Saturday, July 9, 2011


I figured I go ahead and do a detailed explanation (uh, tutorial... if you will) about how I make screen prints  in my spacious brooklyn kitchen, in hopes to inspire y'all to give screenprinting a good ol' college try. It's pretty fun, relatively cheap, and a great way to make a bunch of crap fine art. Hey, making prints gives you the chance to sell work, give to your friends, and spray adhere shit to your neighbor's car without that nagging guilt of loss!



IMAGE: That's like, your picture or whatever

FREEZER WRAP: I got this roll of restaurant sized wrap at good ol' Job Lot for four bucks or something redic like that. The restaurant size is key for this application, kid.

SCREEN: I have a dinky screen made by Speedball, America's favorite intravenous cocaine and heroin cocktail and screenprinting supply company. Victory Factory out of BK makes better screens for long term use, but the size and scale of this one works great for the ol' home-screener. Its slim frame stores away well, and it fits into a sink, tub, sink/tub combo, or toilet tank for easy cleaning. 

My screen has a 16" x 20" printing area, which just happens to be the perfect size for my compositions (11"x15")! Also, 11"x15" just happens to be two sheets of letter paper w/ overlap, so printing out a computer generated composition is a snap! And serendipitously, 11"x15" is also a quarter sheet of standard sized printmaking paper (22"x30").  Jeez! With all those random coincidences, it's almost like I planned out my compositions to be that specific size to save time and money... Good thing I didn't do that, cause a real artist would never let economics be a factor in his her his compositions!

SCREEN DRAWING FLUID: Should be called screen painting fluid. If spilled, should be called a horrible mess. This Speedball product is made of a solution of hair-ron, co-cane, and blue food coloring. Actually it's probably just corn syrup and smurf blood. I have not yet tasted this product. It acts as a resist to the apt, yet ambiguously named Speedball Screen Filler. That way you get duh pretty pict-cha when you put duh ink froo it. (If you don't follow this clear line of science and logic, I will explain it in the applicable post, duh)

SYNTHETIC BRISTLE BRUSH: Quardah inch Angle Shader, baby. Great for fine lines, filling of shapes, and expressive mark-making (<----- See, I went to art school). The Swiss Army Knife of brushes. Need I say more? 

3/4" MASKING TAPE: CAUSE YOU SO STUPID!!1! For adhesion purposes. Beige, with a grip that's firm, but also gentle. Like an oversized idiot caressing a kitten....


OK, first thing you gotta do is clean your screen of the stencil left over from your last print cause you're a lazy bastard who couldn't get that shit squared away a month ago. To the right you can see a bottle of "Speed Clean". This must refer to the narcotic jambalaya, because there is nothing speedy about this handy solution. I apply the stuff and forget about it while I google search my name for two hours and it still doesn't dissolve the stencil by the time I get to page 98. I used to use liquid dishwashing detergent (CHOICE, KID) but I think that it might have been causing buildup on the drain pipe. Cereally. I was showering in a puddle.


After your screen has been rinsed and dried, attach a large swath of freeze-tite or freeze-tite alternative to the backside of the screen using masking tape STOOOPIIIID in a sexpartite adhesion solution. The freeze-tite or freeze-tite alternative should run the entire length of the screen. Next, adhere your image, centered in the printing area, using a similar sexpartite method.


Some notes on Screen Drawling Fluid. If you buy this garbage wonderful Speedbawl product, buy the smallest size that they have. If you are fortunate. and in the six months since its purchase don't spill this on your sofa, where it creates an irremovable pud of dubious consistency (is it crispy? is it sticky? is it a god damned plasma? Hmm, I approximate that the dew point is appx. 68˚ today...) resembling the science project of a well meaning, but misinformed candy maker, then you will soon open your monochromatic container to a fuzzy, technicolor mold. Or perhaps it will have congealed into a cottage cheese of teal persuasion. Yum.


Alright. Class is over for today. Fix yerself up a glass of nice cold gansett or coffee or screen drawing fluid or flower juice or whatever sizzles your bacon. Next time we'll cover the hardest part of Ol' Scumbag Screenprinting, which is painting your screen, in a segment entitled: "THE HARDEST PART: PAINTING YOUR SCREEN".


  1. Do you have any advice for making your own drawing fluid? My speedball is covered in a film of mold (mold was the only keyword leading me to your tutorial) and I basically lack the funds to replace it. Also, how many proclamations of love do you get on your blog? You're hilarious..

  2. Aw gee whiz, thanks!

    I'm convinced that there's a secret culture of spores that Speedballz puts underneath that little paper disk in the cap of their drawling fluid, cause that shit goes fuzzy as a teddy bear without fail. And otherwise one bottle would last approximately a lifetime, and I guess that's a bad business model for speedball (Speedball! Our products will be useless... Fast!!!! Real slogan. never made it to market...)

    I think that the best thing to do when you get a bottle is to transfer it to a clear glass container of some sort (jelly jar? mason jar? ye olde tincture bottle perhaps?) which would help reduce the chance of molding if you kept it out in the sunlight and shit. Also if it does still mold, you can repurpose that mess as a "science project" or "terrarium"....

    As far as homemade drawing fluid? Anything that is semi-fluid, that dries water soluble and doesn't bleed when rewet should work. I've heard (but never tried it so I have no clue of how effective it is) that you can use elmers glue as a boot leg drawing fluid.

    You prolly should water it down a tad and dye it blue or green to contrast with the red screenfiller and so you can see wtf you doin. Elmers is water soluble but I think it'll be a bit more difficult than droolling floooo-id to wash out. Might need so submerge and soak for a bit.

    But that's just the tip of the iceberrrg.... I'm sure if you wanted you could use like, ketchup and mustard and all sorts of ballerass condiments as long as it didn't dry too flakey. Just think of the dirty dishes that have sat out for way too long and how resilient to water that grime is.... indeed, good screenprinting materials.

    I actually have a theory that spuheedboule drawing fluid is just corn syrup with blue food coloring in it. I have been tempted to taste it, but never have (WILL POWER!!!). How it shimmers like essence of blue raspberry...... yum.

    Well, hope that helps with your predicament a bit! I say do some experiments on a beater screen and see what works best for you.

    And as far as proclamations of love, I don't get so many... but I think that's cause my audience is more of the "love from afar" type. That's my theory anyways, cause I figured they'd be rollin in by now. Amirite?

  3. Dooood- same damned predicament- I usually just scrape that shit off and dig deeper. Now, I'm going back to my dungeon to write those assholes and yell at them to put a galldang expiration date on the bottles, with a full refund guarantee and whatnot, and threaten to just use "baller-ass" BBQ sauce from now on.