottle to near the top once the diazo powder is thoroughly disolved. Most textile meshes up to about 77T work best on a thicker emulsion – 90T to 150T for graphic applications coat better with a thinner emulsion. Remember: Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended ratios, as deviations can impact the emulsion’s performance during exposure and printing.
- Maintain a Clean Environment: Create a clean and organized workspace to avoid contaminants in your emulsion. Dust, debris, or even tiny particles can compromise the emulsion’s integrity, leading to uneven coatings on your screens. Prioritize a dedicated area for emulsion mixing, keeping it free from unnecessary clutter.
- Mix in a Controlled Environment: Temperature and humidity can significantly impact the emulsion mixing process. Aim for a controlled environment with stable conditions to ensure consistency in your results. Extreme variations in temperature and humidity can lead to uneven emulsion coatings, affecting your prints.
- Stir Thoroughly: After combining the emulsion and water, stir the mixture thoroughly. Use a clean stirring utensil such as a spatula or ink knife to achieve a smooth, homogeneous blend. Pay extra attention to the bottom and edges of the mixing container to prevent any undissolved emulsion particles from affecting your prints.
- Degassing: Allow the emulsion to ‘degas’ before use. This involves letting the mixture sit for a short period, allowing air bubbles to rise to the surface and escape. Degassing helps ensure a bubble-free emulsion application, contributing to a flawless printing process. We recommend leaving your emulsion to sit for 30 minutes to an hour before use.
Conclusion: Emulsion mixing is a foundational step in screen printing that doesn’t have to be complicated. By following these top tips, you can streamline the process, enhance the quality of your emulsion, and ultimately produce clean and crisp screens ready for the printing process. With the right knowledge and attention to detail, you’ll be well on your way to achieving success in the screen print world. Happy printing!