Glowforge for screen printing

Not Laser Made yet. But planning on it.

I started dabbling in screen printing this week. I’ll get to the emulsifiers and chemicals later; but I just wanted something simple and quick. A bandana for a super hero run - got the Captain America tech shirt and socks, but wanted a themed bandana that doesn’t exist.

Cutting with scissors and exacto knives. You get one print per cut.

So you place your paper cut on the fabric, mask off the screen, spread the ink, squeegee it off, and then dry.

Viola. Like I said, first attempt. Good enough for my purposes today.

I will be delighted with the Glowforge. Cutting quicker, more precise, and more intricate will vastly expand my abilities to use this process.

The negative printing with emulsifier might also be improved with a Glowforge, depending on the design. To do that, you need to print on a transparent sheet. I don’t know that transparencies work in a standard laser printer, but cutting card stock or construction paper and developing the emulsifier over that may well work as well.

I see a pretty cool alternate workflow using the Glowforge.


That looks great!
I investigated the laser direct to screen idea back when I first saw the Glowforge, and learned enough to know it is possible.
Check this out:


That’s incredible! I hadn’t considered etching the paper of cardstock to this effect. Ooooh… I’m delighted with that. Thanks for sharing.

I have had projects that needed screen printing a dozen times at least in the last 8 years. Stupid that I didn’t get around to learning it until now; but this forum somehow gives me more confidence in my capacity to do something new.


I don’t know if waxed paper is laserable, but it works well for quick and dirty screen printing. It sticks to the ink, so you can just pull the empty silk screen, stick the wax paper on, and then pull prints normally.

Or, quicker and dirtier, you can just use an iron to melt the wax and lightly adhere it directly to the fabric and use it as a stencil.

Stahls has no weed laser safe heat transfer vinyl. Can’t wait to give it av try.


Sounds like something I’d like to try too! Do you have a link? I tried searching, but I didn’t come up with anything. Just look for material spec that indicates CP SIA compliant.


And here is a link to all the safe products:


This is great! I bought a silk screen kit a few months ago but haven’t had a chance to experiment with it. I hadn’t thought about using the Glowforge to help make the screens.


If you have a plotter you can cut vinyl adhere to the item and decorate all you want. Then just peel it away. I have sacrificed plenty of vinyl to that. But the laser engravable aspect really opens up tons of details and no weeding. Just ablate what you don’t need.

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I do have a plotter and had thought about using it in a similar way. Thanks for the suggestion.

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With vinyl cut by a plotter youre really limited to what you can effectively weed out. I wouldnt even think of starting to weed a haftone image.

Lasering it just sounds brilliant! Thanks for this.

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So here is what my wife and I have done to screen print. We started with the small speedball kits and we have worked up from there. I built her a 4 color press cost $100 bucks of wood and hardware from Home Depot, I also built her an exposure box with florecent lights in it to bake the image into the emulsion cost around $80 and take 2-3 min to burn the image into the screen. I build her screens from 2x2 lumber and stretch the screen onto them each screen cost about $4 dollars to make including wood and screen. She uses a silhouette to cut vinyl and either place it directly to the emulsion once it is dry or we stick to to a large thin piece of thin glass and lay the screen on it on top of the light box to burn the image into the screen. Here are some pictures of what we have done:


Direct film emulsion works OK, but I prefer a Direct/Indirect film. It’s gives a consistent film thickness that washes out more reliably. Application is easy, just spray a clean screen with water and squeegee the film on. Let it dry, then peel the plastic backing off. I used a waterbased blockout for any pinholes, or areas I didn’t cover with the film.

It’s been a while since I have pulled out my printing stuff, but I think the 2mil Blue was what I used.

I’d love to find an old arc lamp for exposing the film. Maybe I’ll roll my own sometime.

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Oh sweet, that’s so exciting! Thanks very much for sharing the link, Josh.

I’m comfortable with photo emulsion but look forward to having options for a one-off print. I suppose in a lot of cases, using vinyl transfer makes the most sense. But for detailed gradients and photo based work, looks like this might be a solution.

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What cool design work!

The first laser cutter demonstration I got to see was screen printing! Hang on, I have pictures…

LOL… We also cut nori that day… :smiley:


I found the video on you tube that gave detailed video and plans on how to make the 4 color screen press. Here is the link And I had seen a picture somewhere of a light box similar to what is shown in mine. If I can find a picture of how I stretch the screens I will post that also. Just can’t find one at this time.