Post: Silk Screen Producer: Photo Emulsion

Silk Screen Producer: Photo Emulsion

At Northeast Silk Screen, we make high-quality silk screens for use on multiple surfaces and in several industries. As a silk screen producer, we have different methods for creating these screens to our high standards. In this article, we’re going to look at one particular method of making silk screens: photo emulsion.


Photo emulsion is one of the most common methods silk screen producers use. Here’s a closer look at the process.


Creating the Design

The first step is to create the design that will be screen printed at the end of the process. Graphic designers work closely with the client to make a design that fits the client’s vision and is also suitable for screen printing. Screen printers can reproduce fairly complex designs, but much of that is dependent on the quality of the screen.


Preparing the Screen

After the design is complete, the silk screen producer can transfer it onto the screen. The first step in that process is to prepare the screen. Before applying any photo-sensitive chemicals to the screen, the producer will thoroughly clean and dry the screen. Then, they combine a chemical compound called the sensitizer with the emulsion. When combined, the sensitizer and emulsion create a light-sensitive material. The sensitizer reacts with UV light and hardens the emulsion, making it water-resistant. But the producer doesn’t expose the photo emulsion to UV light just yet. They first apply it to the screen and leave it to dry in a dark room.


Transferring the Design

Once the screen is dry, it is ready for the design to be transferred onto it. The silk screen producer prints the design on a transparent film and then places the film onto the dried photo emulsion on the screen. The next step is to place the film and screen in a vacuum exposure unit, where it is exposed to UV light. The UV light hardens the emulsion, except in the areas that the design on the film covers, blocking it from the light. After the emulsion hardens, the last step is to wash the screen and remove the unhardened emulsion, leaving behind a stencil of the original design on the screen. The producer sends the screen to a silk screen printer, who uses the stencil to print the design on the appropriate materials.


Contact us at (603) 883-6933 to learn more about our silk screen production and in-house design services.