Here’s my first try:
Took image from http://www.starwars.com/databank/bb-9e, masked the background and then compressed the dynamic range using pixelmator’s Curves filter (because I’m afraid true black would just shred the Mylar).
Material: Tap plastics thin Mylar held down with Magnets.
Manual engrave settings: set focus to 0.010, speed 1000, pow 24, “convert to dots” setting max density 75 LPI 75, 1 pass. 8 minutes total.
Doing the screen print: scotch tape the mylar onto a Haynes white kids t-shirt (purchased cheap in a multi-pack at Target) with a slice of clean cardboard inserted inside. Clamp with magnets front and back to reduce wiggling. Note that no frame was involved.
Then apply a nice bead of Speedball Screen Printing Dye to the top of the mylar, and using a plastic scraper as wide as the image, press firmly and slide down.
Looks great so far. Carefully remove the Mylar and chuck it in the sink for washing, and then blow dry the result for a few seconds before ironing it for 3 minutes on hot.
Pros: A fun first screen-print, with even tone, good focus and plenty of detail. This was quick, clean and easy to do, and didn’t require specialised equipment.
Cons: unsatisfactory contrast. It’s clear that not all the dots let ink through : perhaps they are not large enough, or did not completely cut. Subject is only vaguely recognisable and identifying marks are poorly distinguished
- try darker images with different dither settings to increase blackness.
- consider emphasising iconic detail in the image (more contrast on the eye)
- Ramp up the power a bit to make sure all the holes go through.
- Practise pressing harder, perhaps use a rubber squeegee instead of a plastic one.
- Next time go a little slower: test some settings, and try out the screens on paper or scrap cloth before hitting real shirts
- look at ink thinners that are available