This is our help and advice page. Here you will find 'How to' tips and tricks and technical information that we have gathered from many years experience screen printing on glass. Below are a list of frequently asked questions - you just need to click the question and the answer will appear underneath.
What Materials can I use with my screen?
Your screen can be used with a variety of mediums to print onto a variety of substrates/surfaces. Enamels onto glass, Chalk paint onto wood or furniture, inks onto fabrics etc. There is a selection of images in the gallery made with different mediums and substrates.
What grade of screen do I need?
In our stock screen selection, the images are offered in the type that they suit the image best. Otherwise, consider what medium you are using. For instance for glass powder printing you need a 'Powders' screen – but that can also be used for Glassline, Colorline, enamels etc. A 'Halftone' or 'Enamels' screen is not suitable for glass powder because the particles are too big to go through the holes in the screen.
Can I use my own squeegee with ScreenEasy screens?
No, we do not recommend using anything other than our ScreenEasy squeegees or you may damage your screen.
How do I store my screens?
This depends whether they are in a frame or not. If they're in a frame, store the frames vertically (like books on a shelf). Keep similar size frames together and place a piece of card or similar between each frame so you don't snag the screen when pulling it off the shelf. If you have a lot of frames, you might like to add a tape tab to one side and write the screen title on it so you can easily find what you're looking for.
If they're not in frames, you must keep them flat. A manila folder is ideal and you can keep similar subjects in one folder so they're easy to find. Make sure that when you put them away they don't curl up as you close the folder - this would put a crease in the screen which may affect the image quality when you use it next.
How do I clean my screens?
Immediately after using it and very carefully. The best method is with a tap sprayer. Don't scrub them with a stiff brush or a cleaning pad - after a while this will wear through the screen coating and the image quality will deteriorate. If you don't have a tap sprayer, lay the screen in the bottom of a large, clean sink. Run some cold water into the sink and gently wipe the screen with a cloth under the water. Take care not to crease the screen and then rinse in clean cold water.
After washing you should dry the screen. This is best done by carefully blotting the mesh with kitchen towel or a micro-fibre cloth and leaving on a tea towel to dry naturally. If you want to use the screen again, you can dry it more quickly using a hair dryer on the COOL setting. NEVER use hot air or a radiator to dry the screen - it will warp the frame (if present) and shrink the screen.
How long will my screen last?
This depends on the medium you are using and your technique. If you are using fabric paint, you should be able to get several hundred images from a screen before the image quality becomes unacceptable. If you're using enamel on glass, the screen life will be shorter.
The life of your screen also depends on taking care in cleaning. Please follow our 'How to clean and look after your ScreenEasy screen' info here. Brushes should not be used on the surface and care should be taken not to crease the screen. If you have washed it and need to dry it again quickly for re-use, blot off excess water with kitchen towel and then use a hair drier on the COOL setting. NEVER use hot air or a radiator to dry them. Looked after properly you will get 50 – 100 uses or more.
Due to the abrasive nature of glass powder, a powder screen may not last as long as the other types of screen. Glass particles are hard and sharp. Be gentle when you sweep your powder across the screen, don’t try to push the powder through as you would with enamel paint. You can also tap the frame gently as this will make the powder fall though the screen onto the glass. You are effectively using the screen as a sifter in this instance.
I have a crease / mark on my screen, can I still use it?
The line of the crease may show on the image unfortunately, but depending on how you want the image to appear, it may add character to the image in an unexpected way!
Can I print ANY image?
Please follow our instructions on 'How to prepare your image for printing'. Some images work better than others – but it all depends on the effect you are trying to achieve. We can only print what you send us. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have permission to use the image you choose.
My enamel image is very pale/patchy/smudged – what have I done wrong?
It is important not to add too much water based medium to the enamel mix, otherwise it will be lacking in colouring pigment that makes the image. The mix should be fairly stiff and spreadable. If you turn the jar upside down it SHOULDN'T run out of the pot. Once stirred thoroughly it will then be slightly more runny and easier to spread onto the top of the screen for pulling across. Use a squeegee the correct length for the size of your image. As long as your frame is securely taped in position you can pull across more than once if you have looked and there doesn't seem to be enough medium gone down. Try to pull in one sweeping movement holding the squeegee at a 45 degree angle and not so hard that cause the screen to slide on the glass. Always only pull in one direction. Best to test!
What medium will go through the screen?
If you want to use glass powder to print, you must use a 'Powders' screen as this is the only one which has holes large enough for the powdered glass particles to go through. You can also use enamels, Colourline and Glassline with this mesh but it may not achieve as crisp an image as with the 'enamels' grade screen. Chalk paint will pass through any of the screen mesh sizes as will enamel. With Glassline or Colorline paint, some of the ingredients may be too big to go through an 'Enamels' screen
Halftone (finest screen): Enamels, Colorline, some Glassline colours, Chalkpaint and any fabric inks (we used Speedball) and acrylic paint.
Enamels (medium screen): All of the above will work with enamels mesh.
Powder (coarse mesh): All of the above – but will not give such a crisp image as the other grades of mesh. This is the only size mesh to use for glass powders or Thompson non pre-ground enamels.
Do I need a frame?
You don't have to have a frame but we would recommend it!
A frame will not only keep the mesh rigid therefore make cleaning and storage easier but it will also help with lining up your image on your base material and help keep your print area cleaner and prevent excess medium getting on your base material. If you are printing onto something 3D like the outside of a bottle, then you can't use a frame.
Please watch our how to videos to see how the frames make the screen easier to use and clean.
What side of the squeegee should I use?
If your substrate material is soft (material) use the rigid blade. If your substrate is solid (wood/glass etc) use the rubber blade. If you look careful it is slightly curved so used the concave side of the blade towards you.
My image is not very clear or patchy, what am I doing wrong?
There could be several reasons for this
- You are not applying even pressure when you pull the medium over the mesh, the squeegee should be held / pulled at an angle of 45 degrees with even pressure for optimum coverage.
- You do not have a consistently even load of medium set up before your pull.
- You have run out of medium.
- Your mesh was not cleaned properly when you last used it and therefore some of the pores are blocked.
How do I know if enough enamel has gone through the screen?
You will achieve a clean, crisp image with even colour density across the image.
How do I know if enough powder has gone through the screen?
Powder printing is something you have to experiment with. Choosing darker/brighter colours will work best as you will need less powder to make a stronger colour. Glass particles are hard and sharp. Be gentle when you sweep your powder across the screen, don’t try to push the powder through as you would with enamel paint. You can also tap the frame gently as this will make the powder fall though the screen onto the glass. You are effectively using the screen as a sifter in this instance.
The particle size of the glass varies from colour to colour – it may be worth using a fine sifter to sift out the larger particles so you are working with the finest grade possible.
If your are doing the powder stacking method, make sure you raise your screen each time with added cardboard 'snaps' so you don't flatten your powder. You can also use dry powder enamels but the finer ones tend to create a slightly fuzzy image as the powder spreads out more than large glass particles – they are better used mixed correctly with water based medium.
What glass powders can I use?
We have tested both Bullseye and Spectrum System 96 powders. Both work equally well. Please remember that the glass powder should have the same COE and be compatible with the base glass you are printing on.
My custom image did not come out as I wanted, what can I do?
Please contact us, we do not want you to be unhappy with your ScreenEasy™ product. Either give us a call or fill out the 'Contact Us' details and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Can you provide registration marks on my screen?
We have decided not to automatically put registration marks on our Standard images as most people will not need them and those that do can mark out a template using tape or pencil marks. If you want registration marks then you will need to submit them with your image for a Custom screen.
What do I do if I am not happy with your product?
Please contact us.
What firing schedule should I use for glass?
Our enamels are formulated to fire onto the glass at a range between 600°C and 804°C. You can screen print onto a fully fused piece and then your enamel will fire onto the glass during a slump firing. Or you can screen print then full fuse. Please remember that during a full fuse the surface of the glass will move slightly – possibly losing the crispness of the image.
If you wish to sandwich screen printed images between layers of glass then fire the glass into a layered block it is best to pre-fire each layer first to 640°C in order to mitigate bubble formation in your finished block.
My ScreenLine™ enamel seems very thick, should I water it down?
No, we have pre-mixed our enamels to a specific ratio to give you a great, strong colour. Our enamel is Thixotropic, which means it needs thorough stirring before use. The more you stir, the more gloopy the enamel will become. It needs to be a thick treacly consistency. If it's too runny your image will be watery.
Can I order my own jewellery images?
Yes you can, you will just need to treat it as a 'custom screen' and order with or without a frame.
How many images can I fit on a custom frame?
As many as you like but please remember that you will need a clear area of about 20-25mm around each image to deposit and pull your medium.
Can I re-use my frame?
Yes you can. If you no longer have a use for the images carefully remove the tape from around the frame and dispose of the old mesh. Order the images you want, selecting the correct size of image for your frame.