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Exposing a Screen

Photopol Emulsion

Premium non-toxic water and solvent resistant direct emulsion. No sensitizer required! Exposes with a regular light bulb. Three years shelf life. Only requires you to coat two layer (vs. four for most others).

Using a direct emulsion increases the image possibilities compared to hand cut stencils. With the proper film, you will be able to reproduce any illustration, computer image, text and photograph.

Materials for Screen Preparation

  • Photopol Emulsion
  • screen coater
  • prestretched screen
  • dish detergent

Applying Emulsion (see diagram below)

1) Clean screens with liquid detergent to remove all sizing and/or oils
2) Work in safe-light or yellow light conditions and fill coater with emulsion so that the it is easily distributed across the width of the coater.
4) Stand the screen on edge and make contact on the screen side (outside).
5) Pull upward in one even motion, while maintaining contact, angle and even pressure.
5) "go back to point 4" and apply a second coat.
6) Dry screen horizontally in a safe-light and cool enviroment. You may use a fan to speed up the drying prodcess but do not use a blow dryer or other heat source.
7) Pour excess emulsion back into container and wash the coater immediately to avoid emulsion harding on coater.

"The Plant Light" Method

A very effective and economical way to expose a screen using a regular plant bulb. This avoids the costly investment of a vaccum exposing unit or building a complex light table. This method is ideal for screens that are less than 20"x24" OD.

Materials For Exposing Unit

  • 2" foam board or styrofoam cut to 1" less than the inside dimension of the screen
  • 3mm thick clear glass cut to 1" less than the inside dimension of the screen
  • 150 watt plant bulb
  • clamp light socket that handles 150 watt bulb
  • your film positive
  • clear tape


To Expose (see top and below diagrams)
1) Tape the fim positive to the screen side (outside).
2) Place the styrofoam block on squeegee side (inside).
3) Position the screen with the foam on a table, positive side up and place the sheet of glass on top of the screen. This secures the film and ensures proper contact with the screen.

4) Expose for 25 minutes at 12-15" distance from the screen.
5) Immediately after the screen is exposed, remove the positive and rinse the print side of the emulsion until the unexposed areas are completely clear.
7) Blot dry with unprinted newsprint and dry horizontally.
8) Once fully dry, place screen against a window or infront of a light source and check stencil for pinhole. Using a smal brush, patch up with unused emulsion.
9) Once dry, the screen is ready to use.