From screen to screen print

By Tom,

September 2016

"A change is as good as a rest" they say. Damn straight" we say! This year we've been trying to do more stuff as a team outside the studio—aiming for one team activity a month. Sometimes it's simply some food and drinks, sometimes we do something more in-depth. This month we decided to do a full team day at The PrintHaus in Cardiff.

We're lucky to have such an awesome place on our doorstep. The Printhaus is an arts collective, home to resident artists and is one of the largest screen printing studios in south Wales.

Pictures of our day at Printhaus

After a hearty breakfast to get us going, we headed to Printhaus, where Nigel (our mentor for the day) showed us the equipment we'd be using. For some of the team this brought back some amazing memories from our time at art college—we were lucky to have access to a proper screen printing workshop back then.

The team preparing their screens for printing

The first job of the day was to prepare our screens ready for the designs we'd be working on, by applying an emulsion which we left to dry. Good to see the team received the check shirt memo!

A montage of images from the Printhaus

The next step was to create our artwork to be screen printed. Some of the team had already planned what they were printing, where as others preferred the more freestyle approach (translation: making it up on the spot). In preparation to applying our designs to the screens we worked with acetate and black ink to create the single colour artwork.

Adding our artwork to our screens

With our artwork done, we cracked on with transferring it to the screens using UV light to harden the emulsion coating we'd applied earlier.

Cleaning our screens ready to print

The black ink in our illustrations stops the light from hardening the design meaning it can be washed off with a jet wash revealing the final screen.

Mike with his first printed t-shirt

After a bit of masking off to stop ink spills we headed over to the press where we inked up and ran off some test prints. Here's Mike with his beautiful self portrait!

Some of the team with their finished prints

Everyone got to print onto a t-shirt as a memento of the day. In fact, Paul had to run off about five because everyone wanted a bit of 'zombie with a headshot' action.

Printing our designs on paper

The second part of the day was spent creating stencil prints. We split into three teams, chose three of the designs and set to work. We cut stencils from paper in rough shapes to print areas of background colour, which were overprinted with the final artwork.

Our finished prints
The team with their final t-shirts

Even though you might spend five days a week with your team, sometimes doing something totally different can really get everyone revved up. We had a great day at PrintHaus—it was great to look at a screen without pixels for once! Big thanks to Nigel who was a brilliant teacher, and put up with our nonsense without complaint! If you're looking for a day out with your team, we'd strongly recommend this place.

We're already thinking of the next day out for the team. If you've got any suggestions that are a bit different, hit us up on twitter!