I've had a Yudu for a few years now, and while I love how it made me less afraid of screen printing, I hate working with the emulsion sheets. I know there are other emulsion options, but the drying time between each step was my least favorite part (confession: because I usually wait until right before the deadline before I do things).
But then, I came across a blog post somewhere that said you could use vinyl on a screen. I knew I could use cut black vinyl as a mask to burn the image in the emulsion, but that's all. The post wasn't 100% clear on where the vinyl went on the screen, but after I let my brain chew on it for a bit, it spit out the answer: on the underside.
I was just in the Sea Creature Swap, and my partner loves sharks, and listed the hammerhead as a possible theme in her questionnaire. I found an image of a tattoo design, but when I imported it into my vinyl cutting software, it needed a lot of cleaning up, so I spent a couple of hours working on that. Because of how I did the settings on the vinyl cutter (a Silhouette), it came out a little bit differently than the original tattoo design.
I used Contact Paper as the vinyl and cut it out. I then transferred the cut design (after weeding out all of the non-essential bits) to the back of the screen. Then, on both sides I went over it with the edge of a credit card to make sure it was stuck on there as well as it could be.
Back/Underside of the screen:
Front/Top of the screen:
I covered up any exposed areas around the edges with clear packing tape.
Then, I did a test print on a piece of muslin (shown here stitched up as a drawstring bag for the swap):
It came out pretty well, so I did another test print on a t-shirt (for me to keep), and it also came out well. There are a couple of spots where it bled a smidgen under the edges, but because of the design, it's not that noticeable:
Finally, I printed on 2 microfiber pillowcases. Right after I printed the second one, I turned to look at the first one and noticed that the ink had bled around the image, giving it a grey outline. Since it didn't happen at all on the muslin or t-shirt, I'm attributing it to the fabric. But, it ended up looking kind of cool, so I sent them along as an "extra" in the swap (and came up with a replacement item for the "official" item
When I was done, I peeled off the vinyl (and packing tape), washed off the screen with tap water, and I was done. No emulsion to fuss with, no expensive emulsion remover to buy!
I'm definitely going to use this method again! I did have a bit of trouble transferring the vinyl onto the screen because I didn't have enough transfer tape, so I had to peel of the backing of the vinyl and press it onto the screen as I went. I had a little stretching of the vinyl (it didn't help that I didn't have a lot of time to fuss with it), but it wasn't a problem in the end. But, if I do a more detailed design in the future, I need to use a different method to transfer it. I read somewhere that I might be able to use clear Contact Paper as the transfer tape (less expensive than buying transfer tape at the craft store), so I'll have to try that for the next time.